I read a book recently where the main character, Emma, met her true love, Jesse, in high school. They fell in love, left their small town on the east coast and created a new life full of globe trotting travels for themselves in CA. On their first anniversary, Jesse dies in a helicopter crash. Over the next 4 years, Emma moves back to her small home town and slowly, painstakingly builds a new life for herself- one that gradually included a new true love, Sam. A few months before Sam and Emma’s wedding, Jesse was found alive (think Castaway). Now a 30-something with a career she loves and life she adores, Emma has to figure out who her true love is.
I know, it’s sounds melodramatic- and it was. But it also posed great questions about who Emma wanted to be. Can she be the same person she was in her 20’s when she was married to Jesse- did she even want to be that person anymore? Could she and Jesse learn to love each other as they are now- not who they were 4 years and a life time ago?
The Hubs and I got married 15 years ago this month. We were just kids- I was a month past my 23rd birthday and he was 25. We had moved down to Washington, DC when I was 21, a few weeks after I graduated college so he could start his career with the Secret Service and I could figure out what I wanted to do with my life.
I think part of the reason that I found One True Loves such a compelling read is that I don’t have a set delineation between young Heather and grown up Heather when it comes to my love life. I was in it when I was young and I’m still all in today at 38. The Hubs and I didn’t get to figure out who we were as grown ups separately because we, in so many ways, grew up together.
There were growing pains- so many growing pains. I remember after one particularly argument, the Hubs yelling at me that I wasn’t the woman he married anymore. And he was 100% correct- I am not. Where I had once been career/studies driven, now my career is a vehicle that allows me to live the life that I want with my focus on my family. My energies are no longer on moving up the ladder, but on juggling 55+ hours work weeks, Little League and lacrosse schedules, tutors and dinner times. Family comes first and the rest is just noise.
But there is so much joy in growing into adults together. We both had fantastic parents- but there are still so much we had to figure out. How do you cook? Who cleans? How do you keep pets alive? Raise kids? Own a home? Find friends that you both like to hang out with? How to discipline kids? How to react to disappointment and loss? How to keep your sanity when things are nuts? How to stay connected with each other when life is so overwhelmingly busy? How to grow as a person while still being the person your spouse needs you to be?
We’re not pros and I have no idea what the future holds. We’re still learning and growing and finding our footing. Some days we are totally in sync and have all our priorities in line. Others it feels like there is an ocean between us. There are days I look at the Hubs and I’m just struck dumb by the love I have for him, tenderness literally washing over me. Days I get butterflies and can’t wait to dress up for a date night just to see the expression on his face. But there are just as many days where I grit my teeth when I see him- days when just the tone of his voice is enough to set me off. Days when sweatpants and a clean t-shirt seem perfectly acceptable, romance be damned. But most days? Most days are fun.
So- to my husband. Thank you for growing beside me these past 15 years. Thank you for still being able to make me laugh with just a look. Thank you for challenging me and making me be a better person. Thank you for being an amazing father to our kids. Thank you for putting up with me when the going gets tough and letting me hold you hand when we both know you hate to be touched. Here’s to many, many more years of marriage. I love you.