When we met nine years ago, I never would have thought we’d pack two children, a dog, six fish and two frogs into our little family. I also never would have thought we’d survive two trips to LEGOLAND, 734 renditions of “Yellow Submarine” or 862,000 hours worth of YouTube videos as our 3-year-old taught himself the ins and outs of every sport known to humankind.
(I also never would have thought I’d quit my academic job to work out of a desk in our bedroom, or that you’d start working from home soon after, turning us into insta-colleagues, but hey that’s another story.)
And yet I wouldn’t trade our current life for anything.
Yes, I gave up a lot of “freedom” in my old life—the ability to come and go as I pleased, the ability to stay up all night and hang out with whoever I wanted, whenever I wanted. And yet all of that pales in comparison to the love, joy and happiness I’ve gained in return.
Sure, things have been tough. In the span of just one year, we buried your dad and my sister-in-law, helped my mother bounce back from her broken hip and learned how to navigate Gabriel’s nut allergy. We fought like hell, cursed each other, ignored each other, hated each other, made up with each other and loved each other. And each time, we got a little stronger.
Marrying you and becoming a parent has been the single best and hardest thing I’ve ever done. In the span of a few short years, I’ve learned more about myself than I ever could have imagined. Like yes, I’m a total pain-in-the-ass but I also posses more love and staying power than I ever thought possible.
Remember how scared I used to be of commitment? How I flew to Serbia for 3 weeks right before we got married, then turned around and took off for a month-long residency in Vermont after we got back from our honeymoon? (I find it hard to imagine that now. That you never gave me any flack about it, either, just proves how awesome and accepting you really are. If the tables had been turned, I probably would have freaked out and said, “What the fuck! Why are you always leaving town? You must really not want to get married.”)
And yet, some part of you must have recognized how important that last-ditch need to assert my independence really was. And that by running away on a small scale, I wouldn’t have to run away on a large one.
Every day, I see marriages crumpling down around us, and I’m so thankful to not be a part of that carnage. I’m so thankful that neither of us ever actually picked up and walked away, despite the many times we’ve both wanted to.
So today I’d like to thank you for the amazing life that we’ve built together. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always been worth it.
Happy anniversary, babe.