Yesterday was our seventh wedding anniversary. Whew.
Some people say the seventh year is the hardest. There is a rumor, not sure how accurate, about how most divorces occur around the seven year mark. I know of at least one marriage that dissolved on that timeline. And then there's the "Seven Year Itch" and all that.
But we made it. Today is day one of year eight. Eight's always been a lucky number for me.
It is not that I am entirely surprised we made it, but I am relieved. This has been by far the hardest year of our marriage. The year where I understood at a very frightening level why so many marriages don't make it.
But it has paradoxically also been the most blessed and fruitful year of our marriage. The year where I understood better than ever why "we" work and wanted more than ever for us to make it.
We grew so much this year, we faced so many parts of each other and ourselves that were painful and sometimes ugly. We cried. We screamed. We threatened and we ran.
But we also held each other and held onto each other. We fought for one another. We loved and fell in love more deeply. We welcomed our son into the world and loved him with all of our hearts. We became a family. We weathered a long and difficult labor together, we continue to endure sleepless nights and exhaustion together. We have grieved together and rejoiced together. We have learned not to take ourselves too seriously. We have laughed till we cried. We have come out stronger and better for it, together.
This year my husband held me while I swayed and moaned and sweated and yelled, laboring to birth our son. As he held me, as I buried my head in his neck, the smell of him took me somewhere deeply comforting and safe. Somewhere soft and strong. Even now, so many months later I can recall that sensory memory and crawl right back into it, into that smell, that safety, that warmth, that knowledge that right there in that moment nothing could harm us, nothing could separate us. There, where I could rest. Even in the midst of the hardest work I would ever do - in him, in his presence, I could rest.
Last night I made a picnic for us. We dropped Zane at a friend's house and headed for the park. It was raining as we walked with our picnic in hand but we didn't hurry. We made our way to a spot under a tree where the rain was just barely sprinkling through the branches. We ate leftovers in the park while we looked into each other's eyes and talked about the year. More than any expensive dinner, more than any exotic romantic vacation, that moment (like the moment in labor) seemed filled with the essence of "us" and I was grateful for the simple presence of my husband eating on a blanket with me. I was grateful like you would be for water on a hot dry summer afternoon when you have walked a very long long way.
Before we even began "trying" to become parents we had "those" discussions. The ones where you wonder how you will fit a kid in your already busy and hectic lives. You wonder what will give and whether you'll be ok with the compromise. Back then I would hope out loud that parenthood would help us to distill our lives, prioritize, and simplify. I hoped that we would find ourselves taking time for the things that really matter and letting the rest go. I hoped it would slow us down in a good way.
Last night was conformation that my hopes had been realized. We didn't have to try so hard. We didn't have to over-analyse. Things did not need to be "just-so" in order for us to connect and find romance and luxury. A damp picnic in the park, surrounded by hungry geese was enough.
More than enough.
Happy Anniversary Mr. Spicy, I love you more now than I did when I married you and I cannot wait to share more of this life with you. I am grateful for you with all of my heart and soul. Thank you.