I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, February 27, 2022

A special birthday and more

Squalicum Harbor yesterday

 Melanie and I walked more than five miles yesterday at one of our favorite places, the harbor, knowing that later in the day rain would return to our skies. But for the moment, we experienced dry conditions and enjoyed seeing the numerous boats moored in calm waters as we walked. In a few weeks, those plants in the foreground will begin to push forth new green shoots, and flowers will soon follow.

Today I will have a chance to spend the day with my favorite person, my life partner, my hubby, who sleeps next to me every day, but especially Sunday mornings when I write this post from the bed we share. He is now so accustomed to the sound of the keys tapping away that I don't believe he even hears it any more. Or maybe it makes it into his dreams, I don't know. I'm just glad he is still over there, after all these years together.

When we met thirty years ago, I would never have expected us to still be so happy together, but we are. We were both fifty, having reached the half-century mark at just about the time we first met on the internet. We were one of the first couples to have started our relationship electronically, and now it's commonplace. But it sure wasn't back then. There were no websites devoted to online matchmaking. We met because of a shared love of skydiving. I was actively pursuing the sport, and he was semi-retired from it by then. We began to correspond through email, and for months that was the only way we knew each other. I lived in Boulder, Colorado, and he lived in San Francisco. 

Finally, after several months, we decided to take the next step and actually talk to one another by phone. There were no cell phones yet, so we didn't have any way to see each other, which was probably a good thing. We did learn lots about each other as we spent so much time talking, and even though back then long-distance calls were pricey, we didn't care. That was the beginning of our love affair, and thirty years later, we are still happily sharing our lives with one another.

When we finally met in the airport in Denver, it was awkward, to say the least. It didn't bode well for a long relationship that these two fifty-year-olds stared at each other and all our long conversations were no longer relevant: here was the person in the flesh, and we didn't recognize each other and fall into one another's arms like you might expect. Instead, we had to learn how to integrate our dreams into the reality of the middle-aged persons we were. We had shared so much already, but none of it mattered as we found our way through that first visit.

Fortunately, skydiving was so much a part of our lives back then that it helped to smooth out some of the rough patches. He returned to San Francisco, and after I came to visit him there, we began to think about whether we had a future together or not. He was unhappy at his job and decided he would give notice and move to Boulder, and we would live apart while we figured out our next move. Those early days were tough, but we both had a feeling that we belonged together and were able to navigate the rough waters until we finally decided to move in together and get married. In freefall, of course. (That link takes you to a post I wrote for our silver anniversary and shows us in freefall.)

And today is SG's eightieth birthday. We were born in the same year, he at the beginning and me at the end nine months later, so he is testing the water of the ninth decade of life, and I will hopefully join him in December. We have shared so many laughs and tears over these thirty years together, and we will share our future years, months, or weeks together as well. No one knows what the future holds, but the one thing I do know is that we will face it together.

We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness and call it love: true love. —Robert Fulghum

I don't know how much longer we have on earth, but I do know that we will be together until the end of our days, supporting each other through whatever comes next. Who could ask for anything better?

* * * 

And before I leave today, I must spend a moment honoring the brave citizens of Ukraine, who fight for their right to live free, something that I take for granted. I woke this morning with my first thought to check the news, to see if Kyiv still stands and has not yet been occupied. (It does, for the moment at least.) The forces aligned against that country are massive, but they are determined and have done nothing but defend their sovereign right to govern themselves. I stand in solidarity with Ukraine.

May the Ukrainian flag fly forever

And with that, dear friends, I leave you and begin my day with my dear partner, enjoying our connection, as I also enjoy my virtual connection with you, dear virtual family. Be well until we meet again next week.


Marie Smith said...

Happy birthday to your beloved! A milestone for sure and having one to share it with is priceless!

John's Island said...

What a wonderful post. Happy Birthday to SG and may you two have a wonderful day!

Rian said...

Wishing a very Happy Birthday to SG! Yes, compatible weirdness works! And the 9 months apart may be magical. DH and I are 9 days apart... and it's worked well for 54 years. 80 is a wonderful milestone!

Linda Reeder said...

DJan, thank you for this post. I always want to know more about the people in my life, and you, and therefore SG, are are important people in my life. Your story is a beautiful one.
I mourn for the people of Ukraine. They will suffer much before this war is over. It will be hard to watch, but oh, so hard for them to live, and die, through.

ApacheDug said...

Happy Birthday SG, that's wonderful how you two met over a unique shared interest. Doing it in the early days of the internet was pretty progressive too, I remember back in the '90s our CEO was telling us how we'd soon be shopping and finding partners through the internet and nobody really took him seriously. Why didn't we! The situation in Ukraine is plain frightening. The older I get, the less I know this world it seems.

Arkansas Patti said...

Happy Birthday SG. Love this story and especially your adventurous spirits to pioneer on line dating. Love and understand the idea of compatible weirdness for aren't we all at least a little weird? Keep those happy years piling up.
I am sickened for the Ukraine people's suffering. Almost hate the media coverage which makes sure we know every detail I but don't dare look away.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Happy Birthday to your Smart Guy! I hope you have special things planned all week! So happy you found each other!!
I don't listen to the news much but it seems Ukraine needs some help and all free countries better help them or they will be next. :( :(

Gigi said...

The happiest of birthday's to SG! I know you will spoil him rotten.

The Ukraine situation is just so awful. I've been seeing updates on Twitter and am heartened to see so many countries offering aid.

Have a wonderful week.

Red said...

That was kind of a rocky start. However, you were for each other and have proved it. Happy birthday to Far Guy. I hope he has a great day.

Galen Pearl said...

What a sweet love story. Thank you for sharing it.

Betsy said...

Happy Birthday to your Hubby. I'm glad everything worked out well for you. And it definitely sounds as if it has.
I feel the same as you do about Ukraine. This is such a sad situation. I stand with them too and I'm praying constantly for them

Anvilcloud said...

If I were to be clacking away new to Sue, it would not be appreciated. We would be in our own free fall, so to speak. Have a good week.

gigi-hawaii said...

Happy birthday to your hubby! Best wishes and love from Hawaii!

William Kendall said...

Happy birthday to him.

Glenda Beall said...

Celebrate your dear man and I hope he has many, many more happy birthdays. I love your love story. Yes, cherish every minute you have together.

Rita said...

Happy birthday to your sweetheart...and after all this time he is still your sweetheart. :) :)
I stand with Ukraine, too. Prayers.

Mary said...

You are very fortunate to have met such a wonderful and perfectly suited man for you. Many never do. I envy you, but I’m happy for you both.
And yes support for Ukraine is a moral necessity for all humans against the bullies of the world. It saddens me to think there is a group of people in our country who support Putin in this.

Penny said...

What a lovely story. Having learned of this partnership close to its origins, my heart is warmed as I read through the synopsis of the past thirty years. When your partner told me this internet relationship was serious enough he would be returning to Boulder to see what happens, I thought it most natural that he would meet someone on the internet rather than in the flesh.
At that time, I was also beginning a life partnership. One month ago I received an anniversary card from my guy with wording with which you can relate: "what are the odds?"
Congratulations to you both.

Friko said...

My beloved and I had a similar story, bar the skydiving of course. He was older than me hence my life without him now.
I hope both of you have many more happy and content years ahead of you. Make the most of every minute you are granted.