Sometimes I get this question of why I chose Ryan, of all people, as if my spelling or reading or educational goals somehow make him–a horrible speller, who hates studying and sitting down–a wrong match for me. As if his 3.2 GPA, which he works hard for, somehow holds little comparison to my 3.82 GPA, which means nothing to me or him, other than we both try our bests. I am stating these numbers as numbers only because that is all that they are, although sometimes people read too much into them. Just like my $9/hour working at a dirty plating shop is nothing more than a number. Just like his 6 foot height, which sucks for an NCAA volleyball player, is nothing more than a number. Just like how much he’ll make as a P.E. teacher or a coach or a firefighter–yes, he’s still figuring it all out–after he graduates is nothing more than a number.
When I hear talk about love or life in terms of numbers–in terms of salary, in terms of IQs and percentiles, in terms of how much you get for what you give–I want to say, “And then what?”
All we have is who we are, and then what?
I married a good man. I’m not saying this because I want to run around tooting my horn about it. I am saying this for him, because I don’t want him to forget it. Numbers don’t make up his goodness, although I could give you a ton of numbers that may persuade you of it: how many times he comes home from a long, hard day with a smile because he doesn’t want to take any of the bad out there and bring it in here: how many times he says sorry when he makes a mistake because yeah, sometimes we both mess up: how many times he drives around the neighborhood after I’ve been out too long just to make sure, because you never know: how many times he prays for me, for his family, my family, his friends and my friends.
Sometimes Ryan has 11 typos in a single email. Sometimes he gets 51 out of 55 for forgetting the order of the aerobic dances in front of a class of middle schoolers. Sometimes his #2 ranked volleyball team loses to a non-ranked volleyball team in 3 sets.
But sometimes he laughs so loud everyone thinks Santa Claus has come to town. And sometimes he gets real quiet around people who are mean and loud and critical because he gets so lost in that kind of world, he doesn’t know where to stand (because he doesn’t belong there). And sometimes he doesn’t know how to tell me how he feels about something, so he just puts his head on my lap until I feel it too.
There are no numbers that could mean anything that Ryan is. That he puts his socks in the same corner by the bed, every morning. That he talks about those middle schoolers in his class like they’re the greatest kids in the world. That the 49ers are still his favorite team and they will always be, no matter how much worse they get. That he says sweetie like “swee dee,” even when I explain to him that no no no, he’s pronouncing it all wrong!
76 assists in a match or 92% on a test or 40 grand a year and a 401K—they matter. But not to who he is, not to why I love him, why I will always love him, why the question for me will always be, do you know how good you really are?