Three years ago today I was cinched into a skin tight chiffon bodice, nervously swirling my long train, and desperately trying to maintain a modicum of composure. I was breathing. Kind of. I was attempting to keep the wandering attention of two confections of copious white tulle under the age of four. I was waiting for my song. Because damn it, I wasn’t walking out until my bloody song was played. I shot another look at my father who was making tiny but furious gestures to an unseen agent on said mission. Finally those first heady strains of Etta’s “At Last” floated out of the hall and my heart took wings. It wasn’t just that I had been planning this moment for the past year and wanted it to be perfect (sure, that too…I’m nothing if not a perfectionist), but that this song spoke to me volumes more than the traditional bridal march. Not only is it gorgeous, it seemed most appropriate since after almost eight years of dating, including over a year-long engagement, I was at last marrying the man I loved. I heard a collective sigh and muffled chuckle as the two little flower girls tottered out, haphazardly depositing fistfuls of petals along the fern lined aisle. My dad offered his arm and we stepped into the hall. Suddenly, I didn’t here the music. Walking up that aisle I had to blink through unexpected tears, but it was all bright, so bright and beautiful. And there was Jacob, like the crisp center at the end of a telescope, positively glowing with love and happiness, visibly struggling with huge emotion, mirroring back what I felt. To that man, I say this now:
My darling. It has been a serious 10 months. Yes, I know part of you is wondering: what the hell did we get ourselves into? Joking aside, wow, just wow, right? A few weeks ago, my mom reminded us that this is no small thing, this raising a child; what it does to a marriage. Of course she’s right (mothers usually are). Sure, everything considered, we’re swimming along just fine. But there was no way we could have prepared for this, those long months ago as we lay cuddled in bed, marveling at the seemingly unending expanse of my belly and wondering who was inside, what they had in store for us. Such a crazy, wonderful experience it has been already, this journey of parenthood with you. Sometimes I do wonder: where is the room for us, for our marriage? People always say, “don’t forget to date your spouse!” Ha. Ha. Ha. When exactly? But I’m finally beginning to understand something else now. Something important. This is in no small part the expression of our marriage for a time. This incredible, strange, humbling, joyous, bewildering, terrifying, love fest of raising a child together. Why should we fight that? Why try to escape that? It’s so beautiful and shows me so much beauty in you. In us. I know you know, because I see you papa.
I want to say thank you. Thank you for working so hard alongside us during Q’s birth. Thank you for being our protector, our buffer, our unflagging champion in the hospital and afterwards (did y’all know that Jacob lost 10 pounds during our 4 or 5 days in hospital? Yeah.). Thank you for bonding with our little man from the first. Thank you for always making me coffee in the mornings. That’s no small thing. Thank you for making dinner when I’m too exhausted to even look at the fridge. That’s even bigger. Thank you for your patience as I learn how to communicate my needs as a mother, and how to give you room to be a father. Thank you for keeping your sense of humor (most of the time), and helping me to not take everything so damn seriously. Thank you for still commenting on how good my butt looks, even if you’re lying. But thank you also for not being a sex-crazed maniac, even when you have every right to be. Ahem. Thank you for working so hard for our family. I mean working, even when I know you’re sick of it all, and would rather be playing with your tools in the basement. Thank you for always having time to run the baby downstairs, change over the laundry, grab another shirt, a bib, or whatever. Thank you for learning how to make tiny human food interesting, and how to get it into his mouth. Thank you for taking on however much of the night shift the current situation requires. Without hesitation or complaint. And then still making me coffee in the morning. Thank you for not taking my grumping personally. Thank you for taking the dog for a walk, with the baby strapped to your front. Again. Thank you for the thousand and one things you do all the time, that you may wonder if I notice. I do. Thank you for knowing that this version of us isn’t the only version. Thank you for another year of marriage (and over ten years together). I can’t wait for all the years to come, and all the strange and beautiful, light, bright evolutions of this bond.
I love you. I love you. I love you.