A few nights ago, just as we were falling asleep my husband out of the blue asked if I ever had a waterbed. I was just past the twilight stage of pre-sleep where it would have taken a puking child (or dog) or some other unmercy (yes, not a word, and yes, I am keeping it) to get me out of bed, but with that question I sat upright immediately and then turned to face him, imploring that he repeat the question. “Are you serious”? I had to ask once more to be sure.
You see, having a waterbed was kind of an identifying characteristic for me. I equate my childhood with my siblings of course, but also my waterbed. It finally succumbed to slow leaks right about the time I hit puberty (a metaphoric watershed moment perhaps?) after which I was resigned to a fate of mattresses, plain and simple.
The memory wasn’t what stirred me however; it was the giddy realization that there are still stories left to be unearthed between two people who have talked to each other at least once a day, every day, for the past seventeen years. How is that possible? Well, there are two parts to that question I suppose – one it is possible because he has never asked me oh, I don’t know, if I ever painted my legs Navajo orange with oil based paint at a friend’s house and then jumped in her pool assuming the paint would come off before…(Spit balling, here in this “hypothetical”) first getting the paint all over the pool deck. Weird how that hasn’t come up yet, right? The other part, the talking every day part – that happens because no matter what else is going on or where either one of us are at the time or how we have to make it happen, we make it a priority to check in with each other. That doesn’t mean we are always at our best or the conversations are always light, it means we said we would be there for each other and then we did this crazy thing, we showed up. Every day. No matter how we were feeling or what else was going on or how much kindness we could spare. And I still let that surprise me every day. I don’t mean that in a strike against his character, I mean that I never take it for granted that he will be calling or at least picking up my call at some point in the day. It is still good to hear his voice and his thoughts each day.
There is a lot of great advice about life, parenting, marriage and general humanness that begins and ends with choice. Overwhelmingly we are told to “choose love”. Yes, without a doubt, but I think we also choose joy. Choose surprise. Choose interest. And do yourself a favor, if it ever comes up again in life, choose the waterbed.