SoCS: Beside Me


This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme.

Rules and this week’s prompt.

The idea is simple – post an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt.

This week’s prompt is to write a post that begins with a preposition.

My post is part love note, part memoir, part poetry – and all a stream-of-consciousness peek inside my life-as-it-is, on a special day.

Are you sure you’re ready for this?! Well, OK then – read on!

Just after our “Sweet Sixteen”, playing around side-by-side while the kids cavorted.

Beside me.

That’s where he was sitting, that Friday afternoon a little over eleven years ago, while our newborn baby lay dying in his arms.

I was being held in those same arms, six years before that, when he proposed to me. He held me, that May afternoon, afloat in turquoise water, deep in the Grand Canyon, in a fern-bedecked little travertine grotto he said was too beautiful to waste.


Havasu Falls, near Mooney Falls, where my Accomplice in Mischief proposed.

Neither one of these events was planned. They simply unfolded as they did – a “routine” visit to the NICU to see our comatose son shifting, from the moment the nurse met us in the lobby and whisked us upstairs via the service elevator, to the silent, deep vigil that accompanies death; and the employee hike he said I “had to” do, even though I’m terrified of heights, and it meant a 60 foot descent using tiny footholds and chains held to the cliff wall by railroad spikes, which became a proposal after ten miles of walking alone together, being with one another away from all the things that distracted us in our workaday world.

He was standing beside me, seventeen years ago today, as the town justice repeatedly mispronounced my given name, and I could feel the eyes of family and friends all fixed on us, wondering who this man was I was marrying, this man I’d known for less than six months. I’m sure more than one of them thought that maybe I was making a mistake. People do, sometimes.

I’d be lying if I said I’d never wondered the same thing. Marriage isn’t a matter of happily ever after and riding off into sunsets. It’s a gamble, and a lot of hard work, and striving to be better, not only as a spouse, but as yourself. Sometimes, it ends with death, or infidelity, or indifference, or hatred, or sorrow, or growing apart, or some other variable. Being married for seventeen years is no promise of being married for eighteen. That’s another year away – a year I hope will be filled with laughter, that all the tears will be happy ones, where we’ll grow together and raise our children, be inventive with the resources we have, where we’ll continue to have morning coffee and conversation, to remember the same commercials, to laugh about that time we hit an alligator with a canoe, to marvel at the children’s growth and chuckle a little ruefully at our own aging, to frustrate each other and get over it, to share in the tending of our home and the pleasures of one another’s company, to laugh at inside jokes and carry our secret codes like armor -“Yes, Johnny. Purple flowers mean I love you, and I’m just sayin’ it’ll level off up ahead…”

August 23, 1997. My greatest ally and my toughest adversary…which was part of our vows.

Seventeen years ago, it was also Travers Day here in Saratoga County. We’d traveled from Arizona; I never gave the race a thought, and he didn’t know it was a Big Big Deal. We couldn’t get a hotel room we’d want to sleep in – so we sat up all night, our rental car parked by Saratoga Lake, and filled with purple flower petals, mosquitos, and two sleepy and unconsummated newlyweds. We breakfasted at the Spa City Diner, which had a statue of a foal on the roof, then drove first to Howe Caverns, and then Niagara Falls, where I was carried over the threshold of a hotel room…

He’s beside me now, in a bed he made for us with his own hands, as I type this on my laptop. His breathing is my background music, and his presence is known, comfortable, and still sometimes surprising.

Later, he’ll wake me with coffee in bed, and we’ll chat until it’s time for him to go to work. It’s Travers Day; he might be home late, even for a Saturday night – he’s a chef, and weekends are his busy days. We won’t exchange gifts, but we’re talking about a new roof, a new fridge, a sectional couch, and a new front door. We’re focused on infrastructure, this year.

The real gift, for me? Having him beside me, when I know he could choose not to be. Having him want to be beside me, and wanting to be beside him.

I could live with another seventeen years of this, of this man beside me. ❤

Do you enjoy stream-of consciousness writing? Anyone can play, so long as they are willing to follow a few simple rules. See you next week, for another live-streaming look into the lovely chaos in my mind! =)

Join in or read more SoCS posts here!

Partners in Parenthood…and the people who make us parents. =)


    • Thanks, and you’re welcome- and I’m sorry I’m getting to this comment so late. Lots of comments to respond to, lots of writing happening, and lots of other joyful life stuff!

    • Well, maybe not all of it. Some of it I would not care to repeat – the parts where babies die, motorcycles crash, or we both behave badly…

      But, the rest – yeah, give me more of that, and him, because we really do fit – and that’s fun! =D

      Glad to spark a little Mate-thinking for you! ❤

  1. Beautiful post. Your loving description of your history together, including highs as well as painful times, was so well done. I love the photos, too — such a happy, cool family you all make! Loved this! 🙂

    • Thank you! We are happy nearly all the time. As the kids get nearer to their teen years, we’re getting better and better at getting along with each other, working things through, and making delight important for all of us.

      I honestly think the painful moments, especially Elijah’s death, have made us more determined to seek joy and peace with far deeper determination. We know how fragile life can be, and we want to make it as sweet as we can, every moment we can.

      I’m going to remember this comment when the lovely chaos of our lives gets to be just a little overwhelming… =)

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