As a stay-at -home mom the first time around with P back in 2005, I was looking for something to do outside my normal routine. At the time, the Philippine Daily Inquirer was running a Valentine’s Day contest and encouraged writers to submit their stories. I sent this in – and got published and won.

This is where and how it all began. Since then, J and I have had our church wedding. But that’s material for another post.

I’m told this gets re-posted by other people in their blogs. :)

Dream wedding

First posted 21:36:38 (Mla time) May 03, 2005
Inquirer News Service

I DIDN’T get the dream wedding I wanted. Not even close.

But the reality of my marriage, despite its inauspicious beginnings, is more than what I had ever hoped for. I’m not saying it’s perfect-after all, what is?-but in this life, I could not have asked for a better partner than J to spend the rest of my days with.

Do we disagree and fight? Sure, with just as much fire and passion as the next couple. Does he have annoying little habits I could do better without, and vice versa? Hell, yes. Do we need time off from each other every now and then? You bet.

But to lose him completely would be like dying, and I cannot imagine a life on this earth without him by my side.

My husband and I were wed in City Hall one sweltering August morning, in a ceremony that lasted perhaps 20 minutes, including the picture-taking at the end. I didn’t have the proverbial white dress on, mostly because none would fit, and partly because it would’ve been an exercise in futility. After all, it was pointless to be virginal. I was seven months along and as large as a hippo. There was no aisle to march on, no soft string music in the background, just close family members and friends present.

My husband, bless his Soul, had arranged everything for our wedding, including our reception, the wedding cake, even my bouquet. I had been uncomfortably infanticipating (it was a difficult pregnancy, with a few miscarriage scares and the specter of pre-eclampsia looming over my already precarious condition). So, with no other recourse to take, Jtook it upon himself to organize everything for our special day, with very little help from his bride-to-be (I just came up with the invitations list.)

I don’t know how many other grooms would willingly do all this for their betrothed, but J certainly came through for us that day. And has continued doing so ever since.

We had met a scant nine months earlier, although we had both gone to the same university. On the one hand, he was the quintessential privileged bad boy back in his formative years-a regular hell-raiser who drank, smoked and partied throughout much of his academic life, and who, without a doubt and on more than one occasion, broke his mother’s heart and those of a few other unfortunate girls as well. He never did care much for school, though he was obviously smart as a whip, with a keen wit and a sharp tongue to match.

I, on the other hand, was a Catholic schoolgirl, head of the high school choir, a serious A-student who had won much-needed scholarships to two universities and whose favorite subjects included Geometry. In short, I was a high school nerd.

Years in the more liberal atmosphere of college loosened me up a bit, and corporate life even more. By the time I met my husband, I was freewheeling through the universe, getting into all sorts of fixes and quickly tiring of looking for love in all the wrong places.

Enter my knight in shining armor. He had been one of the many nameless faces in the college crowd, and although I had seen him from time to time (his tambayan was a couple of benches down from mine along a busy school corridor), I never met him. Much later, I was to find out he had had a crush on me all along, dating back to high school when he would attend our concerts just to see and hear me sing.

As fate would have it, I met J years later while seeing someone else-a friend of his, actually, whom I was only too happy to dump in favor of the better man. Our first encounter was not love at first sight, though, or even a vague attraction. I remember thinking to myself that first night, “I am never going to get together with this guy,” mostly because I found him arrogant, and because I didn’t like what he was wearing.

Well. I still have my foot in my mouth, and it looks like it’s there to stay.

Birthday bash

Having said that, I’m not sure what made me agree to see him again, but I met up with him at a birthday bash for one of his friends at the Hard Rock Caf‚. J was attentive and sweet in a most non-overt fashion, asking after my welfare and (secretly) keeping count of the number of beers I’d had, firmly refusing offers of more rounds because he knew I had to drive myself home.

By the end of the night I felt so comfortable around him I ended up drunkenly pouring out my heart and my troubles into his sympathetic ear. Now, any other guy would’ve taken advantage of such obvious vulnerability. Instead, J took me to one of his favorite spots, a hole-in-the-wall eatery somewhere in Makati where he ordered me a hearty, delicious breakfast (it was 4 a.m.) and offered to convoy me home (I refused.)

All the while we talked, and listened, and talked some more.

After that, we were inseparable. He would pick me up from work every single day and take me all the way home to Paranaque (he lived in San Juan). Once, when I mentioned I was hungry during a late night at the office, he brought me a roast chicken dinner he had made himself. Another time I complained of feeling cold, and he appeared at my building with a jacket in hand.

Once we stayed up till 5 a.m. in his garage, talking about everything and nothing, and throughout all that time he never made a move, never a misstep, never an awkward come-on. I increasingly felt heady and high in his presence. Surely I was on the verge of something infinitely tremendous, yet with him I felt a sense of security that had been absent for so long. It felt blessed and new. I had found a refuge. I was home.

Little gestures

It’s been that way all throughout our nearly three years of marriage. There are no extravagant gifts, no ridiculously expensive dinners or trips to other countries. But there are little gestures of love all the more magnified because of my husband’s thoughtfulness and generosity.

My husband faithfully checks our car for water, oil and E-pass load, and then gasses it up every time he knows I’m about to use it. He doesn’t have to-I’m am a big girl and I can take care of it myself-but he does it anyway, because he knows it saves me a lot of time and inconvenience, and just generally makes my life easier.

J has never given me flowers. But, knowing my proclivity towards gardening, he built me a garden, clearing out debris from our front lot himself, uprooting weeds and old bushes, digging up and conditioning the soil and just giving me my own plot of land to play with.

He spoils my daughter and I silly, devotes whatever time he can to our little family despite having to sleep during the day and work all night, and whenever I have a concern or complaint, he genuinely listens, even if reluctantly at first sometimes.

He knows me, and how to handle me, and when to leave me alone and when to draw me closer. Most of the time he admits when he’s wrong, and actually apologizes. He still makes my favorite food, shares in the housework, and indulges my wish to stay home as a full-time mommy.

We may not have tons of money, and there may be several things we need to work on-I look forward to having our church wedding with all the trimmings, for one-but I wouldn’t change anything about our story. I only look forward to creating more of it and, in turn, recounting it to our children, and the children I hope they will have someday.