To My Very Dearest,
Eight years ago we were married. We hadn’t known each other for nearly long enough, and we jumped the gun at nearly every turn with regards to everything to do with our wedding. Anyone who knows us well, with our impetuous ways, toweringly high dreams and ideas, and fearless optimism as a couple, will know that the way we got married suits us. I still think that one of the best quotes for us is this one from The Postal Service:
They will see us waving from such great
Heights, ‘come down now,’ they’ll say
But everything looks perfect from far away,
‘come down now,’ but we’ll stay…
When I met you, it was one of my first days in Knoxville, right before classes started at the University of Tennessee. I was newly Mormon, and you were a Return Missionary. The very first time I saw you, I was smitten. Here was a guy who was smokin’ hot, funny, intelligent, and just a really nice guy. You became my home teacher; I lost all ability to speak coherently when you were around.
Still, even with obstacles like my early speech impairment, my kind-of dating your brother, some Shakespearian-type comedies of error, and the fact that I didn’t like Chinese food, we still fell in love. (And give me credit for not going into detail about your poorly thought out “theory”!)
We had the kind of ridiculous, happy love that made other people happy just watching us. We lived in our own world where holding hands, stealing kisses, and giggling all day were par for the course. I remember sitting on the bench outside of my dorm, about two weeks after our first kiss, where we started whispering about the ‘M’ word. A month later, you’d bought the perfect ring, and took me to where we’d had our first date and proposed–before you’d met my family, because the only gifts you can keep hidden are Christmas ones.
You worked that summer while I put together our wedding announcements, and we finally (you know, after six whole months of dating!) got married.
Our first year of marriage was rough. We fought about so many tiny details–whether it was better to buy butter or margarine, full-fat or light mayo, how to organize our bookshelves. We had to figure out how to live with each other, how to be married, how to be grown ups, how to resolve conflict, how to cook (which took awhile, and we both gained 15 pounds. Thank you Hamburger Helper.). I was certain, when we lived in Knoxville, that I loved you fully and completely, and hoped that it would stay just like that.
Near the end of the first year, we moved to Tallahassee. This was one of our decisions that, in retrospect, we didn’t consider all of our options before proceeding with, but it was for the absolute best. We took some classes together at Florida State, which remain some of my favorite college classes in all of my unreasonably long-winded college career. During our three years in Tallahassee, we made great friends. We handled our first sicknesses together. We bought our first large-ticket item together (our little green car). We handled our first separation, as you left for Basic Training for four months and I studied abroad in Panama. After that summer, we wanted a baby. We got a cat, instead.
You encouraged me to study accounting, noticing my unusual, giddy love for the subject. We were there for each other for some really difficult family trials, solidifying our bond. We made plans to have an actual baby, who didn’t make an appearance (at least, not yet). We graduated, and we cried. When you had your appendectomy, I turned on Saturday Night Live in the hospital room, and we laughed until we cried (you, more from pain, I think). I thought, then, that I had been silly before, because this was true love. What I thought was love before was nothing, compared to this.
We moved to New York, where we lived in a tiny apartment. The week we moved was a big week–we moved to a new city, I started my first grown up job, and we got pregnant, after a year and a half of trying. Pregnancy in the city was beautiful and raw and you were incredible. Pregnancy in busy season was tricky, but you were supportive. In so many ways, our year in New York was so difficult, so fraught with so many ups and downs. We had an amazing ward and incredible friends. We got another cat. We were certain that a baby would not change us, but would only add to the love in our house.
The year we had Oliver was the hardest year of our marriage. They say you have no idea how a baby will change things, and they’re right. The birth experience was, um, horrible. You were my rock through it. You didn’t show me you were scared, and you held my hand and made everything better. You mocked me mercilessly for accidentally, in my drugged and tired stupor, grabbing the obstetrician’s butt, perhaps as retaliation to me. I did throw up on you, after all. (I win!) We hit some pretty rough patches in the months after Oliver was born, and there were times that I thought maybe we wouldn’t make it through it all intact. I loved you more intensely than I had before, though, and we pulled through.
We moved in with your parents, back to Knoxville. I remember that summer with such fondness, as it was really a major turning point in our lives. Our little family–you, me, and Oliver–shared a room. Your family was so kind to let us live there, and it was not without difficulty to them, because I am probably hard to live with. We grew even closer as a couple while we were simultaneously trying to assimilate with your family and retain our ‘usness’. We doubted the LDS Church–you more than me–and we contemplated an interfaith family.
Driving away in the 24′ truck, I cried. There were challenges to living with your family–especially for someone as independent as me–but I loved them and knew I would miss them.
On to Maryland, our current stop. We moved here with a six month old son, with law school looming, an open future, ripe for the dreaming. You began and finished law school. I continued accounting. We got pregnant and had our feisty Hazel, marking another of the most difficult periods in our marriage. We left the LDS Church–you officially, me in practice. We laughed about the law; we supported each other in difficult times. You managed to find new ways to encourage me to be the best me. We’ve shed tears over the awesomeness of raising children together–these delightful, frustrating, beautiful creatures that are made of us. I love you so much, in ways that I can’t articulate without resorting to cliched analogies about nature or something.
You make me a better person. You inspire me. I want to be a better person for you, because of you. You make me feel like I am this beautiful, really cool person. When I’m having a bad day, when I feel unlikeable, when I feel sad– I think about you, and how you love me, and how lucky I am to have that, and how all of the rest is kind of irrelevant. You are the kind of father to our children that makes me want to live up to your example, making me a better mother. I no longer think that I couldn’t love you more than I do, because I have learned that with a relationship like ours, it keeps going. It keeps getting more. (Add your own adjective there.) Our fights are about deeper issues, and are more difficult to resolve, but our communication skills have improved, and we work it out. Our love is more passionate than ever before. I am more comfortable with you than with anyone else in the world. You are my anchor, and you are the wind in my sails. You are my best friend.
The last eight years with you are the best eight I’ve ever had. I wake up in the morning happy that you’re next to me. It’s the best way to start my day. We have plenty of life left to live–we have new adventures coming up (next stop–Chicago!). I truly, deeply love you. You are perfect for me. I can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together with our heads in the clouds.
Thank you. Thank you for being. Thank you for being you. And thank you for being mine. I love you, more than I’ll ever be able to express.
Happy anniversary, to my Bug.