He was four years older than me. That made him a preschooler when we met. I don’t remember meeting him. In fact I don’t remember meeting anyone when I was an infant. If I could remember meeting him, I would remember meeting a freckled-faced ginger.
When I was in preschool, there were nights he would stay with me. He and his brother were like the big brothers I never had. They were so small then. I remember looking down at the floor by my bed at the two of them, squished into the same sleeping bag. Theirs heads peeked out the top; one of them blonde… and one of them ginger.
In grade school, he would come over to play with my little brothers and me. We played hide and seek. We once hid together. We built forts, we rode bikes, and we played in the sandbox together. He now stayed the nights in my little brother’s room. We talked and we talked and he was a good friend, that ginger.
My family moved away and I made new friends. We might have gone two years without seeing each other. When I was a pre-teen, his family came to visit. We played catch for a couple hours. We talked and we talked and we talked. He was still my good friend, that ginger.
In my early years as a teenager, he moved to the same town as us, for a summer job. We’d become awkward. We were turning into young adults. That childhood innocence had faded and our gender difference had made itself known. I looked at him from afar, and thought to myself, “Well… he is growing up… And turning into quite a handsome young ginger.”
A couple years later, he moved to our town permanently. By then the awkward in-between stage had passed. We became fast friends and spent so much time together. We caught up on the years we had spent apart. We realized we were best friends, and we began dating. I wanted this young man to forever be my ginger.
After a couple years of dating, we were married in our church surrounded by family and friends. We felt so lucky to be together. We couldn’t imagine any other way. We want to have children together. We want to grow old together. I couldn’t be happier; he is now my ginger.
Years pass, and life changes. But we are still so happy together. We bought a home to call ours forever. We’ve been through easy times and tough times. We’ve traveled together. We’ve grown together. We’ve never once regretted our vows to each other. We’ve been blessed with many babies (and counting!), and I secretly hope one of them will come out ginger.
The other day, as we sat in the sun together, I looked up at his ginger hair. I see white hair hiding here and there. Right now they are like needles in a haystack, scattered here and there. I imagine them increasing in numbers over the years, until they are all he has. As I look at this little peek into our forever, I smile to myself. Even if he has a head of white hair, he’ll still forever be my ginger.
Happy Valentines Day Everyone!