Artist’s impression of now:
Happy wedding anniversary to my love.
Eighteen years, and it just keeps getting better.
Ten years ago yesterday, I became a parent for the first time. My tiny baby girl is now a big, beautiful ten-year-old person, who comes up to my nose and will be taller than me before she’s thirteen. I can’t believe how much I love her, and what a journey the last decade has been.
When she was born, I had no clue, only hope. Her first night home was awful – she screamed for 12 hours while I kept trying to feed her and failed because her mouth was so tiny and I had no idea what to do. She now tells me she remembers that night – how? – and that she was trying to tell me what she needed, but that I didn’t understand her baby words.
Now I understand her words, thank God, and she mine.
Recently she sent me this:
I have no important reason to write to you.
I just love you with my heart.
You are kind and sweet.
And I love you more than cheese
I’m looking forward to lifetime of letters and love with you, my darling L.
And lots and lots of cheese.
Married fifteen years on 1 October 2009
Tomorrow we celebrate 15 years of marriage and to celebrate, I’m breaking with the memoir theme to give you Fifteen Things I Love About My Husband.
1. Makes me laugh, and finds me funny.
2. Buys cleaning products, and uses them.
3. Is co-dependent in the book habit.
4. Not scared of the gory jobs – anything to do with toilets, vomit, dead animals, he’s the one.
5. Let me win at Scrabble twice this week.
6. Cherishes our family life.
7. Loves and keeps up with his friends.
8. Found me at least eight of my best girlfriends.
9. Enjoys answering questions like “What makes an aeroplane fly?” and “How many seconds are there in a week?”
10. Makes a salad with as much flair as he cooks a steak.
11. Does all the crafting so that I don’t have to.
12. Is a wonderful mixture of dreamy and practical.
13. Recovered our dining-room chairs in three hours last weekend.
14. Has to leave the room during key scenes of The Office.
15. Is more hot and handsome than he was when we got married.
I love you my darling. Thanks for all the years. You are my one and only.
I’m here today to introduce you to someone.
This person is a nice man. I mean a seriously nice man, who loves animals, children, plants, sunsets, beaches, fishing, walking, nature, good meals, the occasional drink, dessert, reading, music, philosophising, dreaming, conversations that go on for hours, Scrabble, card games and laughing at the absurdity of life. This is a man who cares not a jot for brands, fast cars or anything flashy. I mean he cares not a jot; I don’t mean he pretends not to care while secretly lusting after them.
He is solvent, self-employed and in his mid-thirties. He’s been in therapy and faced his demons. He has no baggage in the form of children or past marriages. He doesn’t gamble, or smoke.
This is a man who would never check his email on his Blackberry while “listening” to you, in fact, he probably doesn’t even know what a Blackberry is. He isn’t on Facebook and he hasn’t heard of Twitter. He does own a cellphone and has been known to send an email, but his job is outdoors and that is where he loves to be. Until recently, he had never left southern Africa, but is now developing a penchant for travel.
What else can I tell you?
His family are sane. (His sister, particularly, is delightful.) He is a compassionate and respectful employer. He has ideas. He gets excited about things. He finds alternative ways of living and being inspiring. People love him. Dogs and children flock to him. He has a way of listening that you makes you feel better than you really are.
Also, he is not in a relationship, and he would love to be. He would love to have a family and be a father. He hasn’t found love yet because he has dedicated the last decade to his passion – trees – and because the women in his home town like men who wear brands, drive fast cars and flash cash.
Want to see him?
Here he is:
Now with slight smile:
I think he’s gorgeous. But then I would. He’s my brother. (And if you’d like an introduction, let me know …)
My husband is a star. He has been known to wipe vomit off my favourite pink satin shoes, he will happily take the children off for a skiing weekend and leave me alone to pick my hangnails and eat popcorn for breakfast, and he has a great sense of humour. First über-blogger Dooce did this meme, and then my good friend the very Noble Savage tagged me, so here’s a small tribute to Germany’s Top Husband.
What are your middle names?
Mine is Elise, after my maternal grandmother, and his is Witham, after family tradition. I can imagine a novel, set in the mid-nineteenth century where, after meeting at a dance, Elise and Witham fall in love, are separated for many years, then meet again, realise they have always been in love, move to Germany and have a vast brood of children.
How long have you been together?
Wow, a Maths question. We have known each other 22 years, have been officially together 17 years (there were forays, folks, during the wilderness years, but we needn’t go there) and married for 14.
How long did you know each other before you started dating?
The first time we met we were 17 and there were, oh, about 22 minutes between meeting and kissing. We dated for two weeks, I dumped him, then there was the wilderness. When we met again, I chased him mercilessly until he gave in. Elise was a shameless hussy.
Who asked who out?
Well, on the second time around, he asked me out, though he swears it was just platonic. He had just moved to Cape Town and thought he would look me up so that I could introduce him to some of my friends. Hah! I took one look and bagged him for myself. Elise was not going to let Witham slip out of her rapidly-aging fingers again – there would be no shelf for our bold heroine.
How old are you?
Both 40. He is six weeks older.
Whose siblings do you see the most?
Gawd. We both see our brothers (he has one; I have four) about once every three years. However, we are going to South Africa this year and to Greece for a family wedding, so 2009 will be Year of the Brother. Elise and Witham were devoted to their families, but sadly did enjoy the felicity of their company quite often enough.
Which situation is hardest on you as a couple?
Finding time to be alone together. Living far away from family, with no support, we have very, very few opportunities to do the kinds of things we enjoy doing together, like having long breakfasts in cafes and meandering in bookshops. We have a great babysitter for when we need nights out, but we very seldom have DAYS together. Elise missed the days when she would embroider while Witham read to her in front of a roaring fire.
Did you go to the same school?
No. I went to an institution for young ladies and he went to an institution for young barbarians.
Are you from the same home town?
Technically, no. His wandering parents lived in many, many places, and eventually landed in the South African version of the Burg, where my family had lived for generations. It was inevitable that one day, under the right circumstances, young Elise and Witham would meet.
Who is smarter?
Ooh, dangerous ground here. He beats me at Scrabble; I correct his spelling. Can we leave it there?
Who is the most sensitive?
If that means the one most likely to tear up while watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics, then me. Elise was the type to weep at the sight of a withered bloom; it was this that made Witham love her all the more.
Where do you eat out most as a couple?
Various restaurants in Heidelberg, but our special date restaurant is in the Burg. And very lovely it is too.
Where is the furthest you have travelled together as a couple?
Is the southern tip of Africa to Germany far enough? Or London to Atlanta, Georgia?
Who has the craziest exes?
I win! Bat shit is not adequate enough to describe.
Who has the worst temper?
We both tend to grumpiness and muttering and a bit of inanimate object kicking, but I think he controls his better than I control mine.
Who does the most cooking?
At the moment, me. But there have been phases in the relationship when he’s done it all.
Who is the most stubborn?
Who hogs the bed most?
Oh, that would be me. Je suis the duvet thief.
Who does the laundry?
Mostly me, but with very staunch back-up.
Who’s better with the computer?
Who drives when you are together?
He drives there, I drive back. Elise and Witham enjoyed a very even marriage, sharing responsibilities, and taking care of each other’s needs. Whenever they had dined out, Elise would happily drive the trap home, her darling snoring gently at her side.
If today’s news of billionaire suicides and bombings in Gaza is depressing you – as it is me – then let this story take your mind off. This is the story of young love, in Germany. ENJOY!
I live with a PhD student. He is also a full-time worker and father of three, so he is a fairly busy guy. With his dissertation and my novel to finish this year, 2009 is going to be interesting for us. One of the ways you could help us avoid marital strife – if you work in software – would be to fill out his survey. Please forward it to any software types you know.
The survey is to be found here.
His latest blog post about the dissertation is here.
My grateful thanks are here: