Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ode on a Mexican Husband

Today, Chris and I have been married for six years.

I met Chris through our friend, Valeri, over eleven years ago. He was older than me and unlike any guy I had ever met. He wore black eyeliner and a fishing hat with patches and pins advertising his love for bands like The Cure and Pink Floyd. His cut-off thrift store slacks grazed the top of his beat-up combat boots. There was something very striking about his physical appearance, too. Chris’s face was, and still is, perfectly outlined by his jet-black goatee and naturally arched eyebrows. He has beautiful, chocolate-brown eyes and longer lashes than any man should be allowed to have.

I was instantly attracted to him, and by the end of the night, my crush was out of control. We spent the evening with our mutual friends, but, at least for me, they faded into the background as I tried to impress him with my proficiency for the Kevin Bacon game and watched him drink coffee, holding his mug with fingers adorned with chipped, black nail polish. One of the things that struck me about him was his unabashed confidence and propensity to speak his mind, no matter how unpopular the contents of that mind may make him. To this day, it is one of the most inspiring and wonderful things about him (even when his irreverent humor sometimes embarrasses the hell out of me).

Chris and I became friends at first, the difference in our ages being an obstacle to becoming anything more. I tried to convince him, first by merciless flirting, later with outright begging (I know. Sexy, right?) that we should be together. And even though he rejected me, began to see someone else, we remained friends. We had an unmistakable bond that began the night we met, sitting across from one another in that crappy coffee shop, and it continued to grow over the months. We had late-night conversations in the car, hastily pulled over just blocks away from our friends’ houses, knowing that we would not be able to talk so freely and intimately once we were in their company.

The months leading up to the day he finally kissed me sitting on the green couch in my mother’s house were heart-wrenching for me. They were filled with longing, mixed signals, compliments, presents, and rejection. The fact is that we were falling in love, but being six years my senior, Chris tried to do the right thing by pushing me away. And when he finally gave in, there were many obstacles. There was the day he angrily stormed out of his mother’s house when she tried to convince him to break up with me. As he drove away, she yelled after him, “She can’t even get into a rated R movie!”. That was a bad day. There was the day my mom had to defend her decision to let me date a boy who could buy alcohol to my relatives. She was exhausted after a day of explaining what a good kid he was, how mature I was for my age, before ultimately throwing up her hands and letting them think what they wanted. That was a rough day, too. Mostly for her, I imagine. And then there were the many periods of doubt on my end. I had the damned bad luck to fall in love with my perfect match far too early, and I had to wrestle with the urges to experiment, to date other people, while the person I wanted (No, NEEDED) to be with gave me his blessing, letting go of my hand patiently and lovingly, telling me to do what I needed to do. If you love something, set it free.

In the end, I never left. I couldn’t. And now? Now the woman who once wanted to save her son from me and my wily, under aged ways, she loves me, I think. And I love her. And we drink wine together. I watch her play with her granddaughter, my daughter, and I can’t believe how far we’ve come. Now, Chris, once a sexual deviant preying on an innocent young girl, is the golden boy in my family. They love him for the way he takes care of me, his daughter, all of us. They love him because he’s polite, but sarcastic ( a must in my family), and because he makes them laugh and takes the garbage out.

For the past six years, I have not doubted, not once, that I was with the right person. I get to wake up every day, supremely confident that I made the right choice and grateful that he did, too. In the past six years we have partied together, laughed together, fought with one another, lost grandparents together, a baby. We have watched hours upon hours of television, laughing at the jokes before they happen because we’ve seen this episode so many times. We’ve moved away, gone to college, went to fancy restaurants, museums, gone hiking, and spent the day in our pajamas.

We had a baby together.

Nothing has made me more sure that my marriage is anything less than fate ( a concept I don’t even believe in) than the experience of bringing Charlotte into this world with my husband. It has been the most stressful time of our lives. The lack of sleep, the compromised sex life, the hormones (Oh, the hormones!), the body image issues, the doubt, the frustration, it has all taken its toll. But, getting through all that, supporting each other, stepping up to the plate when the other has just been clobbered by the bat, these things test us, but ultimately make us stronger. And the moments of darkness are no match for the sheer elation at watching our perfect little girl tearing around the house, giggling as she knocks over cups of water, pulls books off the shelf, and eats Cheerios she finds on the floor. Of all the things we have done together, my favorite is racing each other down the hall to be the first to rescue Charlotte from her crib when she wakes up.

Last night my mom and her fiancĂ© watched Charlotte so we could go out to dinner. We drank martinis and talked for hours. It was the first time in a while that we were able to be away from the baby, away from the T.V., buzzing on gin and enjoying each other’s company. It was wonderful. And even though we spent half the time talking about the baby, even though we missed her when we got home and she was asleep, we needed that. We stayed up long after we got home, long after the baby went to bed, talking some more and drinking champagne. And this morning, we played peekaboo with our daughter. The perfect mixture of the old us and the new us.

Happy anniversary, Chris. I love you.


  1. Dan and I fight over who gets to get Kellen as well. I always win ;-)

  2. Good for you! It's your right as a mother. Chris is sneaky, though. He'll throw some elbows. So sometimes he beats me. :)