Thursday, June 5, 2014

Marry Your Best Friend...I Did

It’s been twenty years as of today. Twenty years since I married the man of my dreams. We met because of Adam Ant. Not many people may remember this musician, but wherever he is I thank him for his part in making sure I met Steve. Mr. Ant doesn’t even know he had anything to do with it but that’s okay.

See, I met Steve in high school. A close friend of mine used to like to call cute boys on the phone after school. She and I were hanging out and watching MTV back in the days when MTV actually played music and not stupid things like “The Real World.” (I always felt that in the “real world” you paid your own rent, but MTV and I have different definitions apparently of the word “real,” but I digress). This friend had called Steve and was talking to him when one of her favorite videos came on T.V. Ironically it was “Desperate, But Not Serious,” by Adam Ant. Teenage girls, desperate? Never…heh heh heh. Definitely not serious.

Well, anyway, when this video came on television my friend, who absolutely ADORED Adam Ant, just HAD to go watch. She hastily stuffed the phone in my hands and dashed off to oogle the war-paint-clad wonder that was Adam Ant. While she was dancing and clapping along with the song, I was left to chat with a young, apparently cute (I had never seen Steve at this point) 17-year-old. For someone who was under-confident and introverted like I was, this was like being thrown from the frying pan into the fire. I stumbled around for a few minutes while we tried to figure out what to talk about. My job, given to me by my friend, was to keep said cute boy on the phone until her video was over.

I don’t remember what we talked about for 45 minutes while my friend watched even more videos of musicians she liked (Billy Idol, Prince, etc.), but by the time she came back to take the phone, it was too late. Steve and I had discovered we enjoyed talking to each other and were laughing and chatting away. When my friend asked for the phone back, she was told in no uncertain terms that we were in the middle of something and she would have to check back later.

So began the beginning of a great friendship with my future husband. He made me laugh. A lot. He still does. He was always respectful of me. He still is. He was always a gentleman. He still is. He had a great family who treated me like one of their own. He obviously still has that family and they still treat me like a member of the family. The only difference? Now I actually AM a member of the family.

We have had some very tough times during our marriage. When we moved in together we had a twin mattress on the floor of our apartment. That was all we could afford. We used an American Red Cross back board for a coffee table. It was held up by concrete blocks. For months all we ate was Ramen Noodles, Macaroni and Cheese and hot dogs. That was our food budget. We had this truly UGLY red and orange floral couch, given to us by a friend.

That difficulty paled in comparison to what happened in 1997. Just three years after being married we had our first child, Thomas William Turner. He was an 8lb 9 oz beautiful baby. Unfortunately, that beautiful boy was not destined to live a long life. He had a serious heart defect and died after a surgery that attempted to correct his many problems. He was 10 days old.

I have never recovered from that pain. The pain of losing a child is incredible. You just don’t know how to keep going once something like that happens. This beautiful baby that you are allowed to love for nine months is suddenly ripped away from you, never to return. If I hadn’t had Steve to lean on during that time I think I would have gone crazy. I was pretty close a number of times. I hope that I was as supportive of him as he was of me. My gut says no…I tried to be supportive, but he was the rock, the steady one, during our darkest times.

When we miscarried our last child he was there as well. He held me as I cried and was there while I met with the doctor who told me about the D&C procedure I needed when the baby was dead. He never left my side. He was there both before and after the procedure and I never felt alone.

He was also there for the really good times too. He was there as my number one support during the birth of each and every child. Allison, Christopher and Daniel saw Daddy before they ever saw me, that’s how involved he was in their births. He was truly amazing. I honestly couldn’t have made it through the unmedicated, natural child births I had without him. He made it so much easier for me than it could have been.

As I look back on the years we have been together, I realize that he has always been there. He brings flowers home on random occasions just to say I love you. He does laundry (which sometimes is more romantic than the flowers) and he is a FANTASTIC father. He works hard at his job and does all he can to support us AND he manages to arrange his schedule so he can be at baseball games, bring kids to karate, take days off when I’m sick and help with dinner.

Have there been times that I have been upset with him? Of course. You don’t live with someone for twenty-plus years and not get upset sometimes. Has he been upset with me? Sure. I’m not the easiest person to live with at times. Despite these difficulties, I am glad we are together. I don’t think we have a perfect marriage (who does?), but it’s perfectly ours.

Our marriage has been hard work. There have been tears, arguments, and pain. But our marriage has been fun too. We laugh, we cuddle and we talk. We hopefully show our children that you need to put more effort into your marriage than your wedding. I hope they come away with the knowledge that marriage to the right person is SOOOOO worth the work.

I know mine is.

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