But aside from all of that, my favorite thing about being married to Joe is that over time, there are little moments that make me fall in love with him all over again, right then and there, and the fluttery feeling in my chest, the one that makes me giggle and cover my face like I did when I was fourteen, strikes me almost unexpectedly. In honor of the fact that one of those moments occurred recently, I decided to share a few here.
1. A few anniversaries ago, he bought a leather-bound journal. In it, he will periodically write me love letters and then leave the journal on my nightstand or pillow to read. He doesn't do it all the time, but here and there so that down the road I will have a book filled with all the reasons he loves me.
2. I love to psychoanalyze. One of my favorite questions to consider lately is, "What is your favorite font and why?" I asked Joe. "Oh," he said, thinking. "I'm not sure what it's called. It starts with a G. Garamond." I almost fell over. "That's my favorite!" I exclaimed. His face filled with teasing as he winked and said, "And that's why we're so in love." (*giggle*)
3. He once caught my vomit in his hands. I was seven months pregnant with Joey and in the hospital with kidney stones. Overwhelmed by the pain and the fear that something was wrong with Joey (I didn't know at first what was wrong), I shouted, "I'm going to be sick!" We'd been left waiting too long and there was nothing in the room for me to use and I couldn't get up. Joe dove in front of me, fingers laced together and said, "Just do it. I've got you."
4. We were at JC Penney's buying lamps. The ones I wanted--really beautiful ones with Victorian shades and wrought iron roses up the bases--were labeled as buy one, get one for a dollar. At the register, the cashier tried to tell us the sale had ended the day before. Joe leaned one elbow on the counter, looked her square in the eye and said very calmly and with not a little bit of charisma, "Now, I used to work in retail. So I know you have to honor that sign that's still posted over there." The woman all but melted, and so did I. In that moment I wished I worked in retail, too, so I could tell him something was on sale.
5. The time Joey asked him to read out loud to the class instead of me, and he did it with voices and expression and every little face in the classroom was open-mouthed and awestruck with the magic of my husband the storyteller.
6. The day he taught Noah to read. Noah was two.
7. When Max was a newborn and I found out I couldn't breastfeed, I lay in bed in hours and cried. And not a lovely, delicate, "Oh, my, boo-hoo," but a gross-nasty, snot-covered, choking orchestra of sobs. Joe finally came into the room and pressed his forehead to mine, put his arms around me, snot and all, and said nothing. It didn't erase the pain, but it made me able to breathe again. It made the crying stop.
8. When he wears the Dr. Seuss pajama pants that Noah picked out.
9. When, after a parent-teacher conference, I was all set to talk shop, and I began with, "I didn't like that at all!" and he responded with, "I know! Why are her teeth so small?!"
10. Once, I was in a terrible mood in the middle of a date night, which I realize is a bad time to be in a terrible mood, and so Joe began echoing all my negativity by expressing hatred over everything we passed. "Look at that stop light! Why is it so red? That's stupid," and "What's up with that building? It's too ugly to exist," and concluding with, "What's with that guy walking? Get a car, moron!" These are not things he'd typically say; his goal was to make me laugh, and he succeeded.
11. When he didn't like a new rule at our sons' school which really was a bit of nonsense, he turned to me and said firmly, "I reject that policy."
12. When I bought Divergent to watch with my nieces, Joe downloaded it to his tablet and read the whole series. He also read Twilight, just so we could talk about it.
13. He has a firm belief that pajama pants should not be worn in public, not even to Wegmans.
14. Once he came home from work, and where his dress shirt was open at the neck, I spied writing on his undershirt. I realized he'd worn a Metallica t-shirt to work under his dress clothes.
15. The first time I bought him clothes, they included a few shirts of a brand I noticed he wore a lot. "Brandini." When he opened them up, he smiled, held them up the shoulders and said, "I love them! They're my favorite 'brandini.'"
16. When he folds my clothes while doing laundry, he handles them like they're all super delicate. "I don't know what to do with them," he said once. "They're so small, like doll clothes!"
17. Every once in awhile, I turn around to find myself looking at a small, foiled wrapped grape jelly. And it's still just as exciting as it ever was.
Nobody's perfect. I'm not perfect, and I can tell you that my husband is not perfect. But life isn't about perfection. It's about perfect moments and how much they count. I love you, Joe.