1979 is a long time ago. But it feels like yesterday. It was the year I left school and went to University. It was the year I realised how much I enjoyed chemistry. It was the year I left home. It was the year I met my wife.
Even now…today…I can vividly remember that moment I first saw her. Where I was and where she was. What I was doing and what she was doing. How she looked and how I felt.
We started dating and I sent her my first Valentine’s Day Card February 14th, 1980. We graduated together two years later. We were together as she started her career and I started my PhD. And moved together when work took us to the south of England in 1985.
Over the years, my parents would often tell the story that they had no idea if I was going to stay at University let alone graduate. They believe my wife made the difference. I know she did. She did then and she does now.
We have grown up together, held hands together, been a couple together and created a family together. Such an amazing family. We have been places together and done things together. Such amazing places and such amazing things. We have solved problems and had wonderful times. We have laughed together and cried together. We have disagreed and made up. We have made new friends we see often. And kept old friends we see every year or two.
I miss her when I am away. I worry about her when I am not there. I think about her when she is not with me. I am happy when I am with her. She helps me; encourages me; explains things to me. She asks me, challenges me and listens to me. She influences me in everything I do or say. She is the person I always turn to. The one I always trust. She holds my hand and encourages me forward; she holds my hand and slows me down.
We are in a different time and place today than when we first met, but we are together. Both our children are now at university. Both are doing so well…they amaze us, delight us and inspire us. We are so lucky and so proud. And now we are back to being a couple – parents together for sure and for ever…but also a couple again together.
I gave my wife a Valentine’s card today. I looked at them all and chose the one that made me smile. It wasn’t funny so much. It simply said how she makes me feel every time I see her. Whether we have been apart for five days – like we were last week when I was freezing in New Jersey – or five minutes – like we were this morning when I went to get the newspaper. The card didn’t actually say the words I love you…but it absolutely said I love you.
And today and together we look forward. It is important to look back and appreciate where we have come from, everything we have been through, everywhere we have been. But the future is ours.
We had a great day together yesterday – despite pouring rain, howling gales and freezing cold. But today is a sunny, still and freezing cold. Today we will walk together. Today we will finalise our plans for next week. Today we are looking forward and anticipating together. I don’t know what the future will hold for us. But I am excited. Our future will be different…it will be extraordinary.
And we will be together. Always.