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Joe is the youngest of five, in an Irish-Catholic family from Detroit. I am the oldest of two, half Jewish, from the suburbs of New York by way of Connecticut and Ann Arbor.

His family intimidates the hell out of me.

When Joe was growing up, he had to eat exactly what his mother cooked. Every night. Sometimes he got to choose what kind of canned vegetable they would have with dinner. As a child I frequently ate cereal for dinner, because that’s what I wanted, although we ate most of our meals at Zingerman’s deli.

Last Saturday we went to Joe’s sister’s house, because his oldest sister, Kitty, was visiting from her home in Alaska.

We had pasta for dinner because his brother-in-law was carb-loading in preparation for a half-marathon the next day. He’s also the CEO of some company. His wife, Joe’s sister, is the CFO of a different company.
The other brother-in-law was wearing a hat with the name of his rugby team. His wife, another of Joe’s sisters, also plays rugby. She also played on the Detroit team of the only national women’s football league in history.
His 10-year-old niece, a competitive gymnast, was gearing up for a meet.

I should point out that Kitty, in her fifties, is a professional ski instructor who recently battled cancer and walked to the hospital for her chemotherapy.

As for Elliot and myself, the latest additions to the family? He had a sore throat, and we had to cut the evening short because I developed a bad case of diarrhea.

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I am not normally an over-the-top relationship person. I do not have my relationship status posted on Facebook. I would never dream of using a couple photo as my profile picture. Ever. I do not use baby talk. I don’t make out in public. I don’t ever say “we should make this a couples thing!” In fact, I am vocal in my hatred for couples.

And I do not send cutesy text messages back and forth all day long.

Today, however, I was feeling inspired, and sent Joe a text message that said “I love you.”

The response? “You’d better.”