Monday, February 14, 2011

Such Sweet Romance

In honor of St. Valentine's Day, here's John's favorite family story.

Charlie and I were married in August 1986, just a few months into my 17th year. Our choice to marry, despite my young age (he was 26), was made in part because we knew we were meant for each other and in part because we were trying to be "Good Young Christian People" and could no longer keep our hands off each other.

Incidentally, this is back story and not part of what John likes to hear. This bit would have him dramatically dry heaving and claiming we're destroying his innocence. He just likes the hear the water bed part of the tale.

Due to my age and rather tarnished mental health history, my parents were understandably... less than enthusiastic about the idea of Charlie and I getting married. To their credit, they did show loving support, bought my dress and hosted our reception. They were wonderful about everything.

Well, almost everything.

Mum made her feelings very clear on the eve of the big day when she sat me down and reminded me she expected I would finish High School before even considering children. I told her we were planning to wait a couple of years and not to worry. She responded with "I don't think you should even practice."

Mum's futile hope was further driven home when I opened her wedding gift to me. It was a lovely, cream colored, floor length, satin nightgown... complete with longer than necessary sleeves and an almost Elizabethan ruffled lace collar. I'm pretty sure she hoped charlie wouldn't be able to find his way past it.

Now Charlie, in his bachelor years, had decided to celebrate his freedom from a twin bunk bed by purchasing a king-sized free-wave water bed. He outfitted this bed with the finest satin bedding set he could find. Despite occasionally having to chase down pillows like a bar of wet soap, he enjoyed the gently rocking slumber in his silky nest.

About a week into our marriage, I decided, out of respect for Mum's thoughtfulness, to wear the "Nun's Pajamas". I prepared for bed in the master bath while he used the bathroom down the hall. Still in the honeymoon haze of twitterpated fancy, I slid under the covers to await my loving husband.

Okay, this is where John starts to listen...

Charlie came into the room and stopped just past the doorway with an intense look in his eyes. I imagined he was looking at me with the same gaze of new love I felt each time we were in the same room together. I totally missed the twinkle in his eye as he took a great leap from the doorway and cannon balled onto the bed.

In a micro-second, an evening of fairytale romance became slapstick routine as the wave of water rushed at me and launched me up out of the bed and into the wall before my shocked limbs could even begin to flail.

I wasn't hurt, beyond the dashing of my girlish fantasies... and Charlie was appropriately abashed until he was certain I was uninjured... but the next 20 solid minutes were spent glaring at him while he laughed hysterically. The next several hours and even days were punctuated by his sudden giggles and exclamations about the look on my face.

Within days, we had a cotton bed set. If I was going to smother him in his sleep, I wanted a pillowcase I could hold onto.

Happy Valentine's Day.