Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Story of Us


I remember turning 17.  Sort of.  As much as I remember anything.  Which isn't very well.  But for the sake of this post, let's pretend that I do remember some things.

First of all - I know I had a boyfriend.  I remember the big joke in the family when I turned 16 had been something to the effect of "well I guess we'd better watch out for the stream of young men who will now come knocking now that you're allowed to date..." Don't worry, it made me laugh. Sarcasm is our love language.

There was no stream of eligible bachelors.  Or even a threat of a trickle really.  I just wasn't that type.  I think I scared them mostly.

But then six months, one choir trip, and one very important walk around Vancouver on said choir trip later, I had a for-real boyfriend.  And I was 16 and a half...not that I was counting.

So I know for sure that I had a boyfriend when I turned 17.   I liked him a lot.  His name was Josh.  His Dad was my history teacher.  I was his favourite student.  True story...maybe.

That isn't even the seventeen we celebrated this past weekend. But it is kind of all connected.

That was grade 12.

And it was right about this time that Josh went through his Unshorn/Werewolf-before-Werewolves-were-cool-phase. I'm not sharing pictures because I love him too much, but in all of my grad pictures he looks like Grizzly Adams in a suit.  He was rebelling from 10 years of having buzz cuts I think.  I hope all of my kids rebel just like him.  I think my Mom wondered why in the world I was still dating him at this point.  But don't worry Mom, I'll make him remember how I stayed with him in just a few short years!

He was already in university, cause he was like, a whole year older than me, which was kind of cool when he came to visit me at lunch hour in high school.  We were like, soooo serious.  He would break into my locker when I was in class and like, totally leave cute gifts and cards.  I totally was practicing my first name with his last at this point.  True Story. 

I may also have been naming our future babies at that point.  But so was every other girl who had a boyfriend...is this just a high school phenomenon or does it continue thereafter?  I'm asking for a friend.

I started university.  Then, I had to quit university because of complications from a car accident that happened when I was in grade 8. That's the really short version. 

That was hard.  That's also the short version.

But I still had Josh.  And we were sooooo, like totally in love.  I was pretty sure we were meant to be.  I may have even said we were "soul mates".  Actually, I never said that.  I probably made fun of people who said that.  But I did want to spend forever with him, for sure.

Months and months and months, in fact more than 17 months after I graduated, (I'm trying to make it sound like a long time in case anyone younger than 26, or more specifically, Morgan, is reading my blog) we got married, my boyfriend Josh and I.

That was seventeen years ago this past Sunday.  Seventeen.

So we got married.  I was way older than 17.  True story...sort of.

And then he went to school and I worked.

And then he left school and we both worked.

And then he went back to school and I worked.

And then I got pregnant.  And it's fair to say that I made up for the awkward Grizzly Adams phase by doing my best impression of Shamu the Whale.

I wish I was joking.  I have stared down 200 pounds 5 times in my life, give or take 10 pounds...no small feat considering I am just over 5' 4".  It ain't pretty.  But my very smart husband always thought I was beautiful. 

He also wears glasses in order to see clearly.  I'm not sure if these two things are connected.

I have one specific picture of me pregnant with Morgan that I shan't post, (actually there are many pictures from the past 20 years that I won't post for this reason) because I'm certain it would become an internet meme and I just don't want to be remembered in the same category as the Dos Equis Guy and Bad-Luck Brian - or whatever his name is. My sisters can vouch for my enormity.  My husband knows better than to do so.  We just like to pretend it never happened.  Except for the fact that it happened four more times after that.

What an incredible gift a family is. I am quite smitten with all of us, with "Team Loewen" as Josh calls us.  I do think our five kids are our best thing.  And for the record: they don't feel like too many and I know exactly how it happened...mostly, anyway.

In that time Josh graduated from university, started teaching, left teaching, and started his own business. 

I stayed home with our babies.  I sent (some of) them to school.  Then I took them out of school and we started doing school at home.  I did not see that one coming.  But I like it.  Except for when it makes me insane. 

We've moved 9 times.

We've owned 4 houses...not at once.

We've handed in our cool card and now proudly drive a mini-van.

In the past seventeen years there have been moments that we wished would never end. 

There have been moments that we didn't ever think we'd see through to the other side. 

What I want to remember until death separates us is that for every valley we go through, there is a mountaintop that will eventually, one day, come.

In fact I have never found the valleys in life to be where things are hardest for us.  When the crazy, the horrible, the unthinkable happens to us, to people we love around us, when for whatever the reason one or both of our life is in crisis, we're solid.  We've got each other's backs and we know it.   It's usually after the crisis has passed - when we see ourselves heading out of the valley, when we are in that horrible place of being out of the valley, but not yet at the summit, that things have been more difficult.  And every time it surprises me.  I don't expect to feel detached from Josh after a crisis.  I think - look at all we've just been through, why do we feel so far apart right now?

I wonder - because it's not like I can say I know at this point, because there is no stage where you can just coast through a marriage and say you've made it - but I wonder if the falling a part after a crisis is just a sign that  you are good for each other, that you are doing something right.  That you can and will make it through tough things, but that you are still human and eventually you will  need to fall apart a little (or sometimes a lot) and express hurt and try and change and apologize and forgive...it just doesn't happen when you expect it to.

So right now, I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy and mountaintop-y Which given that it's our anniversary, I'd say is totally appropo.  It's fun to say I'm still in love with my highschool sweetheart.  He really is my best friend.  I'd call him my Lover to, but that kind of makes me want to throw up in my mouth when people refer to their spouses that way - to other people.  Unless you say it like Will Ferrell.  Then that's totes ok.   So here's to my Lovahhh, wouldst that we had a hot TUB...

That's what the first seventeen years of marriage (and a few years of dating before that) have taught me so far.  It's hard work. But it is so worth it.  

True Story.


  1. Ahhh Choir camp...the gateway drug to marriage. So glad that these 17 years have been full of love, laughter, friendship, laughter and laughter. ;)

  2. this is an AWESOME post. highly entertaining (as they usually are) and just fantastic to read. happy 17th to you two!


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