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FTIAT: A Moment of Clarity

Byron MacLymont (The Byronic Man) has a gift for making people laugh. I base this not only on an official survey of millions–specifically, myself and my S.O., Ba.D.–but also other peoples’ comments on his blog.

As if inspiring laughter weren’t enough, Byron i’s also a brain surgeon, a former Olympic kick-boxer and bench-presser-of-adult-bulls. He modestly claims in his bio that he can bench-press only one, but I see right through this artifice, mostly because he bestowed upon his subscribers the gift of seeing through artifice.

Sadly, his other superpowers are non-transerable.

Byron’s greatest power of all is his ability to take time out from his busy schedule of crime-fighting and penning Cyrano de Bergerac to share beautiful, heartfelt truths in ways that fill a reader’s eyes with tears and heart with wonder. Like most awesome superpowers, this is one best used sparingly to emphasize just how powerful it is, and Byron uses it accordingly.

I am honored he has chosen, this time, to use it at TMiYC.

Recommended post: Life: The Yelp Reviews

A Moment of Clarity

Yesterday, October 27th, was my 10-year wedding anniversary.  It’s a little difficult to even comprehend that that is true.  In part because it doesn’t seem possible that it’s been 10 whole years, in part because it doesn’t seem possible that there was a time before her, and in part because nothing – I mean nothing – in my previous track record suggests that this would be a possibility.

The longest relationship I had before this one was six months.  I had several that lasted six months, but they all ended at that point, like clockwork.  I won’t go so far to say that I am totally responsible for the end of all of them, but I wouldn’t scoff or get immediately indignant at the suggestion, either.  I didn’t know much, but I knew I liked being the white knight; being adored.  I also, like many young men, loved the chase.  I also think that I was so unsure of who I was that I kind of panicked when someone was getting to know the actual me, instead of the version of me I tried to put forward.  The guy underneath the glistening armor, if you’ll pardon the hackneyed metaphor.  Whatever the impetus, it involved either bad choices, or choices handled badly.

When I met her I was in a time of transition, so maybe I was open to different things, but the fact is that she was really unlike anyone I’d dated before.  Unlike the people I’d pursued.  Yet I was immediately and totally drawn to her, like a magnet.  Something inside was ferociously saying HER.  THIS ONE.  I remember talking to my parents and saying that it seemed as if I was walking along and had come upon a large pile of gems and jewels, and I had to hurry and find a way to scoop them up, because surely someone was going to beat me to it.

I had always been very clear that I would never marry someone unless we’d dated for a year.  That I’d be very rational about something like that.  Within a week I knew this was it.  Within 3 months we were engaged.  Almost exactly a year after meeting we got married… so I guess, technically, we dated for a year before getting married.  But I don’t kid myself that it was rational and stoically planned.

She continues to be unlike anyone I’ve known.  She pushes me, challenges me, complements my weaknesses.

Marriage is everything they say it is, and nothing they say it is.  Marriage is about hardships I couldn’t have imagined, couldn’t believe we’d have the strength to face.  Sometimes I’ll joke with her about “the things they don’t tell you in the marital vows,” and you’ve sure never been mad until you’ve been mad at someone you love, but the fact remains that I am a more complete, stronger person than I ever was before I met her, or could have become without her.  I’ve also had more fun since meeting her than I ever had before that. Gone on more adventures.  Taken more risks.

It would be easy to say that I am thankful for her, and I am, but when Deborah asked me to write up a “for this I am thankful” what came to mind was whatever it was in the air, in my brain, whatever, that made me see she was the one to pursue.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, in my history suggested that I would make a smart relationship choice when the time came, but somehow I did.  I don’t know why, I don’t what in me clicked, but for that moment, that instant, I am thankful and mystified.

It would also be simple to say I’m thankful for that moment when we’re curled up watching a movie, or when she comes up with some impossible adventure to go on and makes it happen.  Because it’s easy to be thankful during the good parts.  But marriage isn’t just about the good parts – it’s about all of it.  All of yourself, all of your partner.

And so while I am thankful during these easy times, I’m also thankful when she insists we do the grocery shopping even though I’m exhausted.

When I’ve just screwed something up, and she can’t wait even a couple hours to tell me what I could have done differently, I’m thankful then.

When I say I’m sorry and she replies, “No, you’re not.  If you were sorry, you wouldn’t have done it in the first place,” somewhere deep down, I’m thankful.

When she looks at the back of my head and says, “Hey, your hair is thinning” for no other reason than because she knows it’ll make me crazy with paranoia, I’m still thankful.

When I’m mad and fed up and think, Oh, screw this, life was easier when I was on my own, I’m thankful.

When she insists that she needs, needs, another dog, or cat, or a pig, or God knows what else, I’m thankful.

When I just can’t believe how complicated everything has to be all the time, I’m thankful.

When I ask if she’s ready to go, and she says yes despite the fact that she is very definitely not ready, and I’m going to be late for work, again… I’m thankful.

I’m thankful when she wants to pester me and draw on my arms when I just really, really want to go to sleep.

I’m thankful, even now, knowing she’ll read this and use it as ammunition to pester me even when I’m telling her to knock it off.

When I’m so mad I can’t even speak, there is that part of me that is thankful.

Basic ideas of cause & effect suggest that that moment, that transformation, should not have happened.  It was an anomaly, an unpredictable occurrence.  Yet, it did happen.  And 10 years later here we are, and we still love each other, still have fun together, still face challenges together.  And for the spark that made me see in her what could be, and what I could be with her, I am truly, deeply, thankful.

last : What I Didn’t Realize | Seven Days (11/4/11) : next

  1. October 28, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Well, now you’ve made me all teary-eyed! This is so sweet and honest. Your wife is a very lucky woman and you are very lucky to have found her! :) Lovely post!

    • October 28, 2011 at 8:09 am

      She is lucky, isn’t she?

      I kid, I kid.

      Thanks for saying so.

  2. October 28, 2011 at 5:57 am

    “And for the spark that made me see in her what could be,” Those ineffable moments are the times of hope, promise and an excitement that stirs within us. You have captured what makes us alive, where we can find inspiration. Relationships are worth living for and the infinite connections are just around the corner to be discovered and delight in. Congratulations on ten years. They say a tenth anniversary merits a gift made of tin; more contemporary guidelines recommend diamond. I would say both would represent the years you celebrate. The gift of flexibility and malleability, and the other that sparkles with time. I sincerely enjoyed reading this

    • October 28, 2011 at 7:32 am

      I know, tin, right? Tin? I suppose you’re right about the meaning, but it doesn’t exactly *sing* when you first say it.

      Thanks for the comment.

  3. October 28, 2011 at 6:01 am

    Byron, this post really moved me to tears. I can clearly see that you two will spend a lifetime of being grateful for each other. I felt like I was reading about my own marriage–when we first met (on a blind date!) I “knew” he was the one. We got engaged within a few months and everyone thought we were crazy and it wouldn’t last. Well, almost 12 years later we are still going strong. Happy anniversary to you and your wife!

    • October 28, 2011 at 8:08 am

      That “knowing” is weird, isn’t it? It’s a very distinct feeling, different from attraction or lust (though I’m sure there’s no shortage of people experiencing lust and hoping it’s “knowing”).

  4. October 28, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. M. I liked your post for many reasons, not least of which was the fact that you mentioned you were thankful for the ‘non-good parts’. Just as it is easy to skip through life with a smile when things are going your way, it is easy to love your partner when everything is coming up roses. In my opinion, what makes a marriage is sticking with it when the roses have dried and the thorns are exposed. Making it through the winter – making it through the challenges – making it through to spring… this is marriage.
    Again, congratulations. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Thanks, Deb, for inviting Byron to participate in FTIAT.

  5. October 28, 2011 at 8:55 am

    So nice. I’m thankful that my husband is thankful in all of those same ways!

  6. October 28, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Beautiful! It’s funny how we know when we find the one! I bet your wife is very thankful to have such a wonderful man to love!

  7. October 28, 2011 at 10:28 am

    I have found its easy to find friends/ people to “get along with”, have fun with, who can say what we want to hear. It’s the one or two who aren’t afraid to call us on our b.s. that are truly worth holding on to and needed in our lives. You both are so fortunate to have each other!

    • October 28, 2011 at 11:08 am

      True… although I might disagree in those moments when my BS is actually getting called…

  8. October 28, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Well, I’m so thankful for reading a post written by a man who can express his gratitude and emotions towards his wife so clearly and with obvious adoration. In our society, 10 years with one person is something to certainly be proud of and treasure. Congratulations! :-)

  9. October 28, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I love stuff that makes me cry because it’s happy (or maybe I just love crying). We all have “bad choices, or choices handled badly” don’t we? This is just such beautifully illustrated hope that we can be loved the way we are because we are “HER (or HIM).” :)

  10. October 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Marriage is the great Undiscovered Country, isn’t it?
    Great post, Deborah!

    • October 28, 2011 at 12:23 pm

      I would love to take credit for it, but I do not know the joys of marriage!

      I can take credit for the opener, that being said. ;)

  11. October 28, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    So beautiful!! Congratulations on the anniversary, and for “knowing”. What I really loved is that part “…When she insists that she needs, needs, another dog, or cat, or a pig, or God knows what else, I’m thankful..” Nothing says love like wading through a passel of animals to get to the one you love.

  12. October 28, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Well done! How much did the Missus pay you to write this? Are we talking per word or a flat fee? If it was less than a million, you need a new agent. ;-)

    Whatever…nicely written there Mr. Bryonic Man.

    Blogdramedy *sniff*

    • October 28, 2011 at 4:23 pm

      Oh, no payment needed. It’s totally worth it to be able to direct her to the comments and say, “Look how nice and thoughtful everyone thinks I am. Aren’t I wonderful? Don’t you appreciate me, and think we should buy me cool things?”

  13. John Erickson
    October 28, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Byron, if we could figure out that “this is the one” trigger, we could make a mint selling books about it! How I could know that a lady I met briefly, while in full-blooded pursuit of a lady that I had flown halfway across the country twice to see, still bewilders me to this day. But it’ll be 20 years of marriage next September, 23 years this past June since we met, and I never doubted “she IS the one” once.
    See? Even us first-class chumps get lucky once in a while! ;) :D

    • October 28, 2011 at 7:24 pm

      Potential book titles: “Stop being an idiot and pay attention!” or maybe “Is it comfortable and familiar? Then probably not it”

  14. October 28, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    What an absolutely stunning post. Wish I could say more, but I can hardly see my phone to type this for the tears.
    kathy

  15. October 28, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Byron:

    This is it, right? The being grateful during the yuckiest parts. That’s how we know we’ve got it good.

    Like when I have to clean up your child’s barf in the middle of the night. And by “I” I mean my husband. Because I can’t do puke.

    So I’m especially grateful then at the ways we complement each other.

    Thank you for the reminder.

    I think I’ll go bug him a little. Just to remind him to be grateful. ;-)

    But you know what I mean, right?

    • October 28, 2011 at 7:25 pm

      My wife won’t do kitty litter. 10 years, no kitty litter. I go out of town, she “forgets.” Barf she can do with a few hours notice.

      And yes, I definitely know what you mean.

  16. October 29, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Byron, thanks a lot. I read this yesterday at a time I couldn’t comment, and I got all farklempt! This was wonderful. It makes me so happy to hear about couples like you and your wife – proof that some people are just meant to be. That moment ‘shouldn’t’ have happened, but I think there’s something about that that makes it even more right.

    P.S. – Beware. It’s my turn to make you cry.

  17. October 29, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    I’m a hopeless romantic at heart, so reading this made me go “awwwww” for an unbelievably long time. I’m no where close to the point in my life where I can say that I’m thankful for my SO, but I hope that one day I will be.

  18. October 29, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    I am going to share this with others. =)

  19. October 31, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Happy Anniversary and I am thankful to read this lovely ode to your beloved wife. :-)

  20. November 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    I was glad to read this and see once more that love happens, can enrich a person’s life, and can endure when it’s the foundation that keeps all the other things from aggravating, or hurting. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  1. October 28, 2011 at 7:43 am
  2. October 28, 2011 at 11:22 am
  3. January 10, 2012 at 6:37 am
  4. February 16, 2012 at 6:52 am
  5. November 30, 2012 at 6:17 am

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