The first year is paper and the second is cotton. Today, September 16th 2009, would be mine and Ryan's third wedding anniversary. While there wasn't much about us or our marriage that was traditional, our gift giving was. The first year Ryan gave me a re-gifted gift card for a local coffee shop. I gave him a book, the hikes of the grand canyon. The second year Ryan gave me towels that we had monogrammed DMR. He said he picked out the color (sky) because it matched our bathroom... our bathroom is green and tan with a palm tree theme, not blue. He insisted that it would match our bathroom some day. Always practical, that year I gave him new underwear. Calvin Klein Steel cotton. Ryan's gift giving/ present buying skills were not sharp. Usually he waited until the last moment to buy the gift, where as I would have his anniversary present and his birthday present bought, wrapped and hidden under the bed not later than mid august. His abilities were getting better. This year for my birthday he took me to Washington to stay in an amazing hotel and take me to dinner at a French restaurant and see Jewel in concert. A dream I have always had. She only had four U.S. dates this year. Definitely an amazing time together.
This year is leather. Ryan was going to buy me boots. Which is to say he was going to suffer through hours of frustration on department store chairs as I tried to find a pair of boots that fit over my calves. He was going to buy me cowboy boots, because as a city council member we had VIP passes to all the Molalla Buckeroo events. I didn't have anything appropriately Western for the events. It was a great gift. My grandparents bought me boots recently that I wear around the house and laugh at myself and runner's legs.
I was going to get Ryan up to date with either a new belt (he needed a black one) or a wallet. And I had planned to buy this gift from the Coach store. While I have a purse or two (three) from the brand Ryan stuck to his die hard no-name pieces. It would be a thing I shared with him as I gifted him with something I love so much. It also had a double meaning for me as I acknowledged the position that Ryan would ever hold in my life as my personal coach. Not to mention unreasonably hilarious when he would have to explain it to his brother! Ryan with a designer wallet...
This year Ryan and I would not be going to our traditional get away at the beach. While it had always been an amazing place to stay and gave us lots to do together, this year we had other plans. September 20th I will be running around Timothy Lake. 14.2 miles of it, in my first half marathon. When I told Ryan I had a race picked out and was training with my Cousin's wife and my best friend April, Ryan was so excited for me and asked to run with us. I firmly said no. I explained we all knew Ryan could do a half because he had in the past done these longer races including full marathons. April and I had not. This was going to be hard for us. He understood and every time I told him how the training was progressing he just glowed with pride for my tenacity and my ability to listen to my body. He reminded me constantly about taking care of myself. "A bad day that you have to stop early on is better than the best day on the couch." I haven't stopped training and will be running with him this coming Sunday. It will be the race of my life for sure.
The gift I sit here with today is that of the house and the good memories. Ryan truly believed he was to take care of me and protect me. While I struggle with all the details of losing Ryan, figuring out financials, and grad school I knew I needed to take the time today and write. The gift I have today will take me a long time to unwrap, that will be frustrating. But once unwrapped I will be a strong woman living in a house that a man who loved as much as he could in the only way he knew how, gave me. I will be here achieving my dreams and living my life. I will a be woman shaped by memories of a good man. I am blessed.