FOUR Better or Worse

This week Dave and I are celebrating four years of blissful matrimony.

Four years of: "You don't have to talk so loud... I'm standing right here."

Four years of: "Speak up, I can't hear a word you're saying!!"

I'll let you decide which quote belongs to whom.

Four years of quibbling over toothpaste (whether or not the tube is truly empty) and the proper way to load a dishwasher ("Cereal bowls go up here, like this... hellooo!"). Four years of discussing how many lights need to be on at any given time. (Dave says one light at the most, and only if it's absolutely necessary... which, incidentally, is also up for debate.)

Not to mention four years of what I affectionately call GlobalTHERMOSTATnuclear War. I've been working on a post about this on and off for months, and very soon I'll be hitting you between the eyes with our ongoing... uh, heated... exchange about the temperature in our home. (And after you read it, you'll be amazed that we've stayed married this long.)

For four years we've been meeting in the middle about money (Frugal McDougal married Spendy Wendy)... supporting one another's career paths (long hours and weird schedules)... and above all, chaperoning our kid from childhood into adolescence, which is a constant tag-teaming effort to ensure that he comes out on the other side a normal, happy human being and not a sociopath.

Through all of this, Dave holds down the fort and lifts up my spirits. He's smart as hell and wickedly funny, though most people don't know that about him. He listens and listens and listens AND LISTENS to all my boisterous blathering—and then, when he finally gets a word in edgewise, he's always diplomatic (whether or not I deserve it), and he always says what I need to hear (whether or not I like it).

He supports everything I do—especially my writing—but he hates being the center of attention... which means he's reading this and can't decide whether he's moved or mortified. (My money's on mortified.) He's the most patient person I know... and he never, ever expects me to be anyone other than exactly who I am. To paraphase the song by Blessid Union of Souls: He loves me for me.

This is where I should post one of our wedding pictures—but I can't bring myself to do it because, while Dave looks dashing and handsome, I look like Shamu in a beaded jacket. So instead, here are a few pictures of my groom about 40 years before we fell in love:

 Seriously, those rubber pants are HOT...

Look at that face and tell me that's not Dave... he looks exactly the same!

Sorry, hon... I couldn't resist.

Four years ago we said I do... and even though he unplugs my space heater 10 times a day, I still do.

Love you, hon.


Just BROWsing

Last night before bedtime, Tyler—peering critically at my face—wrinkled his nose and said:

"Mom... you have gray hairs in your eyebrows."

Daily reminder from a Teenager that I am the Aging Mother of a Teenager: Check.

Because I'm so mature, I reply:

"At least I have TWO eyebrows... unlike some people in this room." We're the only humans around for miles.

"Whattaya mean?" he protests. "I have two eyebrows!"

Actually, he's right. No son of mine would leave the house rockin' a uni, especially considering the epic (harrowing? cautionary?) tale of my own eyebrows.

Oh, the stories I could tell. The hours I spent sitting on the floor in front of my mother, who had three different pairs of tweezers and the intensity of a renegade paratrooper... the pictures of me in college when I rebelled and refused to pluck them for two solid years.


Anyway, T's brows are indeed still plural—but lately I have noticed a general increase in their volume. Based on personal experience, my instinct was to think "growing together." But that's not the case at all.

Now it's my turn to peer at him, wrinkle my nose, and say:

"Wow... actually, Ty, your eyebrows are getting pretty... uh... tall."

And it's true—those eyebrows are gaining some serious altitude on that forehead of his. In fact, upon closer inspection it would be more accurate to use the term "bushy-to-the-point-of-resembling-fur"—but I love my kid to pieces, and Lord knows adolescence is hard enough without your mother sucker-punching you in the Self Esteem. So I stick with tall. (And pray, daily and fervently, that he never never EVER reads my blog.)

"Did you know your eyebrows had gotten that... tall?"

"Yeah, I guess. I don't know. Did you know your eyebrows had so many gray hairs?"

Silly boy. "Oh, yeah. I color over them every day with an eyebrow pencil."

"You do?"

"Yep." Glancing at his forehead, I add: "I'm an expert at eyebrows. I can fix any problem that has to do with eyebrows."

We both stand there. I'm half hoping he takes me up on my offer. He doesn't.

I want to push the issue... I want to thin those suckers out right there on the spot... but while I know exactly what to do with bushy eyebrows on a 13-year-old girl (thank you, Renegade Paratrooper), I'm not sure the same protocol applies to a 13-year-old boy. So I drop it.

And then I finish shaving his upper lip with the electric razor—which is what we've been doing the whole time.

"There ya go, bud. You're all set."

Once a week he asks me to shave his moustache (don't get me started)... because he's not ready to do it himself. I'm happy to oblige, because I know it's one of the few "Mom-I-need-you" things left between us. And because I know it won't last much longer.

And because I know those things, I'd never ruin a perfectly good shave (moment) with talk of tall eyebrows.

"Thanks, Mom... you did a good job."

I sure hope so.