Saturday, May 7, 2011

20 years

Twenty years ago this week, Steve graduated from the University of Michigan.

There are about a dozen different directions I could go from that one sentence. Here are a few.

1. President George H.W. Bush was the speaker at graduation on May 4, 1991. (His son, Gov. George W. Bush, was the speaker at Texas Tech in 1997, when Steve received his MBA.)

2. Steve was allowed to walk during graduation, though he hadn't yet received credit for one English class. He still had to write his senior thesis. He analyzed a poem and narrowed it down to a single word: spring. I believe he turned in that thesis in December 1991. And he did receive his bachelor's degree in English literature. The diploma hangs in the playroom at our house.

3. I wasn't in Ann Arbor that day. In fact, I hadn't yet met Steve. I can't even be sure that I had heard of him yet. I know that sometime in 1991, Will started telling me Steve stories and showed me some fun photos from the 1986-87 W.T. White High School yearbook.

4. I wish hundreds of times each day that Steve were here. One reason this week: So he could tell Cooper and Katie stories from college. About his job at Baskin-Robbins, his friends from marching band and ATO, his study habits (or lack thereof), his ability to pull together a paper just hours from a deadline, road trips with friends, visits from his family, meals of ramen noodles and beer, Tigers baseball games, various roommates, girlfriends, fraternity formals, football games, basketball games, the night that Michigan won the national basketball championship and the library was closed because of rioting and he wasn't able to finish a school project, his first winter there without a "real" coat, how often (or infrequently) he did laundry. Admittedly, some of these stories would be best told in the years to come -- not to impressionable 9- and 5-year-olds.

5. We met seven months after he graduated, in Will's apartment in Denton, the night of the NT Daily Christmas party. Steve had driven up from Brenham, where he was working as a medical practice assistant administrator, a job he got because the co-owner of the Ann Arbor Baskin-Robbins was also the administrator of the Brenham clinic.

6. I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around this 20-year milestone. In October 2007, Steve and I attended his 20-year high school reunion. We were blissfully unaware of the tumor growing in his brain. I struggle believing that almost four years have passed since that event. The passage of time is a blessing and a curse. I'm thankful that life continues and I'm wistful for the life we had.

7. I am forever thankful for all the events that led to our future. On May 4, 1991, I had no inkling that a tall, handsome, funny, smart, irreverent, spirited, creative, outgoing, peaceful, kind, gentle Texan was graduating from the University of Michigan. That he and I would meet and fall in love. That he would rescue me when I needed it most and provide the kind of emotional shelter that I didn't even know existed. That we would create a joyful family. That we would share the sort of love that never dies.

(photo by Liz Chamberlain Wohl)

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