by Bill Brenner on March 19, 2011

Erin’s been on a business trip to Arizona for nearly a week and I miss her terribly. She’s due home today, and I can’t wait to see her.

Mood music (This was the song we danced to at our wedding):


I’ve written a lot about her in this blog. The best place to catch up on that is a compilation post I did a few months ago called “How Marriage Saved Me.” To say she saved me is not an exaggeration. She gave me two beautiful sons who remind me every day that this life is not all about me. I still fail to remember that frequently, but this family has without a doubt brought me a lot closer to salvation than I ever could have hoped for without them. She has challenged me to be the best person I can be. She never lets it slide when I act like an ass, and she is THE reason I found God. An old priest friend once said a married couple’s job is to get each other into Heaven, and she’s done more for me on that score than I have in return.

But you’ve heard all that from me before. Right now my thoughts are of the much simpler sort. I’m thinking about some of the adventures we’ve had in our nearly 13 years of marriage.

There was the honeymoon to Ireland. We flew into Dublin, rented a car and traveled all over the country, staying at various bed-and-breakfast places along the way. I was 280 pounds and a ball of anxiety who was always worried about finding trouble around every foreign street corner. But the trip was still a dream, and my quirks didn’t drive her away. We enjoyed some romantic dinners out there, including the night in Wexford when, in a restaurant, a little girl sitting a couple tables over puked all over the floor. As the puddle expanded and the air grew foul, the wait staff just kept delivering food to various tables, stepping over the vomit instead of rushing to clean it up. It was like that sort of thing happened every day. Maybe it did.

We were more amused than horrified. I was, anyway. And the food quality improved by the time we reached the west coast of the country.

We lived in Chelmsford, Mass. for the first two and a half years of our marriage, and it was a blissful time for me. It was a lull period between emotional meltdowns. We both made shit for pay at our respective jobs, but it didn’t seem to matter at that point. She switched jobs during the Chelmsford years and worked at IDC, part of IDG, the company I work for today. I used to drive to her office in Framingham for lunch once a week, never expecting that I would work just a couple buildings away years later.

Parenthood was a huge wake-up for both of us, but she handled it a lot more gracefully than I did. She was not as panicky as I was, including on the first night Sean was home. He screamed that whole night, and I felt like the world around me was going to explode. It got better, and while Duncan’s arrival was stressful in other ways, we had a better idea of what to expect from newborns that time around. I was reminded of all this today when me and the kids went to the hospital to meet their new cousin and my new nephew, Owen. I told my brother-in-law to expect a wild first night at home with Owen, though my first impression is that he’s going to be a much quieter baby than my boys were.

We eventually learned to get away now and then. A favorite getaway spot for us has been in the Franconia Notch region of New Hampshire. Another favorite has been Newport, R.I., which is where we spent our anniversary in 2009. We went to the Newport Folk Festival, where we were introduced to the awesomeness of Gillian Welch, The Avett Brothers and The Decemberists. Not the metal I’m usually drawn to, but music I love all the same. 

For our 10th anniversary we traveled some eight hours north to New Brunswick, Canada. I wanted to see the summer cottage of the Roosevelts at Campobello Island, which is where FDR was in 1921 when he was stricken with polio. It poured the whole time we were there, but we were so happy to just be together, away from it all. A couple years before that, I dragged Erin to Hyde park, N.Y. in the upper Hudson Valley because I wanted to see Springwood, FDR’s home. I’d like to think my affinity for history has rubbed off on her. My love of metal? Not so much.

Last year we had a getaway of a different sort. We put the boys in the car and drove to Washington D.C. for a private tour of the White House West Wing. We returned to the area a couple months later, though that time I was there for work. Both times we got to spend time with Erin’s Cousin Charron and her family in southern Maryland.

All these moments are what makes my life blessed, and Erin is central to it all.

I’ve said before that marriage is work, and that’s true. There are times when we get on each others’ nerves or cross the line (me much more than her). But you know what? It’s worth every second, and I love her more and more each day.

I can’t wait for her to get home.


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