I'm compelled to talk about Ray this morning. I talk about him in bits and pieces here and on my online groups, but he rarely gets space and words that are just about him.
I first met him during my second year of university (his 3rd) in one of our English classes. Let's be clear that this was not really the beginning of our relationship. He remembers meeting me, but he doesn't remember that girl as ME. We laugh about it and I tease him occasionally about it. The start of our relationship was December 1994. I was 20 and he was 22. It was at (I kid you not) an English Society Wine and Cheese. I was trying to get the attention of another guy, who is a friend. Only that fellow would not look, but Ray thought I was staring at him.
Good thing too.
We were married 5 years later. In the meantime, he'd gone to live a couple hours away to do his Master's degree. Came back to town. Then I left to go to Korea for a year to teach English. He came to visit for a bit more than a week, and we had a great time. I came back to Canada, and we moved in together. Then we got married.
In September it is 10 years since our wedding. December is 15 years since we met. I'm not sure how all of that time has passed, but we've had fun with it.
Ray loves to read. Our house is overflowing with books because he also loves to collect and has a hard time weeding through his things. He's gotten better with weeding and organizing, and I have become better at letting go of my need to have everything "just right". Ray also loves comics...to the tune of 10 or 11 comic book boxes. If you don't know, a comic box is about 3 feet long. There are a LOT of comics in them. 10 or 11 of these seems mighty excessive to me, but to Ray, it seems reasonable.
He also loves to game. Traditional, table-top, D&D gaming. He's been doing it since he was a pretty little kid. I think about 10. When I came back from Korea he convinced me to give it a try. He's pretty persuasive and I thought that if I didn't like it, he could let it go, since I had tried. Well, I have been gaming with him ever since. What is not to like? You gather with friends and create a story together! I love stories (especially reading and writing them) and I love being with friends, so it was a match made in heaven. We have since gone to GenCon, which is one of the biggest events in gaming, 3 times. The last time with Xander, who was 2, and Liam, who was just a little swimmer in my tummy at the time. Our favourite event is The Open. The open is a huge game that you do in a group, that progresses through 3 rounds. The first year I did The Open, our group came in second and something I did was the deciding factor for us getting second place. I think Ray was as proud as I was. To add to our collection of books, Ray also has an abundance of gaming books. I occasionally comment that he should get rid of the ones he is not using, like the Orange Books. This causes him to grimace, since the Orange Books are his first books and they are several editions ago of D&D. I managed to slip that one in one day when we were hanging out with other friends who gamed and I thought our buddy Steve was going to have an anneurysm. He said, "Tell me she is kidding Ray!"
As a contrast to my wandering childhood, Ray grew up in a little town right outside of Stratford, and his family lived in 2 houses the whole time he was growing up. They refer to these two houses as "the little house" and "the big house". And they were down the street from each other! I am not sure I understand a life like that, though it looks more and more likely that our children will grow up understanding it.
Thankfully, Ray loves to travel. He and I have the best conversations in the car, driving places. He is a person of deep thoughts. Often our daily life is too busy to share those thoughts, but when we are in a car, it seems like time stands still and it is that neverland between realities, so we get time to share. It's always been that way. These days we have to wait until the kids fall asleep in the car, so there is not as much chatting time in the car.
And he is a fantastic father. I loved him before our children were born, but seeing him with the infant Xander made my heart expand and my love for him grow astranomically. I didn't think it was possible to love someone that much, but I do. We have a sling and Ray loves to carry our babies in it. In fact, the summer Xander was born, he spent a lot of time in the sling, being carried through the neighbourhood with his Daddy, as Daddy walked the dog. And much of that time was nap or shower time for me. When we added Liam to our crew, it just got better. Seeing Ray swaying with Liam, trying to get him to sleep, is one that squeezes my heart. Better still, the boys adore him as much as he adores them!
I can't possibly describe all of Ray in one post, but I wanted to try to give you a bit of a glimpse.