Friday, September 27, 2013

The Best Bits

Yesterday I was thinking about this one time, at band camp...

Grant and I have been together for over 10 years, several of them as a very happily married couple. I told our story to a new friend last weekend and was reminded how unlikely it was that we got together at all. It was a chance encounter that turned into a love affair that turned into a house in urban Pittsburgh with two kids and a shared record collection. How does this happen??

Because moments like these happen. Moments that make you fall in love and decide to stay in love. Even when love is hard and lonely and disappointing. Especially when love is easy and brilliant and intimate. Moments like these are exclusive and make up the strands that bind two people together with cords that cannot be broken by anything.

1. Our fifth anniversary we spent in New Orleans. We had been evacuated from our "home" for three years and this trip was our first back where we weren't packing up a flooded apartment or watching the city get smaller in our rearview mirror. We were celebrating. Drinking and eating and sleeping in and getting tattooed and having sex on the balcony. We felt like five years was a big deal- especially after our particular first five years. We were going do this marriage thing. We decided to eat at one of the oldest restaurants in the French Quarter- expensive, classic, reservations months in advance FANCY. We got all dressed up and spent two brilliant hours pretending to know what Prime Tournedos was and relying on our memory of how Paul Giamatti tested wine in the movie Sideways so we could give our waiter the subtle nod that all was acceptable. Then we left and drank absinthe at a bar on Jackson Square. While we were sitting on the high bar stools enjoying the breeze through the open windows, the skies opened. It poured like it only rains in New Orleans. We were full and happy and a little drunk so we decided to make a run for it. We ran through the Quarter, jumped on the street car and took it back to the Garden District where our Bed and Breakfast was. At that point we were as wet as we could possibly be, but we ran again anyway. Holding hands, laughing and loving each other and this gorgeous city. When I look at the pictures we took of each other, rain dripping from Grant's beard and my eyelashes, I can taste the redfish and absinthe again.

2. Walking in the door to our first house. It was a huge old house in Bellefonte, 10 minutes outside of State College. It was more then livable, but we had big plans to fix it up even more and make it ours. We lived there for 4 years, painting every wall, repairing horse hair plaster, planting gardens, tearing out bathroom floors, scraping wallpaper and replacing kitchen hardware. We did things with a book in one hand and a hammer in the other. And always a houseful of people. Dinner parties and sleepovers and fire pits and grape picking and girl's art nights and Thanks giving and Christmas and New Years. Any excuse to open a bottle of wine and make delicious food. We brought newborn Pursy home to that house, conceived Knox in that house and built a strong marriage while we built a gorgeous home.

3. The day we found we were pregnant. We had been trying for over a year and had just been diagnosed as infertile. We had been planning a trip to New York for the weekend- we needed to get away from temperature taking, cervical fluid checking and "business sex" making. We were tired and grumpy and starting to think about life with just the two of us in our family. That morning Grant suggested I take one more test because we were going to drown our sorrows in late nights, smoky music venues and booze. I was in the bathroom, peed on the stick and started to put on makeup. I remember looking down and seeing a blue line, but no plus sign. I scooped everything up and threw in away, and continued getting ready. But something was off in my head. As I threw the box away, I noticed that the pregnancy test on the front of the box had just a blue line. Why would they put a picture of a negative pregnancy test on the front of the box?? I picked the box and my test out of the garbage and realized that the kind of test I purchased wasn't a positive/negative sign. It was a blue line or nothing. I was pregnant. And maybe the only person in the universe capable of misreading a pregnancy test. Grant was knocking on the door wanting to come into the shower. I had these plans to tell him with a Kelty backpack carrier or a World's Best Dad t-shirt tucked into his school bag. But I was in the bathroom naked with no supplies and no creative ideas. I grabbed a tube of lipstick and wrote on my belly in red wax HI DADDY. Grant got tired of waiting and barged in. He saw me standing there and got a smile on his face- naked wife means morning quickie. His eyes went down to my belly and the red words. I will never forget the look on his face. Love.

4. As two big personalities who care about some things everything, we have had some pretty epic fights. Our early ones were passionate in really bad ways...insults, throwing things, slamming doors... that sort of thing. But one in particular happened in my in-laws basement during the four months we lived with them after Hurricane Katrina. Newlyweds who have been evacuated from their life should not live with their parents. We were desperate and young and they opened their home, so we were grateful. But it was not easy. I don't remember what this particular fight was about (who ever does?) but what made this fight one of my favorite marital moments was what Grant hollered at me across the room as the fight reached it's peak. "You do not know how lucky you are. I have one flaw!".  As soon as the words left his mouth, I think he realized it was not going to go well for him after that. I instantly was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. He lost all steam to continue fighting, gave up and joined me on the floor.

I don't remember if he ever told me what he thought his one flaw was. But he was right about one thing, I am lucky. Grant is the best thing that ever happened to me. And this isn't an exhaustive list of the best bits by any means, but when I think of defining moments or seasons in our life, these are some of my favorites.

And here are some selfies of us after a wedding we were both in this past weekend. Obviously, we think are hilarious.


  1. "You do not know how lucky you are. I have one flaw!".

    He sounds like my husband. :) That said, we are lucky.

  2. Christy, I literally teared up when I read your pregnancy story. I love and miss you guys. Hope all is well!

  3. Oh, I love reading this. So many of my friends spend so much of their time complaining about their husbands and while I've vented about Sam a few times, I've more often been accused of not "joining in" - one friend was so upset she told me she couldnt' talk to me about her husband anymore since I didn't complain about mine. It's not that Sam is perfect, or we have the perfect marriage, but as you point out, we have a history of strong, wonderful memories (one of which includes New Orleans as well!) that get us through the rough patches, and we grow stronger all the time. I think a big key factor is spending time together...the more time we spend together the stonger we are. Thanks so much for sharing some of your memories!