I was up very, very early on the morning of May 31, 2007, because Cedar Point was doing its delayed opening of Maverick, and wanted some media attention before the park opened. I was single at the time, but for the first time in my life, a confident dater. I finally felt good about myself, and didn't hesitate to skip on women who didn't seem like a good fit.
But that night, I dragged my tired ass out to a little bar called the Ice House on Brookpark Rd., where various employees of Key were known to drop in. There I met Diana for the first time. We had been corresponding for a few months via eHarmony while she was in Florida, caring for her mom, who died just before we met.
At this point, I only knew that she seemed honest about her intentions, she was a redhead (hot, always had a thing), and she was very independent in terms of house, career and such. Put another way, she didn't seem to have any serious issues beyond a cat problem. After meeting her, I was impressed with her independence, her travel and the totally dorky explanation she gave about rehearsing cues for one of the shows she stage managed. She was kind of a nerd about some things, like me.
I've told that story before, but after five years, what's most remarkable is how things just keep getting better. In a relatively short amount of time, we've had a whole lot of adventures, and I suspect the best adventures are yet to come. In five years, she's lived in four places, we've moved cross-country twice, we had a child and our roles have changed dramatically. Objectively, it has been a pretty intense few years, and I credit the strength of our relationship for making a relatively difficult time pretty painless.
It's not always puppies and rainbows of course, but where we do have issues, we generally know what they are. For example, we're not very good about asking each other for help. I've got the suck it up and be the breadwinner mentality, she's got the suck it up and be the mom mentality. But we try to check in and look out for each other, to avoid any kind of building resentment over things left unspoken.
We have so many funny stories. On our third date, at Cedar Point, some Web site stalker kid wouldn't leave me alone in a queue. One time, Diana's neighbor came banging on her front door, worried that he heard screaming coming from the house. (He did... you figure it out.) There was a night at Universal Orlando where we "enjoyed" the hotel club level "cocktail reception" and ended up pushing Diana around in a rental stroller. We went through a prolonged Big Lebowski quote phase.
Then we had Simon. I'll be honest, I wasn't sure if I wanted a child after my divorce. But after a week of "shopping" for children at Disney World, it became obvious that we wanted to go for it. If our equipment couldn't do it, we were perfectly happy to adopt. But our junk worked, and Simon was born less than three years after we met. It changed everything, but it also stayed the same, if that makes sense.
As much as I advise people be really, really sure before they get married, lest they become a statistic like me, I would multiply that advice times a thousand when it comes to procreating. It's the hardest fucking thing you'll ever do, and if you don't have as close to the ideal partner to do it, the consequences will be dire for you and your offspring. To that extent, Diana has been a true partner in parenting, and honestly taking most of the responsibility because she's alone with him half of his waking hours.
What really makes me smile is that every day, she's better than what I expected. Even if she weren't my wife, Diana would still be one of the best human beings I know. She's sweet, kind and kickass. She makes me twirly as ever. She's RedDelicious109, a gardener, a knitter, a union stage manager, a mom, a wife, and everything else. I'll never take for granted how lucky I am.