I’ve been married for nearly six years and they have been the best years of my life. Really.
I’d be spending time with my dearly beloved right now celebrating this holiday of love if he weren’t on call and stuck at the hospital. Instead, I did a Billy Banks’ Tae Bo DVD from Netflix and am pretty much convinced I looked like a complete dork kung fu fighting in our living room. Then I finished writing out Madeline’s valentines for a party we’re having tomorrow with our homeschool co-op. I tidied up the kitchen and came upstairs, sighed and wished Dave were here.
I write a lot about my kids, but I don’t say as much about my hubby Dave in the blogosphere. My lack of Dave anecdotes is mainly due to the fact that he’s really not in to being in the spotlight. And he doesn’t boycott pooping on the potty or say really funny things like, “Mommy, I ‘flied’ once. You weren’t there, but I did and I’m going to fly again.” (Madeline has been obsessed with flying ever since we saw both the Disney version of Peter Pan and a ballet performance where Tinkerbell floated above our seats.) If I, for example, entered Dave into one of those cheesy hot dad contests, it might be grounds for divorce. Not really, of course, but he really, really doesn’t like to draw attention to himself (or have his exceedingly proud wife do so). He’s private. He’s humble. He’s grounded. He’s secure. He’s comfortable in his own skin. But he also looks really hot in his scrubs holding our little girls, but alas, I suppose I’m the only one who’ll be able to exalt him with the hot dad title.
Well, in honor of Valentine’s Day and the fact that my hubby isn’t around to celebrate it (or stop me from blogging about him), I’ve decided to answer some of the burning questions people have asked about our relationship. Don’t worry – nothing too personal. Remember what I just said about Dave. Besides, my parents and in-laws regularly read my blogs as well. Consider this just a little “Dave & Katie 101.”
How did you and Dave meet?
On our high school mock trial team, but this wasn’t just any team. We ended up winning the national title. Dave was an all-star attorney. I was a sobbing witness, begging the jury to spare the life of my nephew who was facing the death penalty. Court TV actually interviewed me after we won the title and I still get embarrassed when I think of my blond, bubbly self telling my interviewee that crying during the trial was good practice because I quote, “I want to go to Hollywood and be an actress someday.” Geez. Sadly, none of our winning team members ever became attorneys and I obviously didn’t make it in Tinseltown (although I briefly gave acting a shot). In fact, I was the only one who ever even went to law school. Our wonderful mock trial sponsor was an amazing teacher (she’s retired now). She actually came to our wedding, and Dave and I recently met her for dinner and she met our girls for the first time.
Where did you go on your first date?
Okay, so we met in high school, but we weren’t teenage sweethearts or anything. We went on a few dates and then amicably parted ways until we were reunited after we’d both graduated from college. Dave will tell you I dumped him for a football player. I’m not sure what happened, but I do remember going on one date with beefy jock shortly after Dave. I was only 16, so cut me some slack. I also remember Dave and my first date as teenagers quite well. Always the hopeless romantic, Dave took me to see Die Hard with a Vengeance and then to the roller rink for some serious skating. (I am a klutz on wheels, but I still tease him about the finesse he demonstrated under the pulsating lights while Stroke It piped through the speakers). On the way home, the Oldsmobile Dave had borrowed from his dad abruptly lost electrical power, including power steering. We fortunately were only yards away from my home and Dave used all his pubescent might to turn the boat into my 300-plus foot driveway and we were able to coast down to the turnaround. A tow truck came to pick up the car the next day. Poor Dave. I imagine he was pretty mortified. Amazingly, when my mom was putting together a wedding scrapbook for us, Dave’s mom gave her the ticket stub for Die Hard. I tease him and say he never quite got over me (I’m actually the only person he ever dated). He, in turn, teases me saying that he also kept the white polo shirt he wore on the date to remember me by and because he could never wear it again since it had a big brown smear of my foundation on it (I wore way too much makeup in my early high school days).
Fast forward five years and we were reunited by way of a mutual friend (also a mock trial team alum). I was living at home, working at a posh Atlanta firm gearing up for law school; Dave was crashing at his parents’ house as well while working as a car salesman to save some money before embarking on his medical training. We hung out as friends for a bit and then quickly fell in love. (We dated for about a year before we got engaged and were married less than a year after he popped the question.) Our first “real” date the second go-around was to Dante’s Down the Hatch, a great fondue restaurant and jazz club located in the heart of Buckhead. We’re actually going there for the third time in our life together on Saturday for a big date night. Yippee!
When did you first kiss?
It took us awhile. Like six weeks or so. (We never kissed in high school.) We stood beneath a starry sky in the pale moonlight..in his parents’ driveway. He leaned down. I tilted my face upward and…I kissed his chin. I think he may have kissed my nose. That’s what happens when you’re nervous and the object of your affection is almost a foot taller than you.
How did he propose to you?
He “kidnapped” me from work. He’d called my boss ahead of time and asked if I could have the afternoon off. I’d recently dropped out of law school and was working at the Red Cross. (September 11th had happened only two months before and I’d stopped by the local chapter to volunteer. They ended up hiring me because they’d been inundated with donations.) We drove to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. We enjoyed the most amazing meal. I had a stuffed portobello mushroom that was to die for. Even my meat-loving husband thought it was delicious. It was a long, drawn-out culinary experience that ended with the waiter placing a single long-stemmed red rose before me. Then Dave and I walked around the Grove Park grounds. Christmas decorations were already in place and out of the blue, Dave commented on some skating bears, and I knew something was up. This is not something that he’d normally notice, let alone acknowledge. Next thing I knew he was on one knee asking me to marry him. I started crying and said yes. (He’d asked my dad for my hand prior to proposing.)
When did you get married?
On May 25, 2002 at St. Oliver’s Catholic Church in Snellville, Georgia. It was the most beautiful wedding – a full Mass that included me placing flowers before Mary while a talented friend of my mom’s sang Ave Maria. it was followed by a big party that included dancers of all ages – from Dave’s spry grandmother to my youngest cousins – tearing up the dance floor. I didn’t hire a videographer on purpose because I wanted to remember the day as being perfect. I didn’t want to look back and say, “Oh, why did I say that?” Or, “Geez, my hair was falling in my face.” So I replay the day in my mind and it seems perfect, like a wonderful dream you don’t want to wake up from.
Where did you honeymoon?
Courtesy of my overly generous parents, we spent a week at an opulent resort in Cozumel, Mexico.
What do you love the most about Dave?
I don’t think I can narrow it down – he’s everything and more that I imagined a husband should be – but here’s what immediately comes to mind:
1. His unselfishness. He’s someone who consistently puts others’ needs before his own. He can be post-call and exhausted, but he’ll come home and spend time with the girls and me without uttering one single complaint about how tired he is or how rough it was to be working all night.
2. His sense of humor. We spend a lot of time laughing together. We also spend a lot of time watching 24, our new addiction. We don’t have cable TV, but we do have Netflix.
3. The kind of dad he is. I’ll watch him wrestling with Madeline or holding Rachel Marie and I can see that being a dad doesn’t feel in any way like an obligation or a burden to him. He loves our girls and he loves spending time with them. Just the other day we were watching Rachel Marie, who suddenly seems so old to us, jump and squeal in an exersaucer, and Dave looked at me and said, “Can you imagine if this was it? So many people just stop after two. Can you imagine if this was our last baby?” No, I can’t and what’s even more wonderful is my husband can’t either.
4. His work ethic. When he sold cars, he claimed the title of car salesman of the month several times in a row. Now as a medical resident, he works long hours with not so much compensation (yes, there’s definitely light at the end of the tunnel, but it can seem like a long tunnel when you marry a medical student who has four years of med school plus five years of residency and possibly a fellowship), but he just keeps on pushing. He works very hard for our family; yet, he never complains.
5. His kindness. Okay, so here I go again being the boasting wife. Hey, at least I’m not making my girls out to be uber kids (not at this moment, anyway). But not only is Dave brilliant and someone who’s achieved many professional accolades as an MD, but he’s humble and kind. The few times I’ve met any of his colleagues at a social event (say his annual Christmas party) I leave feeling proud to be his wife because at least two people always come up to me and say that working with Dave is a pleasure because he’s one of the smartest and nicest guys around.
6. His unconditional love. I had an extremely difficult breakup about a year before Dave and I were reunited, and I was convinced that no one, other than God and my parents, would ever love me unconditionally. Then I met Dave. He loves and always has loved me despite my human wrongs and failures. At first, I had a hard time believing and then accepting that he really did love me. I felt unlovable at times and I still do. There are certainly days when I don’t deserve to be loved, but he does anyway. Dave has taught me through his actions, his words and his putting our marriage and our family above everything else that love isn’t a feeling. It’s not about reading Shakespearean sonnets or listening to the likes of Air Supply or Beatles love songs with your head in the clouds. It’s many, many times a decision, and from the moment Dave first said, “I’m falling in love with you,” he made the decision to love me for better or for worse, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, when I’m grumpy from a lack of sleep, or needy because I miss him, or worried about money, or asking him for the umpteenth time whether or not he’s going to do a fellowship or not, or I’m being selfish and not putting his needs above my own, or I vent to him and ramble on and on instead of listening to him first, or I’m frazzled trying to get the girls ready for Mass and am ironically not acting Christian at all, or I serve four vegetarian meals in one week instead of giving the poor carnivorous man some meat on the table… His love is not conditional. It’s always there even when he’s chained to the hospital reading room on a night like this, I feel infinitely blessed and infinitely loved.
Happy Valentine’s Day!