It’s amazing how little I knew when embarking on this journey, but despite my naivety, it all worked out — and better than planned. I’ll be upfront and admit that my marriage, like many I suppose, should not have survived. The odds were definitely not in our favor. We came from different circumstances, different generations and, we had at least one person on each side, with deep reservations about our relationship.
But we had two things working in our favor: mutual respect and a deep connection.
Those ingredients were key. Those attributes cover a multitude of sins. They mean you are willing to look past the surface noise and failures. In Amy’s case, it meant looking past my goatee, Fu Manchu and mullet (what can I say I was a product of the late 70s/early 80s).
But more importantly, that deep connection meant we could weather all of life’s ups and downs.
For the most part, Amy and I have been blessed. But, like any couple, we’ve faced some hard times including learning 17 years ago that our twin pregnancy had been reduced to one. As newly expectant parents it was a tough blow to go from the thrill of twins to the realization that one ‘has been absorbed by the other.’ The birthing process was tough too — an emergency C-section. The longest 45 minutes of our lives was after our daughter was born because Molly was immediately taken to the ICU — and whenever we asked, ‘how is she?,’ the answer was always the same. ‘They have the best nurses working on her.’
We weren’t dumb, we could hear what they were saying.
Meconium aspiration was the culprit, but Molly was a fighter (and still is), but the image of an IV attached to her small head is one of the first images I have of my daughter. But she made it. We made it. And everyday I see my daughter thriving and living life to the fullest, I know how lucky I am. The life force is strong and some things are just destined to be.
In the same way I knew nothing about fatherhood and have learned by trial and error (with plenty of mistakes, like overreacting to small missteps), I knew nothing about what it meant to have a good marriage.
But I knew what I did not want.
Some people seek out a spouse who agrees with everything they believe. I never wanted that. I wanted an equal, someone who would challenge my thinking and help me reach my fullest potential. Someone who demanded respect because of the choices they made and the life they lived. I wanted someone that wanted the best for themselves because I knew it would bring out the best in me. I wanted to be with someone who had a deep conviction to play life fair and hard. Someone with empathy and understanding. Someone who would not yield to pettiness and crumble in adversary.
In short, I wanted Amy. I was lucky — she wanted me, too.
My only complaint — the 25 years have passed so quickly.