|Above August 1998, age 18. Below June 2013, age 33. Both pictures|
taken on a weekend we saw Matchbox 20 - at the same amphitheater.
I was an avid reader long before we met, but I had just started really buying books, which were housed on a huge wooden bookshelf made by my previous boyfriend. Of course, those first few years being married we would joke about the interloping bookshelf, until one day I said, "Well you could build me one." His response, "Nah, you would just keep the old one too." How well he knows me: extra shelves = more books! The bookshelf still stands, overflowing, in our living room. He knows to me it is a home for my books and nothing more...besides we'd have to pay for another one. This one was free ;)
At the same time, my husband knows that lack of an extra bookshelf won't stop new books from entering our home. Soon the interloper shelf filled up and I bought a nice decorative shelf to match our bedroom. It's small though, so between decorations and books it took no time to fill up. When we moved to our house, I began putting my books on my daughters' shelf. However, they had their own books, so when my son was born I "bought him a shelf to match his bedroom furniture." Yes, read the quoted part as "bought another shelf to put my books on." Most people have a TV in every room of the house; I have a bookshelf in every room of my house. And they're all overflowing with my books (and my daughters', who think they should have some claim to a shelf or two. Fine). My book collection has grown exponentially faster than the number of bookshelves, but not a word from my husband about it.
I can't count the number of times he's wondered around bookstores with me. Even stood in the middle of a parking lot with me while I took a picture of a beautiful Barnes and Noble in Florida. Or the movies-made-from-books he's watched with me, sitting next to him whispering, "That's not how it was in the book." Followed by a lengthy description of "what really happened" after the movie. When my classroom bookshelf collapsed, he didn't think twice when I asked if we could buy a new one that night. In fact, he said I should get two and built them in my classroom that same night. He knew the blank space and absence of books in my classroom would bother me for days. He gets my blog posts in his email and he was my first follower.
All this to say, I can't remember a single time in the total 16 years we've been together when my husband said I couldn't buy a book (or a bookshelf for that matter), shouldn't buy a book, or was mad because I bought yet another book. Even when I chose the $100 Barnes and Noble gift card over a Visa card from our rewards program (without consulting him...it was instinct I swear), he just shook his head with a smile.
We are opposites in every way I can think, which may seem like it wouldn't work. Yet, I was blessed with this football loving, ESPN man who has never once not supported a most important piece of me - reading and books. I love you Braise! Happy Anniversary!