Hello to everyone from balmy Houston! We drove here in 15 hours straight and I drove almost that entire way myself. I'm feeling pretty tough right now. My posting may be quite spotty for two reasons. A) It's Christmas and B) I have spotty wireless access because I am having connection problems with my in-laws's wireless. However, their neighbor died a few days ago and his wireless is still on. It's not password protected and I feel like he won't mind if I use it. I hope that's ok.
Being here at this time of year brings back a rush of potent memories. Eighteen years ago, I left my parents's home on Christmas Day and flew to Houston where I was reunited with my fiance and met her family.
I still remember how beautiful she was and how much I missed her over the days between the end of the semester and our reuniting. I didn't think I would survive the separation.
Once here, we spent long hours together, walking through the beautiful neighborhood (Houston is quite lush) in the balmy weather. We were intoxicated by a heady combination of young, fresh love and grand visions of the future. We held hands--which still made our hearts beat fast--and wandered through both the neighborhood and the contours of our future. What would we do? Where would we live? How many children would be wave and when would they come? Passionate blood pounded in our veins, providing fertile ground for our dreams to grow.
Now, we are back. This morning, I went jogging--ok, jog/walking--through the same streets we walked before. Eighteen years, five children, three states, one major illness, three college degrees and nearly two decades of highs and lows, joys and woes (what musical is that from?) later, we are back. In fact, our questions have moved from "When will be start our family" to "Where will our oldest go to college?" and "To what high schools will our 8th grader be accepted?"
Many things have changed. Our dreams, extravagant and unfettered then, have been tamed and modified by the realities of life. They have been mellowed and if not all of them came true, then we are now wise enough to see that it's probably good they didn't and content enough to be happy with our lives.
Our love is not quite the trumpets-and-fireworks passion of young love. But if it is not as flashy, it is stronger. It has been tempered by time and trial, and the mutual experience of laughter and tears, conflict and reconciliation. And so, if the love doesn't burn quite as hot, it glows much deeper and with a warme. I love her more--infinitely more and in more ways--than I ever could have dreamed then.
One thing has not changed: Houston is still beautiful, and so is she. Even more so, in fact. The years have not changed that.
So: if I could step back in time on my jog and run in to my younger self, I would have on message: "Be happy. It won't always work out how you planned it but it will work out. There will be some dark and difficult times. But hang in there. You are a lucky man and when your youthful ardor mellows you'll realize you are getting an even better wife than you think you are now!
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