Anymore, so much of who we are is tangled up in each other. 5 years of dating and 33 years of marriage pushes the clock incredibly close to 40 years of us. I’ve been with you so much longer than I haven’t. Through the years there has been a part of me that has become lost in that. At times I’ve fought it, but more and more I’ve accepted it. Love is a tradeoff and I’ve traded some independence for an awful lot of comfort. It hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been close enough. It’s been surprising at times, this marriage of ours, but it has also been consistent and predictable.
In some ways we couldn’t be more opposite. You’re the practical, reliable one. I’m the dreamer. You are generally quiet, I could talk for days. I push you, you pull me back in. There are interests and talents we do not share, but have learned to appreciate in one another throughout the years. The seasons are interesting with someone who can always teach you something new. To me, the best part of my evening is bouncing ideas, opinions, stories and news back and forth with you. But like I said….I could talk for days.
We’ve got a lot of time for that now. It’s just us. For real. What was once a loud, busy and chaotic household is now only sometimes filled with their voices, the voices of our children, and then only for a few hours at a time. Our kids have grown up. All three are solidly entrenched in the lives that sent them beyond our front door and this house has permanently become a dwelling for two. At times I miss the chaos, but often I don’t. We can both be filled up and content with the quiet. I like where we are at and I still like that it is with you. In fact, I can’t imagine it not being with you.
You have provided in a way that has given me the chance to live life on my own terms and that has been a huge gift. At my best I have embraced it and at my worst I have squandered it away. I’d like to think that I have given you as much, but feel that I have fallen short. I do an inventory of our life together and many pieces of it I have not been brave enough or devoted enough to tackle. I am still banking on the fact that there is plenty of time left to accomplish all the undone things, to DO more, THINK less. I do cook though and I joke that your gift of time to me has paid off for you because it gives me the time to nourish you with sustenance, (sometimes welcomed, sometimes eyed suspiciously), and all good things, (like my opinions and trivial facts, and interesting stories).
Recently we were challenged with a really hard few weeks. I’ve always told the kids to find the good in a bad situation. There certainly isn’t much good in the death of a parent, but having each other to lean on as we faced illness, decline, mortality, and the emotion of watching a life in this world end was something to cling to when the days felt impossibly hard to get through. And the aftermath…well we will get through that together too.
There will be more hard times. I’m not brave so I am scared of them and long to dream them away. Our incredibly good life will be visited by the sadness, sorrow and pain that is just as much a part of a life-well-lived as the joy and laughter. I’m big into gratitude lately and want to believe that that is the best way to get through the trying times. And so, I start with being grateful for you, for the life we’ve made together, for the absolute promise of “for better or for worse.” and for our unending devotion to us.