Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Dear Jeanie ...

Nineteen years. I simply cannot believe that it's been nineteen years since we were married.

I've never been so nervous in my life as I was that day at the church. You were my second chance to share my life and my love with someone, and I was scared to death. I shouldn't have been.

Then (and yes, that's a Mickey Mouse vest) ...
I used to think that I moved to North Carolina to get into NASCAR. Now, I understand that God moved me to North Carolina to someday find you, fall in love and then be a dad to Jesse and Adam. NASCAR's long gone now. You and the boys ... you're still here. I thank God for that every day.

I remember the exact moment I fell in love with you.

You showed up that afternoon on the doorstep of my apartment in Mooresville, ready to take care of me. It was then and there that I knew that you had my heart.

A bad case of food poisoning sent me home from work early that day, and when you found out, you headed to the grocery store for chicken soup, crackers, Sprite and all the other things people get for a person praying to the porcelain gods. I hadn't had that in a long, long time, and I loved you for it. I still do.

I can't imagine my life without you. I don't even want to think about it. Life before you seems like a bad dream -- it was a bad dream in a lot of ways.

We disagree on a lot of things, and they're important things, too. The spoons and forks go handle up in the dish washer, dang it. The couch in our den is brown, brown, brown and browner than brown. It could be none more brown.

... and now.
Not green, or any shade thereof. Thank goodness we agree on the all-important issue of toilet paper going over the top instead of down under, or who knows where our marriage might have wound up.

We've fought, but Lord knows I gave up actually trying to win a fight with you long ago. I'm a writer. I have to have time to compose my thoughts and you ... argue ... for ... a ... living. It's not fair.

There have been plenty of bad times. A miscarriage ... an adoption that fell through after the last minute ... the loss of my job with NASCAR ... your thyroid cancer ... the entire year of 2008 ...  but I can honestly say that out of every single one of those crushing disappointments has come a blessing beyond measure.

We've both talked about how the miscarriage and adoption led directly to Adam and Jesse. NASCAR shoving me out the back door meant time with you and the boys that I never would have taken for myself. 2008 ... well ... 2008 was just a bad, bad year all the way around. But we got through it, and we got through it together.

There's nobody I would rather have shared the last two decades of my life with. As completely opposite as our personalities might be, we're a pretty good match. We sometimes take different approaches to the same issue, but we almost always arrive at the same place at just about the same time.

Where do we go from here? I don't know, but I can only hope that the next nineteen years will be as good as the first nineteen years. God willing, I'll be here.


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