Monday, December 26, 2011

Eight Years

Dear Husband,
As of today we have been married for eight years. That's almost ten. It has gone by so quickly and yet the milestones that we have created and the trials that we have forged have somehow cemented us together in such a deeper way that I can't even articulate how deep it feels. Can you believe that?!?! I, meeee, am speechless?!?!

You were and still are an intensely private person and I am learning to respect that...kind of. Maybe. So, instead of airing all of my syrupy and scandalous sentiment for you in front of the whole internet (No, I'll save that embarrassing moment for when we're out in public, even MORE fun!), I thought I would just take us on a little walk down memory lane by way of pictures and my running, snarky narrative. You like me best when I'm being "feisty", after all.

Look! Here is the only surviving picture of my 21st birthday (thank you, Kevin!). That is you I'm talking to on the phone (and what a large and cumbersome piece of technology that thing is!), you called to wish me a happy birthday. Awww, it's our first phone conversation. If only you could have seen then that I had drawn a handlebar mustache on the Pope before that was even a cool thing to do, you may have run for your life then and never looked back. We went on our first date the next day and we've pretty much been stuck like glue ever since. Scary Pope mustaches and all. After we expressed our mutual lurve for one another, I promptly told you in no uncertain terms that you had two years to decide whether you wanted to marry me or not. I wasn't going to waste the best years of my face on someone who was up in the air. And guess what? We all know what happened after that! My threat worked! You took me to the location of one of our first dates, deep in the woods of Brown County, far from public view (and that right there is just another demonstration of how personal and private your displays of undying love are), got on one knee and asked me to be with you forever. And I was all: Forevah evah? And you were all: Word. And then I think I cried. Even though I would have proposed (had I been the proposer ) on a step ladder, with a bull horn, in the midst of a flash mob I had arranged just for that occasion, I appreciated the importance of that place in the history of our relationship. It was the place amidst the trees and the birds where I ran screaming from a bee and almost broke my ankle because I was wearing platform heels in the woods. I thought for sure you wouldn't stick around after that great display of mental instability, but nope, you were laughing so hard I started laughing too. And then when you knelt down two years later, I had to stop you before your knee hit the ground because there was a pile of deer poop right underneath it. More spectacular history to add to the tales we tell our children...but wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. There were no children yet.

And so after that happened, this happened. I planned the bulk of our wedding in just five weeks so my brother could attend. We all thought he was going to be sent to Iraq and since he's my only sibling (you know you've got like seventeen, you could spare one or two) he had to be there. You were so adamant about not seeing me before we met in the church that when my dad drove me over there before the ceremony to drop something off and I saw you coming out of the building as we were pulling up, I screamed and hid as far on the floorboard as I could; my seventy three layers of tulle and organza sticking up like an unrolled roll of toilet paper out of the window. We danced, laughed, drank, and were merry. And then you took me away from my mother and father and I spent a large part of that first night crying, feeling like I had been torn apart from people I loved so completely, never to return. Oh, if only I had known then how many times I would return to that place.

HONEYMOON! We ate too much, drank too much, did too much other stuff and were generally exhausted from our hedonistic glutton-fest. As we lay on the bed on the last day of our honeymoon sharing the worst hangover I can ever recall from a $500 bottle of champagne (you'd think at that price it would leave you feeling like you had super powers and a six pack) we still managed to laugh and decided that if we ever started a band (because that's highly likely, right?!) that we would call it Champagne Hangover and I would play the triangle, or maybe the cow bell and you would wear tight leather pants and just generally be hot. It. Would. Be. Epic.

In true Jeremy and Jill (well maybe more Jill) fashion, we picked up a stray on our honeymoon. But how could you blame me? She was all a lonely, and she was SWEDISH! She stuck with us for most of the night through shenanigans untold and then somewhere in my search for J-lo and P-Diddy or whatever his name is now, we lost her. We will never forget you, Little Blonde Swede, and you are totally an honorary member of Champagne Hangover. You can play tambourine.

After all that excitement we had a couple of relatively quiet years. And then...

This happened. It pretty much shook the foundations of our world, but only momentarily. In the midst and shortly after that, so many dear people were lost. It was like we were being hammered into the Earth, each new blow striking us harder than the last. You never really know what a relationship is made out of until it faces a trial. And in the midst of all of the heartbreak, I learned that outside of God, you are my rock, and I am yours. In the darkest hours of our lives we held on to each other and held each other up. I'm sure that last paragraph was enough to make you mad, OVERSHARING! But, like picking up stray people along the way, it's what I do best. LOVE ME FOR IT, not DESPITE it!

The next couple of years were kind of a hazy, pizza colored blur. In a nutshell: We bought a house, it was so empty that we played rocket ship on the living room floor and laughed like little kids. We decided life was too short and uncertain to wait any longer and so I got pregnant. You helped with that. Thanks, umm, for that. I got really huge and unrecognizable, you still pretended to be attracted to me (LIES!), We had a baby, or rather I had a baby as you watched in horror what the female body is capable of. Yeah, that scarred me for life too, except only it literally did. TAKE THAT! TMI! Then so soon after that, you were deployed and I returned home to my parents...again. I got skinny again, you worked out a lot. And finally after eight long months:Reunited and it feels so good. There is your baby (and dude, she is soooooooo your baby) looking at her daddy for the first time in her memory. Small tears.
We became three instead of two and life changed in a much more solid and responsible kind of way. Funny how kids do that to you. We spent the remainder of our time in Mississippi becoming in large part who we are today: a family. We moved to D.C., and then we moved again to a little apartment the size of a shoe box. We rode the metro all the time and felt like big city kids. We saw the White House, The Smithsonisns, walked the National Mall and stared into the huge stone face of Abraham Blinkington much more than once. We endured blizzards, blindness, and the terrible two's and threes of our first child. And in the middle of it all, I remember laughing with you the most. Because even though after all those years when I look at you, I still find you undeniably attractive, that's not what keeps my heart a flutter (OK, so it is partly) it's the way we laugh together that I love the most. On the couch, making fun of the TV, in bed in the dark, laughing about our children, and in the car on any of the very, very long road trips we are so fond of taking. And somewhere in the midst of all the laughter and metro riding and temper tantrums...
I looked at you kind of like this, and then...
this happened. Our little lion. As I type this she is sitting in time out after she got a spanking for throwing a HUGE tantrum because I wouldn't give her a bowl of shredded cheese for breakfast. The scene resembled something like a patient trying to escape their ward on the floor for mentally ill people in a hospital and I was the orderly prying her fingers off of the fridge door as she kicked and screamed and hurled toddler sized obscenities at me. So sweet and so difficult. The child who made us rethink the prospect of having any more. Yet it's funny how despite all the challenges she presents to us, we still manage to laugh about it, because girl is FUNNY, even if she is so so bad. She does take after her mother, after all.

And now here we are, living on a beautiful island, in the middle of the sea. I will limit my public sap to this, and I will even put it in manly terms you can understand and appreciate: You are my best friend...something, something, grunt grunt, point at my heart. I also think you're hot even after all these years, more grunting, here have a beer. You let me buy you pink shirts and you even wear them! For that I will cook you meat over an open flame and pretend to find football interesting!

Seriously though, I know I get pissed off about your seeming inability to put your dishes in the dishwasher and put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket...I mean, C'mon! It's like two feet away from where you threw them on the ground! But in the big picture and in truth, I will pick your underwear up off the floor gladly for the rest of my life if it means we can keep laughing and sharing in this crazy, unpredictable life together. But...I will NOT empty your pockets before I wash clothes, I mean, I have to draw the line somewhere. Even I have standards.

One day, hopefully a very, very long time from now, we will be gone from this Earth. But because of this, in some way, we will live on through these little people we made. And they will continue to tell The Story of Us after we've gone. That's heavy and yet it gives my soul wings.

Thank you for choosing me to be your travelling companion on this journey. I'll wait until right before you fall asleep and then I'll whisper in your ear all of the other stuff I have to say, because I know just how much you love that. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!


mom said...

God, you're a good writer and I don't think it's just because I am your mom...made me laugh and cry!!

Aged One said...

Of course marriage is about love. But is is also about an incredible journey that is fueled by commitment, conviction, determination and staying power. But one of the greatest and most fun fuels for marriage is what you got girl! YOU GOT CHUTZPAH!

Amanda said...

You guys are such a great couple. Obviously I love and adore you, but I think Jeremy is pretty great too and I've always enjoyed hanging out with the two of you.

I remember when I first met you (and was shocked that you were so young and already married) and then I met Jeremy and (even though he didn't look it) he reminded me of this old grandpa letting his granddaughter go out at night. He was always so quiet, and you were always so, well, LOUD. ;) You complement each other nicely!

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