Married for a Baker’s Dozen

I was so proud of myself yesterday. I wrote an entire blog post about buying a lawn mower yesterday, all queued up and ready to fire today. Then last night, I realized that today’s my thirteenth anniversary with Denisa, and that perhaps a post about buying a lawn mower wasn’t the most appropriate way to celebrate the momentous occasion. Then again, one of the drawbacks of having a long time blog is that when it comes to the yearly observances, it becomes harder and harder to write something “new” with each passing year. All you have to do is go back in my archives and you can see what I’ve written in days gone by.

So what do I have to add to what I’ve written this year? 13 years. The mile markers seem to come more frequently than they did the first five or ten years. I’m typing this, and I could swear that I just typed it a few months ago. (This does not bode well for my blog in the years to come.)

But while 13 years seems little different than 12, the fact that we’ve reached another anniversary and I’d still rather do things with Denisa than anyone else is important and significant. We spend an awful lot of time together, after all, and I’m not exactly a people person in general. She’ll be the first to attest that there are many times when I have to just be by myself for a while to recuperate from social situations. So the fact that I can have been with someone this long and still want to continually be around her is definitely a Thing.

I still remember the first date I went on with Denisa. November 4, 2000. I asked her out mainly because I already had tickets, and my first choice for a date had fallen through. (At the time, I’d had a goal to date 30 girls in one semester–you’ve probably heard this story before, but some of you might not have. I could go into further detail, but I won’t today.) Denisa was number . . . 17? It might have been 18. The exact number is getting fuzzy with age. But in any case, I’d been out with quite a few girls at that point.

I didn’t really know Denisa. She sat behind me in German Phonetics class, and we’d been in a study group together. I knew she was cute, and I knew she was from Slovakia. The Slovakia bit was the part that stuck out to me. I remember bragging to people the morning of our date that I was going out with a girl from Slovakia–said in a funny way.

Then she showed up at periodicals (where I worked) to get some research in before our date. She was wearing a beige sweater that looked great, and I remember suddenly thinking that I really ought to wash my car before our date.

Anyone who knows me knows that spontaneous thoughts of cleaning aren’t ones that leap to my mind on a regular occasion. But if this girl could look that good in a sweater, then maybe I ought to put every effort into getting as much out of what little I had in the looks department–and that included making sure my car was spiffed up.

The biggest thing I can say about that first date (Tanner Gift of Music) was that being with Denisa felt natural right off. We were joking and laughing from the moment I picked her up until the moment I got a flat tire on the way home. Like I said: I’d been on a lot of dates. I knew that chemistry like that just didn’t come along every day.

The problem? I was convinced before that date that I was going to marry someone else. At least, I had been before that date. I got home from the date at 2am, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

That was that. I rarely call audibles when it comes to my longterm plans, but when I do, you better believe it’s for the best of reasons. They don’t get any better than this one.

Now that I’ve been with Denisa for as long as I have, I’m still amazed that the two of us can get along so easily. We come from very different backgrounds, and culture and upbringing can have a huge effect on relationships. But we click just as much today as we did on that first date.

Do we always agree on everything? Nope. We’re both strong minded and strong willed, and that means there are times that we both think very different things. But we communicate well, we take time to listen to each other, and we make sure we’re looking out for each other’s best interests. It’s been a recipe that’s worked well for us.

Anyway. I can’t say that the sight of Denisa still makes me want to spontaneously clean my car–it’s our car now, and the two of us both know we’ve got many other things on our to do lists. But I can say that seeing her walk into a room still brightens my day, and coming home to her and the kiddos each afternoon after work can turn a bad day into a good one. She’s a talented, wonderful woman, wife, and mother, and I’m continually amazed I somehow managed to con her into thinking she should hitch herself up with me.

Happy Anniversary, Denisa!

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