WHAT I'M LISTENING TO: Sigur Ros, a mixture of Takk and ( ), with a heavy emphasis on Heysatan.
WHAT I'M READING: "Fiasco: A History of Hollywood's Iconic Flops" by James Robert Parish
WHAT I'M WATCHING: Heading into the second half of the UEFA Cup first leg betwixt Espanyol and Livorno. On the DVD, it was the excellent documentary "Heroes: Legends of World Class" (as a child, my brother and I were big pro wrestling fans; the story of the Texas based World Class area's rise to glory, and the horrible downfall of the Von Erich family is a tragedy of Greek proportions-if you were a wrestling fan, it's a great one; even if you hate wrestling, this is a very moving look at a tragic series of events).
Yesterday was the eighth Valentine's Day my wife and I have spent together. The first two as a dating couple, and the last six as Mister and Missus. I don't go as all out as I use to, but at the same time, my feelings for her have only gotten stronger each and every year.
I was not the guy who gets married. My teen years were spent assuming that I lacked the qualities a woman would find attractive. So I lived with a feeling that the best I could get was unrequited love. Of course I liked many different girls in school. But I could never convince myself that asking them out would do any good. Low self-esteem and such. I look back and regret it. There were woman that probably would have said yes. I don't mean that in general, I mean that people would say "You really should ask such and such out. She likes you, Ace" or "Why don't you ask out this girl, she'll do anything for a hot meal, Slick". Yeah, in my memory my friends called me Ace and Slick. In reality, nope. But in my memory. And why shouldn't I remember things like I want them to be?
After high school, I began to realize that maybe, just maybe, I did have some okay qualities that some desperate gal would like enough to eat one hot, free meal with. I realized how stupid it was to avoid dating during my school years. What was the worst that could happen if I asked a girl out?
I found out.
First girl I ever asked out for a real date laughed. Now, I don't think she laughed at the notion of going out with me. I think it was more of a nervous reflexive action. Like I caught her off guard and it was very awkward. But still. When you go through all those years of public schooling believing that you just aren't dating material, then finally work up the nerve to ask somebody out, and the response is laughter, it wounds the fragile ego.
Eventually, I did get a good response to the question "Wanna go eat or something?" As time went on, I gained confidence. Each date was a learning experience. They all didn't go great, but I look back on almost all of them fondly. It was those dates, and what I got out of them, that helped me find my Kimbers.
Some girls stand out more than others. Not always for the right reasons. There was the gal that took my virginity (at the ripe old age of 22!). At the time, I thought I loved her. What I loved was the freedom we had together. She was four years older. We had a writing class together. Talking with her came easier than just about anybody else I'd met. We hit it off wonderfully, and that first month was a blast. She lived in an apartment, so we didn't have to worry about any outside interference. It was just two people getting to know each other. But in late October 1996 my father had a near fatal heart attack. It was bad. It was a miracle that he lived. In fact, the doctor told us to prepare for his death, because he'd never seen anybody in that shape survive. It really rocked my world. I felt like I was falling, and needed something to break the fall, something to hold on to. That became her. It was way too much for a month old relationship to handle. What I needed, she just wasn't ready to give. The second month was all down hill. By New Years Day, it was over.
Looking back, I understand that everything going on in my life at home led to me taking it harder than I would have, or should have. I had to pick myself back up. But I came back stronger than ever. For whatever reason (possibly the sex), I had much more confidence with women. I started asking more girls out. I wasn't nervous about it at all. Dating is a very fun thing, and I got great enjoyment from it.
It was Christmas Eve when I first encountered the woman I would marry. I was single again after a recent breakup. I spent the night with family and friends, all who were married. I was 25 and alone. Going back to my apartment, alone, I logged onto AOL. On the homepage was a mini-ad about "finding love for the holidays". On a whim, since I wasn't tired, I checked it out. The second profile I came across was this beautiful woman. I read her info, and everything jibed with my own likes/dislikes. I decided to send off an e-mail. Three days later, she responded. We hit it off, via e-mails, immediately. We had almost the exact same interests.
On January 5, 2000, we had our first official date, where we first officially met. I entered the chinese restaurant and spotted this beautiful red head sitting there. I approached her and said "Kim?". The woman said no. But it was her. After the best first date of my life, we went out again the next night to a comedy show in St. Joe, Michigan. Two nights later, she came over to my apartment and I made dinner. The next night we went to the movies. Since that first date in January 2000, there have only been two days where we didn't see each other. By Valentine's Day, I moved into her apartment. On our sixth month anniversary, I proposed.
On August 11, 2001 we got married. On September 29, 2002 we moved into our first house. In November 2003 we found out we were preggers, and on July 30, 2004 our first child was born, the famous Number One Son.
All along the way, we've grown together. I cherish every single moment of every day that we spend together. I look at her and see a bright future, and a past that was worth all the heartbreak and anxiety. Each step on the dating path led me to her, so I will always be grateful to those girls. I would not have been the man my wife fell in love with without those experiences.
So I could spend the next hour typing out words to show what she means to me, and how I feel about her. But it can be summed up in four little words. I love you, Kimbers.
Always will. I look forward to growing old and gray with you, and looking back on a lifetime of happy memories.
To steal from Sinead O'Connor:
You are only
My love, my love
Happy Valentine's Day to all the lovers out there.
Be seeing you.