October 13, 2010

That Was When

It was three weeks into us dating. Maybe a month. The timeline is a little hazy here. But it also doesn’t matter. Let’s just say it was really early on into us dating. You came over to pick me up, and if I had to guess we were probably going to Cracker Barrel. You had never heard of it before meeting me and now you were officially hooked. If I had to guess, I’d say it was the cornbread.

You climbed the three flights of stairs up to my tree house apartment, that usual big ole smile on your face, but I was nowhere near ready. When I answered the door, you knew immediately that something was most definitely wrong. My hair was dripping wet, I was shivering with a fever, and I had just come down all at once with the kind of stomach flu that makes food poisoning look like a picnic in the park. With ribbons and May poles. And mom’s potato salad. Ugh, don’t talk about potato salad. Because this was the kind of sick where you don’t even think about potato salad. It was kind of like the first thirty minutes of Saving Private Ryan. If Private Ryan had the stomach flu.

To be honest, I fully expected you to run. It had only been three weeks after all. Maybe a month. The timeline is a little hazy here. But it also doesn’t matter. Because… you stayed. You picked up my great-grandma’s quilt, wrapped me up in it, and rocked me while I shivered. And you stayed. I kicked you out a few minutes later because I felt sick again and I didn’t want you to see me like that, but in that moment of choice….you stayed.

For five days I camped out on the bathroom floor. It was five of the worst days of my life. But looking back now, they were also five of the best. Because every single day, even though I wouldn’t let you in, you would come over and sit outside the door and talk to me. Bring me chicken soup and little containers of apple sauce. Which I never ate, so they piled up in the refrigerator like little calling cards as a reminder that you were there. And the day the color finally came back into my face and I was able to keep food down for the first time, I’ll never forget how relieved you looked.

So fifty or sixty years from now, when we’re sitting on our front porch swing and there’s silver in your hair and I still look fabulous for my age :), if you look at me and ask “When did you know?” I will look back on all the years that you’ve taken care of me since then, the thousands of cups of coffee that you’ve made even though you can’t stand the smell of it, the late night glasses of water and the bowls of oatmeal in bed, and I will pull my great-grandma’s quilt up around us, look at you and say “it was when you stayed.”

That was when.

Happy three years J. I will love you for a thousand more.

  1. dawn beirnes

    now that is some kind of guy that you have! What a sweet story.

  2. Dominique

    I love this; so wonderful. It’s exactly how I feel about my husband. I love reading your blog and hope you guys come to London for a workshop!

  3. Leanne

    You really know how to push my cry like a baby button, you know.

    Happy Anniversary!

  4. Erin B.

    Such sweet moments!! :)

  5. Janet Galland-Hunt

    Can I love you guys and not even know you? Well, I do…. Happy anniversary!!!

  6. Christina Wolfe

    I don’t "know" you, I’ve never met you, but that story made me misty. Happy Anniversary!

  7. feuza

    why do I always tear up, hum probably because you write so well, probably because I know you two and this is so true, the sparkle in his eye when he looks at you and what a wonderful life and family you two will have, happy anniversary

  8. Spring

    Mary you need to write a book. I don’t care what it’s about I’d read it in a heartbeat. Your writing is genius- you tug those heart strings in just the right way. Hugs and Happy Anniversary!!

  9. Melissa

    Ugh…..I got all welled up!!! That is so sweet and heart felt. I just passed my one year Anniversary so I guess I’m still a little mushy. I loved it Mary, well said!!!

  10. talia

    love this. so sweet and touching m.

  11. Alicia Kleppinger

    Aww, M, this brought tears to my eyes. You two are just the cutest. Happy Anniversary! And many, many more :-)

  12. Val McCormick

    So well written as always! Happy Anniversary you two!!!
    -Val xoxo

  13. Michelle

    Happy Anniversary, you two! What a sweet story. With as in love as you two are, I’m sure there are a thousand more just like it :) Enjoy your day!

  14. Tira J

    What a sweet and special story. I am glad he stayed too, otherwise, we wouldn’t have Justin & Mary. Happy 3rd Anniversary to you both. It just keeps getting better from here on out.

  15. zena brown

    happy anniversary mary and justin

  16. maggieb

    Make another memory! Happy Day!

  17. Jackie Lamas

    awe! happy aniversary :)

  18. Renee

    Such a sweet story. Happy Anniversary to you both!

  19. Shelly

    love it! Happy Anniversary J&M!! I don’t know you personally, but the way you let us into your lives and hearts over this blogspacemosphere I can say…you guys absolutely
    rock! Can’t wait to be part of the thousands of years more you guys have together!! I’d be so lucky to have the same one day :)

  20. René Tate


  21. Heather Colt

    Ahhhhh!! Tears!!!! I love you both! Happy Anniversary!

  22. Julia

    LOVE THIS! Happy Anniversary guys!!

  23. Alison

    Happy anniversary my friends, to many many more.

  24. Mel

    You guys are amazing! Truly an inspiration for us! I love hearing your stories. Thank you for helping me believe that life can be like a movie with a fairy tale ending. Happy Anniversary! Wishing you the best! <3

  25. Caitlin

    Love this post so much, love you guys, happy happy anniversary!

  26. Gina Meola

    GAaaaah!! Just melted all over the floor. I LOOOOOVE YOU!!!! I know it’s not OUR anniversary, but rillay… I love you :)

  27. Jil

    to a couple that brings so much happiness and joy to other couples – happy anniversary!!

  28. Sindy

    Ahhh! This just made my day! So beautiful. Happy anniversary J & M!

  29. Kare

    Love love love! Happy Anniversary!

  30. Tracy Woodger-Broz

    Ah Mary, you write so beautifully! Happy Anniversary to a wonderful couple!

  31. Jensey

    Mary, I wanna be just like you when I grow up! Love, love, love this post- Justin is a lucky man! Happy anniversary!

  32. Karen (Mikols) Bonar

    i’m all weepy now. i’ll take my tears out back.

  33. Tiffany

    Wait, Justin can’t stand the smell of coffee … and you’re a Starbucks devotee? Now that’s love! Congratulations, you two, and hugs sent your way!

  34. Debbie

    Love this story! Hope you had a great anniversary and kudos for taking a time out to enjoy it!

  35. Jessica

    such a beautiful story! you write the story so eloquently! wishing you a happy anniversary!

  36. Lacy Dagerath

    This just makes me smile!

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