Just over a year ago, I set myself a challenge. I decided to write about my marriage with DorkyDad publicly, for the first time. We were dealing with some nonsense in other areas of our life, and I felt the need to stand up and tell people how much I love my husband, and how proud of him I am.
So I wrote a short piece about us, which was first published on Offbeat Mama. Then a good friend at the Guardian suggested that their Family section might be interested in a longer piece. That was published right about this time last year.
It was my first attempt at getting us pinned down on paper. This is my second.
DorkyDad was giving DorkySon a bath last night, when suddenly I spotted something on his arm.
It looked like an old scar of some kind. “What’s that?” I asked.
“Hrm,” said DorkyDad, “I’m not sure. Probably one of the tree scars.”
Long before I met him, DorkyDad broke his neck. He was in the front yard of his best friend’s house, getting a case of beer out of the car, when lightening hit a tree nearby. A branch came crashing down, and fell on him, shattering the vertebrae in his neck. He was very lucky to live.
I’ve known that story since shortly after meeting him – on one of our first dates he showed me the scar at the top of his back, and he keeps a chunk of one of those shattered vertebrae in a medical vial in the wardrobe – but I can’t believe that we’ve been married nearly five years and I’ve only just noticed the three inch scar on his arm.
It sums up our relationship, though. One of the reasons that DorkyDad and I remain so much in love is that we are still learning about each other, and still discovering new things about each other and ourselves. I don’t think I have ever been bored in his company.
He is a wonderful storyteller. If you’ve ever heard him read poetry, then you’ll know that all his best pieces have a compelling narrative. He will take a little snippet of an imagined story, and bring it to life in front of an audience. Sometimes he shares a little snippet and you think it’s imagined, but then later he tells you that it really happened, and you believe him.
His best poems are the ones that make you really wonder. The ones that you want so much to be real, but they’re so crazy that you can’t quite believe they are.
We had a friend staying last week, and she said to DorkyDad “I hope you’ll write your autobiography, one day.”
I hope he does too. Actually, even more, I hope he lets me write it.
We’ll be sitting down on a Friday evening, a little buzzed after a couple of glasses of wine, and he’ll say, “Did I tell you about the time I stood beside Henry Kissinger, and we pissed against a tree?”
“No,” I’ll say. “No you didn’t. Tell me about it.” And off he’ll walk, down some meandering mental highway with a lot of side roads, and every one of those side roads will also involve a ten minute anecdote about this person or that.
DorkyDad has an interesting job, and that has led him to meet interesting people. He has discussed his golf handicap with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He has stood and looked up at a full moon, from a balcony in Washington, while he was chatting to Neil Armstrong. There is a photo floating around in our house somewhere of him beaming as he stands beside Meryl Streep. Last week he brought home an Arsenal football for DorkySon, and it wasn’t until a couple of days later that he mentioned it was Robin van Persie that gave it to him.
But it’s not his encounters with well-known people that make for the most interesting stories. I prefer hearing about when he lived at the end of a dirt track in Idaho, or when he worked as a journalist on a small town newspaper, or when he decided to leave everything he knew and move to Scotland. I love his stories about living in The Yellow House, about playing in a band, about road trips across the States. And I love that our house is full of objects that help tell the stories too – harmonicas, and family bibles and wooden cowboys.
I hope that our lives stay interesting. I think they will. I think DorkyDad will always be able to surprise me. We stayed up late last night, and talked about how our life looks right now. “I’m not sure that I’m doing enough,” said DorkyDad. “I spend so much time on trains. I’m not sure that I’m seeing enough of the world or having enough fun.”
“But next month,” he said, “I’m going camping in Mozambique. That’ll be cool.”
I’m delighted to be a finalist in the Best New Blog category of the MAD Blog Awards. Thank you so much to all my readers for their support. If you’d like to see DorkyMum win, you can vote for me on the MADS website here.
I love, love, love this piece. I have a friend C who is married to P (a mere 25 years older than her) and what’s interesting is that she says exactly the same about him. She’s constantly learning about him and the amazing things he’s done in his life. They must have been married about 6 or 7 years now and yet she still sometimes comes across a photo or an object in their house that has a fantastic backstory that she knew nothing about.
I think P and DorkyDad have a lot to teach the rest of us about living life to the full!
Just remind me to get your guys over for a BBQ soon so we can hear about his Mozambique camping first hand. 🙂
Such a lovely comment, thank you. Your friends sound like a marvellous couple! Xx
Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks so much for reading! Xx
Whenever I’ve seen Young read, I’ve wanted to ask him about peeing with Kissinger – but how weird would that be? Bad enough to say ‘you have no idea who I am, but I’m friends with your wife on the internet’ like I did last time!
Thanks for kind words!
I’ll warn him that he might get quizzed about it next time he’s reading in Scotland! Xx
firstly, that was fantastic. secondly, i miss young. thirdly, tell him that i recently finally understood it’s only when you feel you’re not doing enough that you know you’re doing anything.
We miss you too 🙂 thanks for the lovely comment xx
That was an enchanting post. Your love for your husband shines therough your words. He sounds such an interesting person. You are both quite a pair and clearly very talented writers!
You are very kind and lovely, thanks for such a nice comment! Xx
Loved reading this. And your mention of poetry led me via Google to actually hearing Young reading some of his work – marvellous!
Ooh! There’s one or two up aren’t there? Maybe we need to get some live poetry nights going in St A…? Xx
Now that is a fantastic idea! 🙂
Gorgeous! Made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside that I called my own husband to tell him I love him! If I could vote for you a thousand times to win Best New Blog, I would. There is noone else like you out there. Brilliant post x
Ahhh, Grenglish, you are the kindest commenter in all the land, thank you xxx
What a beautiful piece. x
What a beautiful tribute to your husband. He’s exactly the sort of person I’d like to sit next to at a dinner party! So are you, in fact, because you wrote that so mesmerisingly.
Thanks Anna, that lovely comment means a lot, especially coming from a writer as talented as you! Xx
He sounds awesome, fascinating, and you do right to pay tribute to him
Thanks so much. Wish I was a better writer so could do him justice!
Wow, what a fascinating story, what a fascinating man. I loved reading this, thank you for sharing
Thank you so much, really appreciate you taking the time to read and leave such a sweet comment 🙂 xx
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Sounds like it’ll be some autobiography – you’ll have to write it in volumes to pack in all those fantastic stories! x
Hee 🙂 it might be a collaborative effort – each chapter based on one of his poems… Xx
Such love, and such a story of tales to be told. I vote you write that (auto)biography just for your son…and then let the rest of the us have a read, too.
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