Today marks four years since we stood in that bright chapel and committed to life together. This anniversary seems momentous, because it feels like the first where we aren’t newlyweds. I have always adhered to the idea that you are newlyweds until you have children, until you hit that milestone that drastically changes your lifestyle even more than marriage. We are going into this anniversary way more tired, way more distracted, and way more happy than any of the three that preceded it. We will make it out to dinner tonight, thanks to kind friends who babysit, but we happily accepted the 6:30 reservation, and won’t spend the whole weekend celebrating like we have sometimes in years past. That’s ok. Life is full now, but it is good.
I always write a blog post on our anniversary, some sort of reminiscence mixed with whatever realization about marriage I am reveling in at the moment. On year one I proudly rebuked the idea of soul mates, which means that James still has people address him as “not the soul mate.” On year two I waxed poetic about a love that is useful and durable like cotton, weaving into this image all that we learned in the fires of 2014, which was not our easiest year. Last year I was able to compile a lengthy list of the true and the beautiful that I have learned from marriage.
And this year?
This year I am writing bog posts in stolen snatches of naptime when I really should be working on my dissertation. Henry spit up in my hair and down my back yesterday and I did not even clean it off because it had dried by the time I could actually get to it and it just seemed pointless. I somehow wore my pants inside out all day on Wednesday. The light-bulbs in our dining room are slowly burning out one by one and I just can’t seem to get it together enough to change them. I have no clue how I will go back to cooking balanced meals when we finally reach the end of the food that people have been bringing us, which will probably happen sometime next week. We have been dangerously close to running out of all sorts of household essentials for weeks now, but never fear – there are 4 types of ice-cream in our freezer.
This is life this year. And it is messy and hard and so, so good.
And so often, instead of addressing all the things in that paragraph that need addressing, James and I just sit on the couch instead. We watch stupid shows, or talk about all of Henry’s varied accomplishments of the day, or we tickle Henry’s tummy over and over, trying to provoke the smiles that he just started doing this week. We eat on the couch in shifts, one of us holding Henry while the other shovels in food, because even though we know that we could put him down – we just can’t do it. We worry about all that the future holds for our world and our kid. And at the end of these exhausting, messy, disorienting, and mundane days, I look over at that man and I am filled with a deep and abiding peace that he is my forever partner.
The other night we decided that it was time for Henry to start sleeping in his own room. We set up the Rock-n-play in there and put him down, and he quickly fell asleep. We too headed into bed, congratulating ourselves on our success…only to sit in bed fretting about him sleeping a whole 15 feet away. I know that he was fine, but we missed him, and so we finally decided to delicately move him back into our room by just picking up the whole Rock-n-play, carrying it across the hall while we bobbed in time to mimic its rocking. Henry growled at us in his sleep, and we stifled hysterics as we almost folded the whole thing in on him before settling it back in its proper place beside the bed. I was able to then easily fall asleep, there between my two boys.
This is life this year. This is our marriage this year. It is ridiculous, and full of impulse decisions that come from a whole lot of emotions, and it is so, so good.
And so, instead of an articulate post about marriage and love, I just have this:
If I had to do it again, I would choose James. Every single time. There are many things I no longer know at the end of the day, many things that are slipping out of my fuzzy sleep deprived brain these days.
But I do know that one, beautiful truth, every minute of every day. It is enough.
Photos by Whitney Neal Photography.