This man. This man deserves a post all to himself. He is the sole reason we are campers and why we have all come to love it so much.
He is the ad for adventure. He is predictably unpredictable. Yet these are a few things I know to count on:
1. He will buy a hat everywhere we go despite how many hats he has.
2. He will put a sticker on the back of his truck to document every place we have touched.
3. He will misidentify dozens of rocks as bears.
4. He will call somebody an idiot on the road, especially if they cut him off or drive to slow.
5. He will fist bump everybody in the car every time we cross an hour, counting down to our arrival.
6. He will dress us alike when he falls in love with a brand.
7. He will crank up the tunes of ACDC on the homestretch to any campground (picture taken mid-singing)
8. He will chew more gum than all of us put together.
9. He will be sure we all laugh a lot.
10. He will be solely focused on us as a family.
We have come a long way. In some ways as a couple we have come full circle, back to our beginning. He is sitting beside me now with his hat backwards like he did when we dated 25 years ago. This is a sign of him being completely relaxed and carefree. This is the look and the boy who stole my attention.
We had the realization that not long after we said I do and certainly after we had kids, we started seeing less and less of each other. It’s a bit uncanny how you can say you want to spend the rest of your life with someone and yet spend so little time with the one you chose. Work. Kids. Extended family. Friends. We had everything but us coming first. Our time was riddled with schedules, commitments, shuttling kids and talking via text instead of face to face. We were getting the worst pieces of us in any given week. We could feel the distance but didn’t think we could do much about it.
I credit this man for fighting to get us back to our center. I was so distracted by everything we created. He was paying closer attention. Little by little we began making time to be more present with each other, to connect during the day instead of at the end of it. I had a big revelation in that process. I was loving him as I loved myself. At the time, the reality was I had not been loving myself well. My energy was placed everywhere but where it mattered. His request for my time seemed almost silly seeing how he held my heart but he and I both acknowledged he no longer stole my attention. He seemed self-sufficient so I treated him as such.
We built in opportunities to be present with each other. We created tiny blocks of time at first and found the more we tried, the more space we carved out for one another. This is no simple task but it was deliberate work. Feelings hide in all sorts of corners. We had a lot to say to each other in order to move forward, but we drew closer together. We worked hard to accept the changes in us, the mistakes we made, the hurt we caused. What we found is we are still two people in love.
We will celebrate 20 years together this coming January and we decided this year we would celebrate all year. One day is not nearly enough to let the person who makes your world go round know it.