Friday, February 6, 2015

:: Me & Thee ::

When we were newlyweds, I used to lament the fact that someday, the newness of our love would fade. The infatuation, sparks, and excitement would wane and life would once again be mundane and predictable. I was 21 years old and you, 25. We hadn't dated long before marrying, and much of our growing up was done through those early years of our marriage. Those vows we took...I have to chuckle now. We had no idea what we were talking about. 

We had our share of setbacks. Two people learning how to hold onto love as it changed and aged, like relationships do. We learned how to manage a house, money, our jobs.  We hurt each other at times.  We spent money on frivolous things and spent every free moment with our friends - happy, and having what we thought was the time of our lives. And it was fun!  We learned which buttons to push, how to hurt each other and how we fought unfairly. There were a few years when we limped our marriage along, willing it to work out of sheer willpower. We tried so long to have a baby. We had almost three years of pain and heartbreak before we learned I was pregnant. I'll never forget the look on your face when I came out of the restroom holding that test. We cried and you held me for a long time. 

We learned how to be mama and daddy to three young kids.  We learned how to be more selfless and gracious to each other. But oh...still...those years were hard. Life just kind of took over.  Our relationship took a back burner as we at times desperately held together our family of 5. Still harboring resentment and hurt, we did the best we could. Almost two years ago, I felt our marriage was dangling by a thread. That was a dark and scary time for both of us. 

Last February, we sprinted into this new life in Portland, eager for change, rest and a chance to catch our breath. A year later, we are so different. With less noise and busy-ness, we look at each other and see each other again, as if someone took their hand and wiped the fog off the window. I know we both feel an incredible sense of relief. 

And now, here we are. I can honestly say that I am so glad we don't have the love we had back then - back when it was so new and I was dreading its inevitable shift.  What we have now is so much better. Sure, we have our moments. We still hurt each other. But it's becoming less frequent and there is just so much more grace, and we are quick to come back to each other.  It happened without me even noticing, really. It's like one day, something inside me just ignited.  I have fallen completely, madly and deeply in love with you. The you as a man. The you as a father and husband.  It's not a shallow, carefree kind of love. It's a love that has deep roots and reaches high. A love that has seen the bottom and has climbed its way back to the top.  It's a love that is solid and unwavering.  No. No, I would not go back. Ever. Because what we have now is what I've always wanted.

If I could go back to those early years, I would tell myself to hang in there.  The best is yet to come.  If we had to make vows to each other again, my vows would be so different.  Grace, forgiveness and understanding would be first on my list.  I'd vow to take better care of myself from here on out - because I know that's what you want me to do.  I'd vow to be better at praying for you daily.  I'd also vow to look for ways to better honor you and make you feel special and appreciated.  I'd vow to tell you more often about how much you mean to me.  Not just on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.  I'd vow to focus on what's important and not worry so much about the small things.

I don't tell you enough how much I admire you. Some of the qualities that drive me the most insane are what make you as amazing as you are. You have so much integrity. I always know I'll get the truth from you, even if it hurts to hear at times. You're dedicated, driven and purposeful. The way you manage your new job astounds me. You're reliable, steadfast and intelligent. And you are so handsome that I stare at you a lot. You're an amazing dad. You're talented and gifted.  All of this makes up for your stubborness. :)

Thank you for being such a great provider.  For always being financially wise and faithful. Thank you being so good at what you do that it brought us to Portland.  We love it here and I'm so proud of you. I hope our boys grow up to have all of the same qualities I admire in you. 

Lastly, Thank you for loving me. It hasn't always been easy. I'm equally as stubborn (you would argue that I am more so), emotional and opinionated.  Thank you for never leaving me.  And thanks for being my best friend. 

I love you so much. Happy birthday. And I meant it when I told just get better with age. I would take the "us" now, compared to who we were ten years ago. Life is just getting started!

Paris 2003