(Mr Pomo warns: Includes sentimental schmaltz, reference to underage drinking and worms.)
My husband is about to turn 38. We met almost exactly 20 years ago, when he was a very young first-year university student and I was a rather knowing schoolgirl. It was at a rugby after-party, and, having no interest in rugby at all, I was there for the boys. And I found one! I told my friends I was going to get a beer and somewhere in the beer crush, met him. My friends didn’t see me again. We spent some time propped up against a wall talking. He recited Blake’s The Tiger to me. We danced. We spend some more time propped up against a wall … not talking.
We started a passionate, wonderful, letter-writing, book-sharing relationship. I was thrilled to have a boyfriend who didn’t want to talk about rugby. It lasted, er, two weeks. All I can say in my defence is that I was very young and very superficial. If you ever come for dinner and we drink enough wine, he will tell you his version of events. I will blush and possibly run screeching from the room. I really was a dreadful teenager.
Anyway, five years later, when he knew a bit more about girls and had a job and a car and an attitude, he found me again. During that time, I had come to appreciate that qualities such as kindness, trustworthiness and gentleness were actually desirable in a partner. I was in my last year at university and he was working, so he wined and dined me in every posh eatery the length and breadth of the Cape Peninsula. He kept proposing, and I kept saying, let me write a novel first, let me pay off my student loan first, let me go to China first. One day, in the Spar near my mother’s house, buying a few last-minute Christmas groceries, he made his umpteenth proposal. By then they were becoming somewhat offhand. To his surprise and mine, I said yes.
So to celebrate his birthday, and twenty years of knowing each other, here are some (but by no means all of the) things I love about my husband:
- His crooked, sideways grin. This has been inherited by my son, so now I have two of them grinning at me like this on a daily basis, melting my heart.
- He has no fear of the yucky jobs. Cleaning the toilet, emptying the nappy bin, swabbing out the food bin in summer (there be w*rms), cleaning the tops of the kitchen cupboards when we have a moth infestation (there be more w*rms), nothing is too gross for him.
- He is a great present-giver. He never fails to return from a business trip with a little something for me. Even if it’s just an English-language newspaper he picked up on the plane, there’s always a present. Birthdays are good too.
- When Ollie shrieks at 5.30am, he will collect him, take him downstairs, give him his breakfast and play with him so that I can get a little more sleep.
- He is devoted to his family – we come first above all else. Occasionally, he gets mournful and mutters “What happened to my Ferrari” but I know that he would rather have us than a garage-full of sports cars.
- He LOVES a party.
- He is a great friend.
- He cooks, favouring the Jamie Oliver style of flinging it all together, nakedly. Which is not to say he cooks naked, though it might be something to think about …
- He buys cleaning products, which he actually USES.
- No-one treasures, admires, uncomplicatedly adores our three children as much as he does. Apart from me, of course.
- He makes me laugh. Actually, shriek.
- He speaks fluent, but shamelessly bad German. He has tons of German friends, who shriek at his jokes – in German.
- He loves books and travel as much as I do.
- He tolerates, no, encourages, my blogging habit.
- He leaves all the chocolate for me.
(My husband blogs at Vendorprisey. If you’re of a technical bent, like bikes and well-written software blogs, then check it out.)