9 Years...

Nine years ago I was doing shots of vodka in the backroom of a church waiting to marry a boy that I used to sneak out to see in high school. Our one year old was not doing shots of vodka however he was playing with the pearls I wore around my neck. My nerves were outrageous. At 26, getting married was a pretty big deal to me. None of my friends were married. ZERO. Most of my friends were single and I think only 2 of my friends had kids. 

When we had Catcher my dad made me go see a priest (the good Catholic in him couldn't handle the wedlock sitch). I went to his old church in Collinwood and told the priest our story. How we had known each other since we were kids, how we dated briefly in high school, how I became his roommate, and how we eventually became parents to the best boy ever. I told him how my dad wanted me to get married immediately and how neither of us were ready. We had only been dating a few months when we found out we were expecting and I definitely didn't want to rush into something neither of us were 100% sure of. He told me the church no longer believed in forcing people to get married if they were pregnant. I rushed home to tell my dad that I was in the all clear as long as God was concerned. Was in the all clear with him?

My dad relaxed and understood. He had in fact been in a similar situation with me as a baby however the church and family looked down upon him and the only thing he could do was get married. It ended badly. Well besides having me of course. I told the Chef about my meeting with the priest and we both agreed that marriage would come when we were ready for it. I wanted to get married because we were in love, not because we had a baby together. We went on raising our newborn son together as a couple and it wasn't until about a year later when the Chef proposed. We were at his chef from Kitchenn 22's wedding in Boca. The boy came with us, he was only 14 months and we couldn't imagine leaving him. We planned a short tip after the wedding to the Keys to visit our friend Kellie. Turns out our entire trip was all a ruse. The Chef had planned to ask for my hand in marriage.

With a magnum of 1990 Pol Roger on a beach in Key West, the Chef asked me to marry him. Elated and nervous I spit out the only words I could think of.

"Of course you dummy."

That was 10 years ago. Today we are celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary and I can tell you this. We have had a serious adventure. We have fallen in love countless times. We have cried and yelled and hugged and traveled and laughed and stood side by side in some of the most daunting situations of our lives. We have been through a silent hell and back over the last half of our marriage that would have split anyone down the middle. But we stood strong. That love we promised each other on that beach 10 years ago prevailed and got stronger as each day passed. And guess what? Here's the crazy thing about a great marriage, IT ONLY GETS BETTER. Our marriage is way better than it was year 1, year 2, year 3, and so on. Coming from a divorced household, I never thought marriage was supposed to get better, I always thought it just stayed the same or got worse. Not true at all in our case! 9 years in and I can't wait for more.

Happy Anniversary Chef Sawyer, thanks for being the macaroni to my cheese.

 

Chef Sawyer on The Chew

The first time I met Michael Symon was in the early 2000's. The Chef and I had just moved back to Cleveland, young, pregnant, & scared. Michael & Jonathon met one night at his new restaurant Lolita. They smoked cigs, talked food, and by then end of the night they had themselves their very own bromance that continues to this day. Michael was beyond kind to the new kid in town. He hired the Chef, gave him health insurance (while we were pregnant no less, who does that?), and gave Jonathon the freedom to explore his culinary passion and talent. His talent inspired Jonathon and when Michael was ready to open a restaurant in New York City he came to Jonathon to run it. His belief in Jonathon's talent has always been unwavering and his constant support of the chef's career and our family is beyond generous.

Tomorrow the generosity continues. The Chef will be filming The Chew with his old friend and talking about his family book Noodlekids. Tune in at 1pm on ABC to check out my love Chef Jonathon Sawyer making ramen grilled cheese. It's gonna be a good one. 

Fistful of Love

He asked me out on a cul-di-sac. We had just finished smoking a joint and I was out past curfew. He hit the joint, handed it to me and said "will you go out with me?" Didn't we just go out? I thought. "Of course I'll go out with you when?" "No no not like that Amelia, I want you to be my girlfriend," he said. "Oh ok. Yeah I guess that would work." I hit the joint. We kissed and I ran out of the car to my house.

What in the hell had just happened?

That conversation took place 17 years ago in the Chef's beatup 'ol Toyota Corolla. I remember the moment exactly. He was my best friend. And he liked me. And I liked him but I didn't really want a boyfriend. At the time, I knew saying yes was a mistake but it was the best mistake I ever made. Our high school romance only lasted a year and wasn't totally stable or normal, but he was my friend and I loved him. After a tough breakup (isn't every breakup tough when you're 18?) we fell out of contact only to reconnect a year later. 

He had a girlfriend by then and was graduating high school. We accidentally made out on his lawn at his graduation party. I had a boyfriend. He had a girlfriend. I felt bad. He felt bad. Once again we fell out of contact again until Christmas of the next year.

And so it went, year after year we always found excuses to see each other. Keeping the friendship alive even if we only saw each other once a year. And then it changed. Someone broke my heart badly and I needed a friend. He held my hand and mended my heart. From that moment on we spoke on the phone nightly. He was in Manhattan by then and I was still in Cleveland. Our friendship grew and he quickly became my deepest confidant. I couldn't go a day without talking to him and I knew he couldn't either. I stayed up late to talk to him after service and he woke early to talk to me before work. 

I didn't know it at the time but it's easy for me to see now that we were building a foundation. We were starting to build our life together.

Valentine's Day for me is just a reminder that our love just keeps on keeping on. No matter what life throws at us, the foundation that we built together so many years ago keeps us strong, happy, and madly in love. 

On this celebrated day of love I dedicate this song to the one I love. 

 

Seven Years

In college I was dating this boy named Dan. Well not really dating, more like I was infatuated with making him my boyfriend after getting my heartbroken. Dan and I hung out everyday and "studied." We went to the coffee shop, smoked cigs, and I tried my damnedest to make him laugh and kiss me.  

He had just gotten out of a relationship too and what we had in common were our tragically shattered hearts. Our friendship/relationship/codependence had us doing things like couples do but without the intimacy. One night we were headed out on a pseudo date when my doorbell rang. Imagine my surprise when my highschool boyfriend (the Chef) and my best friend (also his best friend) stood before me. My roomate had met my best friend a few weeks before and they had arranged a night to hang out. She forgot to tell me that he was coming and he forget to tell her that he was bringing my ex. 

To say that it was awkward is the understatement of the year.

The Chef and I had always stayed in touch after highschool and had recently started up our friendship. We were phone buddies and when he was in town sometimes we would hang out. When I was sad about my broken I would call him. He was my rock.

I always knew how the Chef felt about me even all those years after we broke up and as Dan and I left my house quickly to go to the play I turned to him and said "I'm probably going to marry that guy."

Our  friendship/relationship/codependence ended that night. 

A year later I moved to New York City to live with him as his roomate. A year after that we had a baby. A year after that we got married. And seven years after that we are here, back home in Cleveland following our dreams, enjoying our family, and celebrating a love that I think we both always knew we had.  

September 2nd, 2006

Happy Anniversary baby.  

This one's for you.