Today is our 3rd Anniversary of our marriage.
I met Cathy on Oct 23, 1999. She had come to a Halloween party that my first wife and I were throwing. That marriage was at its end. During the party while my first wife danced and flirted with the array of guys in the room, Cathy sat back and took in the scene. Although I was playing super host and only got a few words in with Cathy, she stuck in my mind as something special. I remember my thoughts of infidelity as “if I weren’t married I’d want to be with her” but they stopped there. Little did I know at the time that my first wife had gone far beyond just thoughts.
By December my first wife was openly in a relationship with another man and Cathy and I were scheduled to have a lunch date. I stood her up. I think I stood her up a 2nd time in January. She should have run like hell.
My first wife officially asked for a divorce on Jan 3, 2000.
On January 15, 2000 Cathy tried to find the annual party my best friend and I would always throw called “The Long Island Tea Party.” She could not figure out how to get to the house.
On February 12, 2000 we had our first date. Some good friends brought us together thinking the both of us needed a good one mutual one night stand (which didn’t happen btw. Good clean fun all night long.). I was nervous as I ever was in high school. I rapid fired every joke I knew. I could not take my eyes off this gorgeous woman that had honored this pathethic man with her presence. I knew the rest of the room (we were playing pool) was jealous of me! Cathy is smart, witty, sharp as tack, self-confident, and beautiful! I was trying to be unpressuring at the end of our date and tried to say “there is no pressure here. We can take things slow.” I was trying to be kind. The words fumbled out of mouth sounding something like “if you want to have sex without commitment I’m your man!” (not those words of course but the meaning was about as bone headed). Cathy should have run like hell.
I spent one whole day going back to the pool bar, taking pictures and piecing together a picture of Cathy from the Halloween party to make this animation:
As my business failed, first marriage failed, and illness brought down various members of my family, my mental health failed. Cathy stood by me and helped keep me alive. She is an incredible humanitarian. She nursed me to stability. She should have run like hell.
We dated all of 2000 and in 2001 I took Cathy to the mall and we put her engagement ring on layaway. She thought it wasn’t a real engagement and that we had played a game.
During the early dating, Cathy found creative ways to introduce me to one child at a time as to not overwhelm me. She is extremely aware of other people’s feelings and tactful. I remember well her introduction of Sarah to me. I was playing frisbee golf with friends and as we come off the last hole she stood there tall as a tree, silent and all knowing, protective and assuring, glowing as an angel but the angel was standing beside her. She studied me to measure my reaction. I knew instantly that this was my family.
In August of 2001 I could not take the wait anymore. My divorce had finally come through (long after Cathy’s more complicated divorce-her’s took less than 6 months with children and property issues while mine concerning nothing took almost 2 years) and I didn’t like Cathy not having a ring on her finger. I ran to the jewelry store and bought an affordable engagement ring that was not to the caliber that she deserved to wear but it much more than the nothing on her finger. I hid it in a gift and proposed. Sarah walked in, saw what was happening, and immediately ran out to tell Cathy’s folks. A couple of days later I was looking out the window into the cove thinking, “the kids need to be here now” and Cathy and I ran to Gatlinburg, popped into a wedding chapel where the cloths are pinned together in the back, and have been happily married since! One week after the marriage the whole crew had moved into the house of horrors. Cathy should have run like hell.
In our 4 and 2/3 years together, we have had glory days and we have had hard days and even harder days. Our love is strong! Cathy is so special, so endearing, so unique, so beautiful and so much more that I could go on and on until my keyboard melted away. She means the world to me! When I see her, my heart races. When she kisses me, the world goes away and I see nothing but her. When she cries, I bleed. When she holds me, I am safe. I want to be with her forever! Cathy, thank you for everything! I especially thank you for never running like hell. I love you! Happy Anniversary!