I know that I don't really talk about my family much on ye blog- okay, I probably complain about them a lot, but I don't really address them as people as much as I should. So today I thought I'd take a moment to talk about my husband. You see, fifteen years ago today, I married a man named Douglas.
"Wait a minute," you say. "I thought your husband was named Webmaster Mikey!"
You are not wrong. But if you were hoping for some juicy story about how I left that cad Douglas and rode off on a white horse with Webmaster Mikey . . . well, let me explain. The officiator at our wedding thought his name was Douglas. Just when I started to panic, worried that our marriage would not be valid, my dad leaned over and corrected the man. And lo, I married Webmaster Mikey all good and proper. We got married in the Salt Lake LDS Temple, and it was a beautiful day: the sun was shining, flowers were blooming, our family was all there. As I look out at this blustery day, I realize how lucky we were to have good weather that day. Also family, since now my in-laws are scattered across the country. Plus, I looked really good in the pictures and we ate cake (and later hamburgers, thanks to my sister's husband who kindly does not hate us for getting married on his birthday).
And then we moved into our tiny, dank basement studio apartment, and real life began.
And I fully began to appreciate Webmaster Mikey.
You see, I am the princess. I am the youngest child of my parents. I am my mommy's little sweetheart.
(There, I admit it.)
My parents put money in my checking account every week until the day before I got married. They continued to pay my college tuition even after I got married. I knew how to cook and clean and speak German, but boy howdy did I not know the value of money. Or how to get a decent job. I will also probably be late to my own funeral.
Webmaster Mikey, on the other hand, is not spoiled. No, he is a gem. The boy knows how to work. He knows how to balance a checkbook. And he knows how to chivvy me out the door so that I can get me to the church on time, as the song says. (Not to mention the book signing, school program, and pretty much everything else.)
In the first year of our marriage I was hospitalized twice with life-threatening health problems, and probably saw the inside of the ER three to four times. I couldn't work for several months, in fact, I couldn't get off the couch. I had two serious bouts of depression (that I can recall) and one "freak out" (code for an anxiety attack) that led to me quitting my newly acquired job. Once I graduated from college, I needed time to write books, so I refused to take any full time job.
There's a reason why my first published book, DRAGON SLIPPERS, is dedicated to him.
Webmaster Mikey took all that in stride. He cooks and cleans. He works like a dog at jobs that really aren't all that fun, to support me in the manner to which I have always been accustomed. He changes light bulbs, furnace filters, and diapers, wears spit-up covered shirts, then launders said shirts along with all the other dirty clothes. I once spent a year doing nothing but working on a novel (which was so crappy that it will never see the light of day), while he worked two jobs to support us. People who found out I was just at home all day would ask how many kids we had, and he'd say proudly, "None, but Jessica's writing a book." "Has she gotten published?" "No, but she will soon."
Right there. Did you catch that?
More important than the laundering and cooking and toilet scrubbing and the holding of hands in the ER while I am blasted full of antibiotics for yet another kidney infection is that right there, folks. From the moment we met, and I said I wanted to be a fantasy writer, he's believed me. And believed IN me. He has always known that I would be published one day, even when he had never read anything I'd written, and he's done everything humanly possible to make sure it happened. Supported me emotionally and financially, from day one, when things, frankly, seemed bleak.
And he continues to support me. He uses vacation days to babysit the kids while I visit schools. He's still our main source of income. He does 99.9% of our grocery shopping, with all the kids in tow, so that I can spend Saturday afternoons writing. True story: for the past three years, Webmaster Mikey has spent nearly every Saturday in a car full of whiny children, running every errand under the sun and then doing the week's grocery shopping to give me as much time as possible to write.
Marriage is hard, people. There are arguments, especially in the beginning, that feel like your world will end if you don't get your way. (And then later you realize that the whole issue was too stupid for words.) You're living with another person day after day after day. Their weird habits. And noises. And smells. Making that work takes a lot of energy, and I won't lie and say that the first few years of our marriage were fabulously sunny and filled with nothing but picnics and Eskimo kisses. I like to spend money on clothes. He likes having a savings account. We've both had to make compromises.
But at the end of the day, I enjoy relaxing on my MemoryFoam mattress, watching The Soup with my best friend. Who is awesome. And has probably made dinner, and certainly been in charge of putting the kids to bed.
And occasionally I like to reflect on how this man has put up with me for FIFTEEN YEARS!
All hail Webmaster Mikey!