My last post about my husband prompted some to say that Dan was “perfect” and we had a “perfect” life. While my ‘love goggles’ are firmly stuck in the on position, I want to be clear that Dan- and especially his wife- are very human….very far from perfection. I don’t think there is a perfect person or a perfect life out there…but I do think there can be the perfect person for you. To me, a real relationship in which both people are dedicated to each other and to making the partnership work is much more fulfilling than some supposedly perfect fictitious romance.
When Dan and I got together, we had both been broken by difficult past marriages and were working on ourselves, creating new lives on our own. I had hit rock bottom, and was trying to figure out who I was and who I wanted to be after the tumultuous end of an over fifteen year marriage. I knew when I first met Dan that he was why I came to Birmingham, and I knew that I would marry him. Thankfully, he felt the same. We were engaged about two weeks after we met, and married a year later on the Summer Solstice. We’ve now been together for almost twelve years, and I can honestly say it has gotten better and better every year as we have both encouraged the other to become our best selves and to pursue our goals and dreams.
Has it been blissful? Yes. Have there been challenging times? Oh, yes. Together we have faced the death of my oldest brother and sister, both of our mothers, and some dear friends. We went through Dan being laid off from a cherished position where he had been chosen Outstanding Employee of the Year out of 18,000 employees at UAB. We’ve faced scary financial times, broken ankles, knee surgery, shoulder surgery, illness, long work hours, and a brand new job for Dan. We’ve lost four deeply loved pets, and have dealt with the normal aggravations that come from living and working in a city, and from dealing with family dramas. All to say, we have faced life together, with all its joy and sadness, and challenge.
I wouldn’t change any of it, not the hard things we went through before we met, or the hardships we have experienced since we’ve been together. We both know what we want- and what we don’t want, and realize that by some miracle we found our other half in each other. We are best friends, and when issues arise, we talk them out. He is a perfectionist and gets stressed out when things are hectic at work. I am also a perfectionist and get stressed out around major performances. We are both introverts who need lots of quiet time to recharge, and so we’ve created our own oasis in the city to come home to and do just that. From the very beginning, it was almost eerie to discover how many things we had in common, from spirituality, to favorite foods, to goals and dreams. We each do our best to put the other first, and we are each other’s biggest cheerleader.
People tease us for being so in love after all this time, but I will never apologize for that. I know what a gift we have, and we work very hard to make our lives happy….the thing is, though, that it doesn’t feel like work. It’s just what we enjoy doing. I’m thankful that we balance each other out with enough differences to keep some spice in our relationship. We each have strengths that mesh with the other’s- he cooks, I clean. I do a lot of yard work, he fixes everything that breaks. As most musicians are, I am very tunnel visioned, where Dan sees the big picture and the solutions. We naturally fell into our roles…there never was any “you do this and I’ll do that” or “you pay for this and I’ll pay for that”. It is a totally devoted partnership in which we are equals, each doing our best for the other. When you take away that rigidity, there is a true sense of trust and freedom. That may not work for every couple, and that’s okay – we’ve found what works for us.
We have made our own fairytale- because we choose to be happy, to see the good and know it is worth fighting for. We find great joy in living our lives together, and don’t ever take it for granted, fitting lots of laughter and goofiness into the mix. There are wonderful twists and turns along the way, and challenge around every corner. It is life- and it is perfect- perfect for us, that is. All I know is that I wake up in gratitude every morning to see his sweet face on the pillow next to mine. That is fairytale enough for me.