I wasn’t nervous at all. Well, scratch that. I wasn’t nervous at all about getting married to MJ. I know all the movies show the guy pacing the back room of the church, thinking about only being with one person for the rest of his life and looking for the nearest fire escape as the walls start closing in. But that wasn’t me. That’s never been me.
The only thing I was nervous about was that MJ would wise up at the last minute and not show.
After all, why would she? Why would this woman—this breathtaking, successful, magestic goddess of a woman—marry me? I made no money. I was overweight. And as my friends can readily attest, I’m no picnic to be around. Not to mention MJ and I have known each other since middle school and went to college together. Which means she knew about every skeevy, sketchy and scandalous thing I did in college. Of which there were many.
Yet she agreed to marry me anyways.
I’ve been party to some exhilarating events over the years. When the Patriots won their first Super Bowl in 2002 I felt so happy I thought my head would explode with joy. Then the Red Sox ended an 86-year drought in 2004 and tears of joy streamed down my face while my heart somersaulted with glee.
But nothing, with the exception of Will’s birth, will ever compare to how I felt when I saw her at the end of the church aisle.
It was like being kicked in the gut by a mule, if only that was a good thing. I couldn’t breathe, not because I was nervous, but because I knew at that moment I’d never see any woman anywhere else on this planet as beautiful as she was right then. My best man, Craig, leaned over to me and whispered “See her? She’s all yours.” I remember thinking “Her? She’s going to be my wife??” Like I had just won the lottery or something.
But we didn’t win the lottery, and to say we’ve struggled through the last five years would be an understatement.
MJ was hospitalized briefly a month after we were married. Our first Valentine’s Day was spent watching the snow fall through a window in a darkened corridor of Falmouth Hospital. She would later be diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, something with which she still struggles. We adopted a dog, and then the dog ran away (don’t feel bad Dad, shit happens). We got pregnant, but lost the baby. We got pregnant again, same result. We replaced the dog which was good, but then MJ lost her job which was bad. Then the market crashed and we sunk so far underwater with our condo we’re nose-to-nose with the Titanic.
Basically our lives were like a really horrible country music song.
But then we had Will. Sweet, beautiful Will.
I’m an OK father. Not great, but not terrible. A lot of it comes easy to me, just like school always did. But nothing has ever come easy to MJ, which means she’s had to work, scrape, scratch and claw for everything she has in her life. So when she was hit severely by postpartum depression, I feared the worst. But if I were a smarter man, I’d have known not to ever doubt her.
She beat back PPD and got herself straightened out. Because she’s fucking incredible. And an unbelievable mom. A mom who seems to instinctively know how to treat medical maladies about which I have no clue. A mom who can calmly deal with temper-tantrums when I’m reduced to screaming and bashing my head against the wall. And, if you don’t mind me saying, a mom who is definitely a MILF!
MJ also has a knack for bringing out the best in people. In the people she manages at work, in her friends and definitely in me.
In As Good As It Gets, Jack Nicholson told Helen Hunt “You make me want to be a better man.” I was a mess before MJ. And while I’m still kind of mess, at least now I’m a semi-respectable one. And I owe that to MJ. To the woman who builds up my ego while somehow simultaneously keeping me in check. Who motivates me without being overbearing. Who taught me about taking responsibility as a man and a father, while giving me the necessary space and freedom I occasionally required.
You have no idea how often my friends tell me how in awe they are of MJ, when she has no problem with me going out for a night alone or attending Patriots games every Sunday. I see plenty of wives who throw annoying hissy fits when their husbands want to do things without them, but MJ knows and appreciates we both need time for ourselves. I love her independent spirit and her selfless nature.
I love her. I love her so much.
Her thick, crazy hair that clogs the drain. The fact that she misplaces her keys 19 times a day. Her crazy giggly laugh that turns into an asthmatic fit if it goes on for too long. Or how about her need to have the volume set to an even—NEVER an odd—level on the TV? And I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention she remains the hottest piece of ass I’ve ever laid eyes on!
But the question is, what do you get someone so wonderful for a five-year anniversary present?
I got her jewelry for Christmas so that was out. We went out to a nice meal last weekend. When I did some research, I discovered the traditional 5th anniversary present is—wait for it—wood! Please insert your own joke here. Honestly, I got so stumped and frustrated while thinking of the perfect present I’d thought I’d never find it.
But I did. And wanna know the crazy thing? She got me THE EXACT SAME THING! Great minds and all. So because we had the same thing in mind for each other, now we can enjoy it together. The only problem is it’s on back order.
It’ll arrive around the middle of September!!!