15 years ago tonight, Laurie and I exchanged vows and agreed to spend the rest of our lives together.

When we first met, via (of all places) rec.arts.comics, I was here in the Bay Area, she was in Indiana at Purdue. My first marriage was ending (mutually and respectfully — we both simply realized our lives had gone in different directions), but don’t let anyone ever tell you divorces are painless. I was a bit of a basket case (god knows how people survive breakups that get nasty).

That may seem pretty normal these days, but this was 1983, and USENET was still primarily modem-based, and long-distance online romances were still rare. Eventually I had a chance to travel east on business, and routed myself so I could spend a weekend in Lafayette. The following spring, she graduated from Purdue, packed and came west.

I can only imagine the courage it must have taken to do that, even though we both felt a strong connection. Moving to a new part of the country, uprooting everything, having no fallback position if it didn’t work? And patience — waiting for the divorce to be final in 1984, waiting for me to get my act together enough that I could consider re-marrying.

She moved into my life and my house in 1984. In 1987, I finally could make the committment, and here, 15 years later, we’re still together — and I asked her if she’d allow me to stay another 15 years. Fortunately, she said yes.

I have tried, since she joined my life, to remember just how lucky I was to have found her, and I have tried to never take that luck or her for granted. Not that I’ve always been successful — but I’ve tried.

This year, since Laurie’s been under some stress at work, I decided to not wait for the anniversary — I wandered down to our jeweler and brought home a nice yellow citrine pendant, which I gave her “just because”.

Of course, that was just misdirection. The next night, at a Sharks game (no sharkie, though), I pulled out a second box. This one contained another necklace, this with a diamond. While Laurie appreciates jewelry, her preference is for colored stones, so until now, I’d never bought her a diamond. I felt it was time to correct that.

And then I told her that if I had to do it again, I’d marry her in a minute.

Today, for our anniversary, she got a third box. this one contained a set of signed. hand-carved raven motif argillite earrings from Myles Edgars a Haida artist who lives on Haida Gwaii. I found those through a dealer in Vancouver I deal with a times.

Laurie, bless her, gave me a nice gift certificate at Home Depot (aka “my third home”), which if you think it isn’t romantic, you don’t know me very well, and a gorgeous piece of swarovski crystal to go with our growing collection of shiny glass things shaped like birds. And today at work, a delivery person arrived with a vase full of roses (which engendered at least four instances of “He’d never think to send ME flowers” — grin).

And given how work’s been going, that just made my day. (for the record, I’m still working — but from home…)

What I know is that I can’t conceive of life without her, and I believe the best way to make sure she stays is to never start assuming she will. And that’s something that isn’t buying gifts once a year, but appreciating what you have every day…

To my wife, my love, my life — happy anniversary. And thanks for wanting to be here.