No, it’s not a diatribe about the untimely (or is it timely?) demise of the band Chumbawumba. But it was a headline to get your attention.
I got to thinking over the weekend, particularly since I’ve been pretty sick, about whether I spend an inordinate amount of time talking here about how I met Andrea and not our married life or our lives and how the kids came to be, etc. Under the blankets, over medicated and trying to reduce the fever and the icepick-stabbing pain in my forehead I got on the blog here to see if there are more instances of one than the other.
And there are. Not by a radical amount, but sure, there are.
There are a couple reasons for this, and they’re fairly simple. First, the only era in which I was able to take regular pictures of my wife are from when we first started going out. She was at her “smallest” (her term, not mine) but even then she fought the camera. It’s funny, because she was in TV, but have a still picture and she would sit and critique it for hours, literally. I decreased the amount slightly as I got into marriage and then with Abbi’s birth. She hated that she’d gotten heavier after having a first child but I never noticed. Andrea took to wearing what was fashionable then and it was overalls. I know this sounds crazy, but I loved seeing her in those. Something about them just made me smile and my heart race…even after having a child. Nothing about her changed so radically that I thought less of her that way.
Hannah was harder. After Hannah, I nearly lost her. She bled out on the operating table. They took the baby one way and then took Andrea another and I was literally standing in an operating room, blood on the floor, wondering what I was supposed to do. Pictures were taken but I don’t hardly remember them. The recovery was so hard and horrible I couldn’t really think what to do about anything but getting Hannah and Andrea well.
The twins . . . she carried two babies. She had such an insecurity about weight already that having two babies inside made her even more self-conscious. After they were born she got Bells-Palsey and it never recovered. She thought her smile was everything – but I tried to tell her that her smile was more than her mouth and her teeth. I loved how she smiled with her whole face and whole body. When she smiled she was radiant.
And I think that’s also why the early relationship comes through most. She smiled all the time, and so did I. It’s not something I did much, I’d never met anyone who made me feel like I was worth the attention. When things would go bad in my house – when we’d argue or she’d get jealous . . . when she fell into clinical depression – I wouldn’t think of leaving her. I thought about those early days: when the thought of seeing her at work made my heart race. When we woke up and realized we had to leave each other’s side and didn’t want to . . . those were the days that got me through the rough ones.
So, yeah. They’re burned into my brain. The happiest memories . . . and the darkest . . . those stick with you. I remember vivid details of meeting, dating, making love to, and falling in love with my wife. I also remember every single detail of her last hours. I remember visiting Valla’s Pumpkin Patch with our young daughter as much as I remember the time I spent as a five-year-old in the hospital alone because my Mom couldn’t stay in the room with me. I remember meeting my brother at Houston’s Mission Control and the family trip we took there before leaving Texas as vividly as I do the moment she left the earth.
So those college days, tubthumping and crazy, stick in my brain. You know how they tell you in dark times to go to that “happy place?” That was mine. Now they’re not necessarily that place, they’re just happy memories.
But I remember all those college days because they got me through the darker days.