**photo credit Dave McCoy
When I met him, he could quote Monty Python verbatim, would throw himself into snowdrifts with an edge of ridiculousness, and his desire to grow a full mustache exceeded his ability. He was awkward and enthusiastic, confused and self-assured, at once a small boy and an ancient with knowing in his eyes.
What I sensed was an intangible element beneath the surface, a solid steadiness in spite of his contradictions. He was the answer to a question I didn’t know I’d posed.
I knew with surety that he was my place to fall.
I said “yes” three months from the day I saw him smile, too young to know a sense of surety didn’t guarantee success. We fell together, anyway.
Inexperience did not make an easy path. Career changes, upheavals, and the clash of two diverse personalities with no common ground made challenges the surety.
He sometimes forgot to ask, “How was your day?” as he worked sixteen hour days through a summer without a day off so that he could earn his bonus, a bonus I thought he would spend on a fishing rod or a personal reward. What drove him was the need to buy me the diamond ring I’d forgone in our rush to marry, because the gesture would remind me what I already knew.
He learned my bluster passed. I learned he was a man of measured words whose message resided beneath the gestures if I had the patience to look.
“I don’t think I can do this,” I said in the hospital while I fretted over the impending responsibility of raising our babies. He held my trembling hand and had enough surety for the both of us, spoke to me as he would our children with whispered words of quiet devotion, the meaning intuitively felt just beneath the surface.
He doesn’t complain, but does what needs to be done to support those he holds close. His time alone, the solace of the moving water and open skies is infrequent, yet he reaches deep and finds restoration from somewhere inside of himself and offers it to those he holds dear.
On our anniversary all I have is the words, my husband, the keeper of my heart. Look beneath the surface . . . I still fall every day.
Photo credit: Dave McCoy, guide with Emerald Water Anglers, passionate conservationist, and inspired photographer, was kind enough to grant me permission to use this photograph. More of his work can be viewed at Dave McCoy Photography.
I enjoy my local YMCA. It’s a communal haven where retirees gather with friendly waves, smiles, and gentle pats on the back in support. It’s a place for Moms to meet for a break in the routine and lap the indoor track pushing strollers, their hands gesturing broadly as if words can’t contain the fullness [...]