It’s official. Five years ago, by the superpowers vested in him by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, our dear friend pronounced Thor and I “husband and wife.”
The internet says we are supposed to give one another wood. I think the internet is overstepping its bounds a little.
We’d been together five and a half years prior to knot-tying day, so our jitters were of the tame variety, and most of my worries had to do with the big party we were throwing rather than the commitment I was about to make.
Yeah, we knew each other pretty well that day, but increasingly over the past year or so I feel like Thor has been getting me on a whole new level. One that is fabulous for our relationship and also means I get away with less crap. Take the lima beans, for example. We’ve got a flourishing backyard garden and Thor wants to plant lima beans next time instead of green beans since the greens aren’t holding up their poles, so to speak. “I hate lima beans,” I reply. A couple years ago, that would have been the end. Now, though? He’s right on my tail. “Is that because the last time you had them was when you were ten?” Yup. Wind outa my sails. Guess we’ll be planting lima beans, then.
Here’s another great example, also brought to you by our backyard. We recently bought our first house (No, teaching and audio engineering are not that lucrative, at least not yet — Thor had some money from an aunt and I had some from my mom, both of whom are dead. See? Now you feel sorry for us.) and since I was pregnant at the time, we’re not what you would call “unpacked” yet. But it’s comparatively easier to work on the yard — the back yard, that is, so that’s where most of our energies have gone. We’ve realized that, despite our shared love of gardening and even of planning to garden, two issues arise: (1) It is impossible to make any decisions while Owlet is awake, particularly if we are at the garden store and she has taken control of the shopping cart, and (2) I am strangely reluctant to actually kill any existing plant life. We cut down two trees to make space for our veggies and I swear, I was out there Pocahontas-ing with my hands on their oozing stumps. (Which we fashioned into two adorable little stump-chairs, by the way, or more accurately, instructed our awesome friend-with-chainsaw to fashion them.)
So bizarrely I have staked my claim on a few shrubs that were there when we moved in. They don’t “do” anything (flower, fruit, etc.) so they are wasted space for Thor but, since they are in the shade of the house rather than prime gardening real estate, he decided not to argue.
Until we learned that the cute one that was sculpted into a ball when we moved in needs to be hacked back every few days in order to remain adorably rotund. With only occasional complaints, Thor was doing this while I was pregnant, along with pretty much all of our chores, truth be told, but as soon as I was moving around exclaiming about how back-to-normal I felt, I rashly stopped his latest complaint by declaring it to be my job. Which I blithely proceeded to fail to do, until a week and a half ago. For those keeping track, that means I did not tackle this monstrosity until over two months had passed.
Feeling all kinds of proactive whilst ignoring my tardiness, I proceeded to examine the bush, hand on hip, clippers tapping thoughtfully against my thigh. I could still kind of see the sphere it once had been… I clipped a branch — a twig, really. I hemmed and hawed. I clipped a few more, and stepped back to assess my progress. It was going to be kind of fun. Like sculpting or something.
By the time Thor stepped out into the backyard, probably collecting herbs from our garden to use in some sort of fabulous dinner (if you’re making a tally, yes, he cooks, cleans, and gardens), I was furiously cursing the mastermind behind spherical shrubbery.
I caught his attention before he returned to the kitchen. “So… what kind of citrus tree should we get to replace this thing?”
We had a good laugh, but he hasn’t done nearly the amount of delighted crowing I would’ve done in the same situation. I did offer up two more of the shrubs (retaining only one of the backyard four) so he could just be distracted by happily plotting their demise, but I prefer to credit him with far better self-control than I possess.
I find it easier to explain these daily life things, because the big ones are really too huge for more than a montage. A night that began as friends viewing a science fiction monstrosity of a movie and ended up as our first date. Our long, drawn out, uber-cutesy goodbyes while living long distance. His graceful turnaround after I ambushed him by reading books one through four on a road trip: where once he had banned Harry Potter from his dorm room, he was later to excitedly attend book seven’s midnight release. The little notes he’d leave me when we first moved in together. The way he looked after and mourned the loss of Tika, our first kitten, and how I could already tell he’d be a great father from the way he loved her. How we both preferred parks to museums while traveling. The songs he wrote for our wedding’s “first dances.” Our accidental trip to Paris on our honeymoon. His patience with my particular brand of crazy. The glow in his eyes when the very first stick I peed on had two faint lines for an impending Owlet. How his arms held me up without a flicker of weakness during endless hours of labor with her, and how he pressed his forehead against mine for contraction after contraction with Platypup. The exceptional, phenomenal, perfect way he parents our children as my equal or better in all ways except milk-making.
(Beach long before having kids, plane to Spain, just moved to CA 1, just moved to CA 2, Thor’s brother’s wedding, and seeing Harry Potter 7 part 2 in 3D as a rare date out without Owlet. Yes, these are pretty much all of the photos I have of us both together!)
And then there’s the Doctor.
No, not Dr. Who, though we adore him with a worshipful love unmatched by any other fictional character. A different Doctor. Diet Doctor Pepper, to be precise. Thor loves it. He works odd hours and never knows when he’ll be stranded somewhere at 2am without caffeine within reach, so he buys in bulk and keeps it in the car. This often results in a heap of empties threatening to prevent passengers, and for that and the obvious health issue, I periodically give him a hard time about drinking it at all. Concurrently (and completely separate in my mind), I demand a sip whenever he has a can open. I’ve never been able to drink a full can without feeling gross immediately afterward — and don’t get me started on those enormous bottles they sell for one person to consume — but still crave the soda fizz whenever I see one. A sip or two is always enough.
Anyway, Thor has been fairly agreeable about this arrangement despite my obnoxious sense of entitlement and clear hypocrisy on the issue.
And then a few days ago he entered the room in the process of popping the top of a new can and handed it to me without a drop for himself first. Before I could even hold out my hand for it.
That, my friends, is twoo wuv.