January 23, 2008

The Choreography Of Living (Or, Fifteen Years On)

Every night, Beth and I sneak into Mia's room on a clandestine mission to stand and stare at our daughter.

By 10:00, she's given up fighting sleep, if there was much of a fight to begin with. Beth and I approach her door, careful to hold the wooden sign on her door that says "Mia Bean" and slowly turn the knob. We step over that one spot under which the floorboards creak. We've been in the house only a few months but have already learned to negotiate the potential landmines hiding in little spaces. When we open the door, we open it just a little at first, pausing to see if we've interrupted her sleep. Then we move in quietly.

We're like a stealthy team of parental Navy Seals. We swoop in, choreographed, each carrying out our roles. Beth turns off the CD player, stopping the music Mia loves and can't sleep without; it has been stuck in an endless loop for hours. I turn off the Christmas tree she won't allow us to take down. I move in, hover over her for a moment, smell her hair and gently kiss her on the head while Beth spreads a purple fleece blanket over her. Then it's her turn for a kiss.

And then we stare. We stare at this little girl who isn't so little anymore. We stare while she licks her lips or rolls over or clutches her purple blanket, an Amelia Bedelia book or a stuffed monkey, pulling them in to her tighter the way we always want to hold her. We stare, awestruck, like we're watching a master magician perform the most amazing illusion possible. We stare because there in front of us is this little person we created, breathed life into who is very much her own person these days, telling jokes and leading us on parades through our house. We stare at this little beautiful girl who understands few of life's many complexities but one day will. This girl who we made a person but who has made us into better people.

Fifteen years ago today, Beth and I hooked up in a bathroom. It's been an unusual, wonderful ride ever since. Never would we have imagined then what life would be like now. Not because it wasn't what we wanted but because not even the wildest, most imaginative dreamer has the power to dream in such rich detail. Fifteen years on, here we are. Still in love. With our 1.9 kids and comfortable house.

Posted by Chris at January 23, 2008 6:54 AM

That was beautiful. Shame on you sending me off to work with tears in my eyes. ;)

Posted by: Anna at January 23, 2008 7:23 AM

That was beautiful. How blessed you are to have found each other and created Mia.
A bathroom? That's so romantic.

Posted by: Hazel at January 23, 2008 7:26 AM

That was beautiful and i only hope when Chris and i are at that point we are half as happy as you sound.
However i have to know, how did you come to meet in a bathroom??
Pol x

Posted by: Pol at January 23, 2008 7:31 AM

Aw...makes me wish I had a relationship like that again....*sniff*

Have a great day, Chris! (and Beth, and Mia)

Posted by: Julia at January 23, 2008 7:48 AM

Happy hooking up anniversary!

Posted by: Katherine at January 23, 2008 7:56 AM

Awwww. That was really beautiful. And, can I say that an insane part of me is jealous because any standing at my daughter's door after she's fallen asleep would surely result in her waking up, throwing a big screaming hissy and us having to start the bedtime routine all over again!? I envy you getting to stare and wonder at your sleeping child.

Posted by: Sarah at January 23, 2008 7:56 AM

You and your wife have the same (un)romantic start as me and my husband! Ours was a hook-up in my college dorm room 10 years ago -- I was his RA. We still haven't decided what story we're going to tell our children about how we met!

We do the same "dance" every night into our son's room. I can't go to sleep without looking at him first. Here's a tip. Get some adhesive, and stick the bottom of the wooden sign to the door. It worked for us and it's one less "landmine."

Posted by: Robyn at January 23, 2008 7:57 AM

What a beautiful post!

Posted by: Alli at January 23, 2008 8:01 AM

That rocks.

Posted by: william at January 23, 2008 8:03 AM


This makes me happy.

Posted by: Alissa at January 23, 2008 8:14 AM

I can't help but chuckle at "with our 1.9 kids".

I still think this is the coolest thing I've ever heard.

Posted by: Emily at January 23, 2008 8:16 AM

Now I realize why bathrooms are so magical for you!

Sweet post, Chris!

Posted by: DebbieDoesLife at January 23, 2008 8:18 AM

Well, now I know why you're Bathroom Encounter Man. You hooked up with Beth in a bathroom and thus began your journey into Bathroom Freakdom.

I wish I could go stare at my kid while she sleeps, but I don't because I am a big fat chicken. It seems like she senses my presence in the room and wakes up at the slightest breath other than her own, so I stay away for fear of waking the beast.

Posted by: Shelly at January 23, 2008 8:19 AM

Beautiful, Chris.

Posted by: Marilyn at January 23, 2008 8:28 AM

Peace be unto the 1.9 of you!

Posted by: JJ at January 23, 2008 8:30 AM

Peace be unto the 3.9 of you!

Posted by: JJ at January 23, 2008 8:31 AM

Sorry, I'm apparently math challenged...hahaha

Happy Anniversary!


Posted by: JJ at January 23, 2008 8:39 AM

"hooked up in a bathroom"


Not, "First met".

Not, "Shared our first embrace".

Not, "Kissed for the first time".

"hooked up in a bathroom"

Posted by: SciFi Dad at January 23, 2008 8:40 AM

So now we know why bathrooms feature so prominently in your life....hmmm...

I do have to say that my daughter loves to tell her friends that her dad and I met in a whorehouse. Sure...it was really a bar and it was called the "Oar House" but she likes her version best.

Posted by: daisy at January 23, 2008 8:49 AM

Aw, that it so sweet. But what is this thing you have going with bathrooms, Chris?

If there was a nomination for best blogging couple, I would nominate you two!

Posted by: Maribeth at January 23, 2008 9:09 AM

May you have many more wonderful years together!

Posted by: Fraulein N at January 23, 2008 9:09 AM

Ok, you need to stop be so damn cute. (And by stop I mean, SQUEEEEEEE!) Hooked up in a bathroom and still in love 15 years later? Visiting Mia nightly, careful not to step on the squeaky board? You two are the world's inspiration!

Posted by: Poppy at January 23, 2008 10:02 AM

I love how this goes on, all sweet, and then BAM -- "hooked up in a bathroom." Ah, the tales of college sweethearts.

Posted by: Stephanie at January 23, 2008 10:12 AM

Beautiful post, Chris!

Posted by: OddMix at January 23, 2008 10:22 AM

My hubby (chris) and I met in a bathroom too.
That is a VERY odd coincidence

Posted by: pamalamadingdong@gmail.com at January 23, 2008 10:26 AM

You have us beat by 1.9 kids and 3 years.

You are a true inspration for a fulfilling and successful life.

Posted by: melati at January 23, 2008 10:26 AM

you are blessed.

Posted by: kimmyk at January 23, 2008 10:35 AM

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

I am compeled to say. A bathroom, really?! You have more exciting bathroom adventures, then I will ever have. :-)

Posted by: Maria at January 23, 2008 10:39 AM

Yep, we have a similar routine. I've even learned what not to wear (jeans) on my ninja-like creeps into their rooms. In our last house, it was nothing but creaky land mines, and a trip to the crib was an odd detour around the room. Always makes me laugh to think of it.

The cool part about them getting a bit older is that they start to sleep better. I walk with confidence into my 4-year-old's room and cover her up and give her a kiss. I still tip-toe into the 2-year-old's room.

And dude... you hooked up in a bathroom? Really? Where is that hot story?

Posted by: Brad at January 23, 2008 11:08 AM

You lack only a picket fence and a dog. You also make me want to spend more time hooking up in bathrooms, which I've now added to my 'to do' list.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at January 23, 2008 11:11 AM

Beautiful! What a story your life tells, how far you have come in the past 15 years. Congrats to you and Beth, your 1.9 kids and creaky in all the right places house.

Posted by: Tera at January 23, 2008 11:15 AM

Awwww...that's adorable!! Congrats!

...but the bathroom??? Do tell....

Posted by: been there, done that at January 23, 2008 11:47 AM

you guys are awesome.

and i won't be the 174th person to make a bathroom joke. because mine probably wouldn't be funny anyway ;)

Posted by: ali at January 23, 2008 12:06 PM

Yeah, I definitely think you used up all your good bathroom karma, and that's why bathrooms have become weird and scary places for you.

It balances out the world.

Posted by: cassandra at January 23, 2008 12:26 PM

That was a beautiful image you just created. Words are so powerful and you use them with elegance and wreckless abandon depending on the story. I am in awe of your skills.

OK, now I have to hear the bathroom hook-up story. Pretty please?

Posted by: SassyPants at January 23, 2008 12:45 PM

That was just lovely. I think that it's the small and odd anniversaries (first hook-up, first kiss, first 4 hour phonecall) that make life interesting and rich.

Posted by: whimsy at January 23, 2008 12:52 PM

Lovely. And wishes for many, many more wonderful years.

Posted by: Janet at January 23, 2008 1:20 PM

I hope Mia gets to read this someday. Maybe minus the last paragraph, as romantic as that is. ;)

Posted by: Amaya at January 23, 2008 1:39 PM

A bathroom? I thought I was the only one!

Posted by: laura at January 23, 2008 1:40 PM

I agree with the others. That was beautiful!

Posted by: Dawn at January 23, 2008 2:08 PM

Oh don't mind me, I'm just over here in the corner melting into a total pile of goo. You guys are so sweet :-)

Posted by: Heather at January 23, 2008 2:17 PM

is this how you got your idea to share your bathroom encounter stories?

Posted by: shannon at January 23, 2008 2:22 PM

So sweet! I love to watch my girls sleep too. It's the only time they're still and quiet!

Posted by: Kelly at January 23, 2008 2:44 PM

What a wonderful story and a great tradition...Happy Anniversary! (I was the kid my mom would watch sleep--just a tip don't get too close or she may wake up and freak because you are thisfar away from her face.)

Posted by: Krush at January 23, 2008 3:45 PM

Now this was a truly lovely post.

And they say romance is dead.


Posted by: ewe_are_here at January 23, 2008 3:45 PM

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

And now I'm going to think of you as Garp.

Posted by: Elaine at January 23, 2008 4:14 PM

I feel the same way about our family. Only when we sneak in the boys' room, it is all lanky legs and saxophone and Bionicles and stinky socks in the corner. The girls' room is much more like the Mia encounter. :)

And while I see husbands and wives around us breaking up, I am happy to say we feel like you and Beth...together and truly happy to see each other every day. Nearly 17 years of marriage later. Thanks for the reminder.

Posted by: angela marie at January 23, 2008 5:01 PM

Chris, you're awesome. That is one lucky baby girl. And Wally will be one lucky little boy. Every kid deserves to be loved this much.

Posted by: Phoenix at January 23, 2008 5:24 PM

Beautiful... I don't think anybody can ever really even begin to imagine where life will lead them.

Dreams can come true, but the little things make all the diffrence, things you just can't dream...

Posted by: Dani at January 23, 2008 7:41 PM

Hooked up in a bathroom eh? Romance at it's finest.

Congratulations to the two of you.

Posted by: Redneck Mommy at January 23, 2008 7:43 PM

As ever, you freak me out with the similarities.

Bryan I started dating 15 years ago last September, making out in the car after one too many Jagermeister shots. I proceeded to throw up in the bar's bathroom later that evening.

In May, we celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary.


Posted by: Aimee Greeblemonkey at January 23, 2008 8:32 PM

Beautiful--there really are no other words to describe this one.

Posted by: Nanette at January 24, 2008 4:03 AM

Awww... that's a very sweet post. I don't remember the exact date my husband and I met (though if I looked at a 1986 calendar I could figure it out)but he insists I picked him up. I worked in the men's dept in a store much like Hechts and at the time the Polo shirts were locked in a case - so I had to stand there while he made up his mind. For the longest time I thought he was just stalling to talk with me - but no, turns out he is REAAALLLLY indecisive about clothes. 20+ years later together - I still think its cute.

Posted by: Sue at January 24, 2008 11:07 AM

Being a parent is the most rewarding job ever. It gets better and better too.

Great post!

Posted by: coolchick at January 24, 2008 6:52 PM

That was the best day ever. You and Beth, together, fucking rock.

Posted by: Mr Lady at January 24, 2008 7:20 PM

Great post! Happy Anniversary. It's nice to know that Mia has such wonderful caring parents.

Posted by: Mom On The Run at January 24, 2008 8:38 PM

Congrats on keeping the love alive! How exciting to have your anniversary on the cusp of the arrival of your second child!

Posted by: ironic1 at January 24, 2008 10:09 PM

That's so beautiful.

Posted by: Caryn at January 25, 2008 8:37 PM

this post was so beautiful and moving. I totally relate! I sneak into the monkey's room, smell her hair, tuck her in, kiss her -- marveling at HER. It's amazing how she's become her own person. I'm amazed and heart melts whenever she says "I" or "mine" -- heartbreakingly adorable how innocently solipsistic she is.

And, then there's the rascal -- reminding me how far she's come -- and beginning his own great journey!

I'm now laughing at that "hook up" line -- only because of the next post. funny that it was misconstrued!!!

Posted by: Haley-O at January 26, 2008 11:37 PM

If you want to buy real estate, you would have to get the loans. Furthermore, my sister usually takes a auto loan, which is really fast.

Posted by: HickmanIVY23 at April 2, 2010 5:14 PM