One day, this will all be over.
There won’t be a bin in the corner for dirty diapers. There won’t be a headache from not getting enough sleep. There won’t be runny noses to wipe, or random toys to clean up, or little hands we need to reach down and hold as we cross the busy parking lot.
There will only be us.
We won’t be the same as we were before kids, either.
We won’t be naively carefree or as loose with our optimism. Having kids has changed us, at our innermost selves, even if we are predominantly still the same people who met and fell in love as 14-and-15-year-old teenagers.
My love for you is deeper. (Cheesy but true.) My love for you has settled into something that I’ll sadly admit I occasionally take for granted. I try not to. (But I know I do.)
There were times when we fought or took out our anger on each other (not many on your part, mostly on mine—the fiery one). There were instances when we felt like it was us against the world, and we felt the weight of it on our too-narrow shoulders. There were many times when we held each other at night, after the kids had gone to bed, and life’s difficulty had thinned from less of an all-consuming ocean wave and into more of a slight lapping on the beach; we would cuddle and remind one another that our love has only grown through it all, and that we are stronger through these challenges.
We always make it through, because we want to. Yet some challenges in life aren’t avoidable. You have never been one of those challenges, for me.
You have always been the person I know will hold me when I cry, cuddle me when it would be easiest to shove you away, to tell me that everything will be alright, and not because it falsely comforts me to say this, but because you will be there to hold my hand through anything, and in that there is comfort enough.
You stand up to me when I need you to. (I’ve long said that a strong individual needs a strong and steady partner, not an unnecessary “yes.”) You tell me to move forward from a stale emotion I’ve been wallowing in for one day too long, and to get up and move my body when I could easily have stayed in bed and pulled the covers over my head instead. And then, every night, no matter what our day has been like—regardless of moods and work and child-rearing struggles—you hug and and kiss me and tell me good night.
We need to appreciate those we fall asleep and wake up to. We need to remember that other people have the ability to hurt our feelings or create temporary disharmony in our lives, but, more, we need to acknowledge the permanence of what we have created, together.
You are the person I laugh with the most. You are the person who “gets” me. You are the person who knows me best, who my silliest and most wondrous adventures have been shared with, and you are the one I want by my side for all that I know is ahead.
While I won’t pretend to know what lies beyond a lifetime, I know for certain that I recommit to you every day—and I recommit to us.
I chose you at 14 when I met you. I chose you at 25 when I married you. I choose you over and over again.
This means communicating when I would prefer not to talk. It means forgiving you and myself and not rehashing problems from yesterday. It means kissing and making time for each other, especially when tired and the day was long. It means paying attention to all of these wonderful things we share rather than dwelling on our flaws. It means I consciously recognize that I choose you, and that you choose me too.
Life is often uncertain, unfair and unpredictable, but this is not: that I choose you.