February 15, 2011


This is Tree Guy and me.  He maintains that we first met in college at a Habitat for Humanity-like volunteer event.  I don't remember meeting him, as I was focused on the poor dog who was living in a fenced-in mud pit behind the house we were fixing up.  My recollection of our first meeting is when a mutual friend (and fellow gerontology student) brought Tree Guy to my 21st birthday party.  I did my drink-a-wine-cooler-with-no-hands trick.  He must've been impressed.  With that illustrious beginning, you'd expect an exciting and passionate courtship.  But really, he had me at, "I brought you some sassafras tea and apple dump cake."

I'd been suffering from strep throat, a common malady among college students with questionable hygiene practices.  (I seriously don't remember ever cleaning our dorm bathroom.  Ever.)  Tree Guy came over with some sassafras tea that he'd made (from sassafras roots he found in the woods, y'all) and cake that his roommate's girlfriend had made.  I think I might have swooned, though that was probably due to the fever.

The thing that sealed the deal was when Tree Guy offered to be my brother.  I'd lost my only brother to suicide two years before, and I commented to Tree Guy that I envied him his two brothers.  That's when he said it.  And that's when I fell in love.  With his kindness and decency.  I hadn't had much experience with those traits in boyfriends past.  And I think I took Tree Guy totally by surprise.

This was taken during our trip to Colorado in 1996.

Tree Guy was a forestry major and his life plan involved living (alone) in a van down by the river cabin in the mountains, working as a wilderness guide or a forest ranger.  I don't think he'd considered the possibility that he might someday get married and have a family.  Once we started dating, he benevolently changed his plan to four or five years of working in the mountains and then marriage and all the accoutrements.  But pushy persistent girl that I am, I somehow got him to agree to a year-long engagement.  It turns out, those cabin-in-the-woods jobs aren't so easy to come by--not if you want to actually get paid, that is.  (Apparently there are plenty of college students who will do the job for just a place to lay a sleeping bag and a fire to sing Kumbaya by.)  This was unfortunate for Tree Guy, but fortunate for me ('cause I'm straight out the suburbs, yo.) 

We've been married for nearly fourteen years, and at the risk of gagging you, it really gets better each year.  If Tree Guy had a theme song, it'd be Whatta Man by Salt 'N' Pepa, featuring what was probably my favorite group from the '90s, En Vogue.  (Okay, maybe I'm not straight out the suburbs...)

I'm a lucky girl.  And I award myself a piece of chocolate (seriously, eating a piece of chocolate here) for choosing such an awesome babydaddy.  Here's what awaited me when I got home (from a romantic day of Remicade, an appointment at the urgent care clinic, and grocery shopping for my grandma) on Valentine's Day.