When I was young, scruffy, and unserious (i.e. age 1 to 24), I never really thought much about the institution of marriage. Actually living 24x7 with a real girl with make-up, painted toe-nails, and Danielle Steele novels (i.e. marriage) seemed like an ancient, abstract art taught in church and nurtured in Leave it to Beaver episodes, but utterly unconnected to my current or future reality.
I never dated much and rarely had the courage to ask opposite gender entities to "go out" with me. To me, girls really did bite. I'll never forget being forced to do a play in Hawaii when I was 9, and one of my dirty assignments was to actually hold a girl's hand. I bitterly complained, cried, and swore in Hawaiian - the prospect of exchanging hand fluids with an "opposite" was too much to bear. So the wise and poorly paid director made a compromise: we would hold opposing ends of a Smarties candy, never touching flesh, but still looking as if we were making phalangeal contact.
I'm smiling in this picture (9 yrs old) because I didn't have to touch that girl:
Then along came Lara ... and everything changed. We were drawn to each other like fruit flies on a wild peach. She was gorgeous. Her smile was radiant. She had a funny and sarcastic personality. She was spiritual.
She was silly:
She was mysterious:
She was sassy:
And she promised to be a great homemaker.
So we decided to get together, the gorgeous babe and the scruffy Afro man:
And I couldn't believe what I had been missing! When I was around her, I didn't want to do anything else. Because nothing else seemed to matter. I didn't want to eat or drink. I didn't want to breathe, even. I just wanted to be with her, to enjoy her smile, to see her twitterpated gazes, and to talk and laugh together. I would do anything for her. Because I loved her ... a lot.
So naturally the loathsome proposition of "mawage" uncomfortably crept in and I cringed, just like I always had. But this time the discomfort didn't last 24 years. Because now I felt something I had never before experienced. The whole marriage thing still seemed abstract, but I knew that when I was around Lara, I had a wonderful feeling and an immense joy that stayed with me day and night. I knew that she felt the exact same way. And keeping this unique, wonderful happiness intact and vibrant was worth every effort, every price, every sacrifice.
If this was what marriage meant, then I wanted it, more than anything on earth. So I did it - I married Lara and it was the best decision of my life, the one "that made all the difference."
Now, after 11 years, I love this gorgeous woman more than ever, and those feelings of joy and twitterpation have only been magnified and intensified. She's funnier, she's more beautiful, she's more talented, she's more giving, she's more spiritual, she's more sarcastic, she's the mother of three beautiful children, and we're in love more than ever. And thankfully she doesn't read Danielle Steele...
So this birthday post to my gorgeous wife is a big thank you, Lara, for helping me realize that marrying you was the best decision I could have ever made.
I love you (oh, and Happy Birthday)!