18 years ago today, I had my first date with my late husband, Allan. It is mind blowing to me to think it was 18 years ago.....I think about all that has gone on during this time. Sometimes it is seems forever ago, sometimes it seems like all I did was blink my eyes.
18, for those that do not know, is a symbolic number in the Jewish religion. 18 means Chai, which translates to life. Life has gone on since he passed away, as I knew it would. So many people told me that would happen. And, sure enough, it did. Sitting there that night, across the table from him at dinner at Rossini's (which has since gone out of business), I never imagined I'd be sitting here today, with my life being so much different than I anticipated.
We met online, years before JDate showed up, years before it was ok to meet someone online. He had suggested meeting for a drink. I, however, was only 20 years old. I didn't want to remind him of that fact, thinking he wouldn't want to meet. So I suggested dinner, telling him I'd be coming straight from work and wouldn't have had dinner yet. (A girl's gotta eat.) He thought that would be a good idea. I had just gotten a new haircut. (Ick, ick and ick again. I have never again let a hair stylist just have her way with my hair.) It was awful. And I was wearing jeans, a white tshirt and one of those very cool sleeveless denim shirts over it along with platform white gym shoe things. I was rockin' it.
I arrived at Rossini's and waited a good 15 minutes, thinking I had been stood up and was feeling humiliated. I was having a conversation with the hostess and feeling mortified telling her about this when she told me there was a guy sitting in the back waiting for his date. So I went back and sure enough, there he was, eating some grilled calamari and having some wine. Oh, please, go right ahead and start without me. We sat there for hours eating and talking. We were the last ones there that night. We decided we should probably let the wait staff go home. I did not offer to contribute to the bill. I don't believe in a woman offering on a first date if she's been asked out, but that is a whole other blog entry for me to write. ;o) We walked outside and waited for the valet to bring our cars up. I saw he was driving a black Jeep Cherokee Limited and I always loved that car so I was feeling pretty excited. I did not kiss him, hug him or even shake his hand. I thanked him for dinner and got in my car and drove home. Later I realized, that was probably really rude, but he ended up marrying me anyway, so I couldn't have screwed up that badly. I found out from him later that he totally thought I was going to kiss him good night and he was shocked that I didn't. Eh, whatever, like I said, he married me anyway. Must have been the really cool haircut.
We didn't date very long before he proposed and we married. We had 3 sons, as most of you know. As most married couples do at some point, or so I think, you have that discussion; that discussion about what you'd want for the other spouse if you should die. We had that talk. We both told the other we'd want them to marry and find someone good for the kids. (There was also some other details that went with the discussion, lol, but I'll leave that out.) We had that talk because life does go on. There are moments that you think it won't, that you won't be able to survive, that you wish you died too, because in reality, a part of you does die. A part of your life, your heart, goes with that person. However, so much more of you goes on. He gave me the 3 greatest gifts in my life. And, EVERY SINGLE DAY, I see him in all of them. He lives on because of them.
He used to celebrate this anniversary. He was NOT a Valentines Day fan. (again, a whole other blog entry) I remember April 17, 2001. I was home, alone with my two older boys. They were 2 1/2 years old and about 6 weeks old. He was in North Carolina every week for work and was only home on weekends. I was beyond exhausted-like couldn't keep my head up straight exhausted. (I don't do well with no sleep. I become a super crabby bitch, instead of just a crabby bitch.) A delivery came with a really sweet card.They were an arrangement of beautiful tulips, bright, spring colored and simply gorgeous. The flowers symbolized our first date, the life we had built, the hope he'd be done traveling soon and that our life would move forward with him home. Again, life goes on. There will not be a flower delivery today, but the sun is shining. Life has been, and will continue, to move forward with my husband of almost 6 years, my 4 boys and the life we have built. I have found someone who is good to me and amazing to the boys, just as he wanted me to, because, life went on.