It was 17 degrees out. It was once again blowing snow and the sky hung above us with an angry gray color. We were dressed warmly head to toe, the Husband and I, and we had a long day of work in our yard ahead of us. It was my idea to have the trees cleaned up in this winter dread and my idea to do our own yard clean up instead of paying the guy to do it. This horrible morning was supposed to turn to blue skies and 50 degrees, which it would but in the start of that morning it didn’t feel that way.
We lined our trucks up next to one another and the Husband started the chainsaw while I started loading my truck bed with limbs. My hands were already frozen but he wasn’t going to let me leave him to it alone, we didn’t work that way. We got into a groove, cutting and loading, trying not to slip on the ice patches in the driveway or on the side of the house, minding the dog underfoot. We hauled to the dump, unloaded and retraced our tracks back home. Over and over again and mostly in silence.
It was well past noon and we hadn’t eaten anything. I stopped to give my back a break and shake some life into my tired arms. I realized the sun had in fact come out and I was actually sweating. I stripped off a few layers and looked over at my Husband. For some reason I really noticed him. I saw the guy sitting across from me at our first date discussing his recent deployment to Iraq. We sat with such manners lost in conversation for three hours that night but what we didn’t discuss was how we would spend a Saturday three years from then in the cold. That man took a few dates to hug me and more to kiss me for the first time. This Saturday he rolled his eyes because I struggled with unloading my truck as fast as him so he came over to help and gave me a quick peck on the cheek as he jumped in my truck.
I remember the first time I jumped into that truck of his on our second date and found a box of cigarettes in the center console. He quit smoking a week later when I told him there was no way I could date him if he kept it up. On this Saturday he accidentally backed that truck into a tree and busted his tail light and bumper up. This time I kept my mouth shut and let him cuss and rant. We didn’t know three years later how many bumps and bruises that truck of his would get. And I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut a bit more.
By the end of the day we were covered in mud, leaves, snow and sweat. We hosed off our pickups and sat on our truck beds facing each other trying to decide on how much energy we had to go out for dinner. All those late nights on the phone when we first met didn’t cover who would wipe the dog shit off the floor mats before going inside to shower.
When I noticed my Husband that day I was stuck on the man I met just a little over three years ago. The things you don’t talk about when you are on those first dates. All the unknowns of a life and marriage still ahead of you. The man I slowly, hesitantly, fell in love with was working his ass off next to me and somehow over three short years we became this team. I stared at him for a few minutes and realized how much more I love him today than I did the day I married him. Sometimes life gets complicated and we rush through the days but in this day, at the oddest time, I fell in love with my Husband and our marriage even more. I took pause, I slowed down, and let life sink in around me a bit. It wasn’t during a trip, it wasn’t a life changing event, it wasn’t romantic but it was the best feeling of happiness and contentment and for that I am grateful.