I had big plans.
Barely a pretween in the late ’70s, I was already dreaming about getting a perm, driving a car, becoming a jazz dancer, traveling the world as a journalist, and marrying my first Hollywood crush Steve Austin, the super-powered cyborg played by Lee Majors in the television series The Six Million Dollar Man.
Not only did I dream about marrying that bionic box office brunette, I actually grabbed a few dandelions from the front yard, taped a long piece of toilet paper to the top of my head, checked to make sure the coast was clear, then slowly walked down the “aisle” between my bedroom and my parents’ bedroom, and “vowed” to love and honor him all the days of my life.
Or at least until the likes of Rick Springfield and John Cusack rolled around in the ’80s, and I started dreaming I was “Jessie’s Girl” and then that Diane girl serenaded outside her bedroom window by a stereo-blaring-romantic.
No wonder why marriage to my real-life guy who is one-hundred percent human (not to mention blond and blue-eyed) hasn’t always lived up to my younger, lofty expectations.
Not only does he not have x-ray vision to read my mind nor bionic implants to free me from chains of self-doubt and worry I lock myself into sometimes, but he doesn’t even own a decent boom box.
•Right from the start he crushed it by taking part in our annual family Christmas pageants with a smile, wearing the costumes my Mom used to make out of old curtains and fabric scraps.
•With the might of Hercules, he keeps his mouth shut when I back into fire hydrants and side-swipe maintenance trucks parked in our driveway.
•He leaps tall buildings, such as our 1980s two-story at the end of the cul-se-sac with the tree out front still wrapped in last year’s Christmas lights, in a single bound to clear gunk out of gutters without complaint.
•He eats my cooking—no easy feat, although I do a decent job at roasting our 28-pound Thanksgiving turkey each year.
•Having learned by now that mushy, sentimental Hallmark cards aren’t my thing, he bulldozes through and knocks over racks at Walgreens ’til he finds one he knows will make me laugh, maybe even pee in my pants a tiny bit, like the one with the goofy squirrel cleaning his eyeglasses.
•He travels faster than a rocket-powered X-15 when one of his children gets hurt and claps like thunder in my ears when they occasionally make a basket, a goal, or a tackle at the 30-yard line.
•Then, somehow, he’s got enough energy at the end of the day to play a round of flapjack or Uno with them before they go to bed.
•He exhibits transcendental patience as he waits for me at curbs again and again, that knowing grin on his face, while I run back into movie theaters, churches, restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores to retrieve my purse or hat or gloves or any of the other belongings I chronically leave behind.
•And last but not least, he lifts my spirits when I’m feeling bloated and blah by wanting me to stay up and watch Castle reruns with him, even after I treated him like a punching bag earlier in the day during a hormonal rant.
I can’t believe how long it took me to realize I did, in fact, marry a six million dollar man.
Of course, there’s no price tag when it comes to that someone who knows more than anyone what keeps you up at night and loves you the way you are—flaws, foibles, fears, and all.
We’re no crowd-magnets. Our marriage is no effigy of perfection. And quite often we push each other’s buttons more than any other being on the planet or walk of fame ever could. But I sure hope he knows how much I love and appreciate him. How did 20 years together go by already?
By the way, here’s my real wedding veil. This one’s homemade, too. Using a few supplies from Joanne Fabrics, it cost me less than a case of Quilted Northern Ultra Plush, but has lasted longer than most any star-studded mishmash I’ve seen in the tabloids.
I’m Julie Jo Severson, mom to two teens and a tween, freelance writer, editor, and co-author of HERE IN THE MIDDLE: Stories of Love, Loss, and Connection from the Ones Sandwiched in Between.
This blog, Carvings on a Desk, is where I reconnect with my own voice swirling around in the middle. Read other recent stories.
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