Our first picture together – by a waterfall off Route 6 on the road to Tillamook

As Veronica and I lay awake at four this morning listening to Thomas cough, something we had been doing since two since he is still terrible at blowing his nose and instead sniffles, allowing everything to go into his lungs and give him a raspy cough, I reminded Veronica that it was now the 12th of September.  “I assume that’s important,” she said.  “It means eighteen years ago today you were wearing sunflowers.”

That’s a reference to the sunflower dress that she was wearing the first day I met her.  Yes, I remember what she was wearing.  I remember the really cute manager I met on my first day at Barnes & Noble, the one who was all excited about the firemen who came into the store in full uniforms, the one I thought was 31 because she was a manager and in charge and so mature (she was 23) and who, I would later learn, thought I was 19, because of my youthful exuberance, I am certain (I was almost 25).  The manager who I picked out in the Secret Santa exchange (after putting two other names back) and who, when I was waiting for her to leave the breakroom so I could put her final present in her locker, looked at me and said “Are you waiting for me to leave so you can put my Secret Santa gift in my locker?”

We’ve survived through working together at five different jobs, through autism and diabetes, through far too many moves to mention and through a lot of early mornings wishing Thomas was asleep so that we could get back to sleep.  But I wouldn’t have wanted to go through this with anyone else for these last 18 years.

Our most recent picture together. She’s still wonderful. I’m still me.

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