ten years

Dear Husband,

Ten years ago today I put on my white dress and veil and met you in that little church you just had to get married in. The one all our friends said would immediately go up in flames as soon as the two of us walked in. They thought they were so funny. We walked in that church. We did the thing. You made an honest woman out of me, and I? Well I finally married the guy. The one. That guy that I had been waiting for since I saw Sixteen Candles at seven years old. Don't laugh, no matter what you think these days, you have always been my first choice. You were the one I ran back to, not once, not twice, but three times. You were the one I held out for, held my breath for. I know. It doesn't seem that way now, but I really did. I really do. Still to this day I wake up in a panic after dreaming that I'm back in college and you're not returning my phone calls... Then I notice the two kids in our bed and all is right with the world again. But in case you still don't believe me, let me refresh your memory.

We met on a Friday night. It was sweltering in late July, and for so many reason I did not want to go to that party at Patty and Danielle's. But Lauren made me because she said I couldn't sit around and mope at home on a Friday night. I went, just to be supportive, and just to show I was against the entire thing as a whole, I wore hat, minimal make up, and a tank top I'd bought at a Santa Cruz thrift shop my last year of high school. I was at that party no more than twenty minutes when you walked in, fresh off your important wireless company job. I didn't know that then, I just saw you all dressed up in your mandarin collar and Clooney hair cut, and wondered, Who invited this guy? On my way out for a beer run I smiled at you and you gave no reaction at all. So I commented, "Who died?", and I think I threw you off. Upon my return from said beer run you said, "Nice hat", and I knew you were exactly the person I should be hanging out with at the party, but I stayed with my group of a good while.

What I didn't know then, but I know now, is that we were the two least likely people to fall in love. I was post break up, you were way past serious relationships. I felt like I was on a time table for love and romance, and you had no desire to reestablish the word "girlfriend" into your vernacular. No matter, there we were, acting like assholes to each other because I guess we both thought, if I can get this person to hate me, I won't have to admit that I like them. It was pretty much love at first sight.

We spent the first semester of my senior year at Fresno State ignoring the obvious. I was freshly twenty one and you taught me the importance of social drinking. You taught me how to have fun again. I loved those nights that we just sat in a bar and drank, getting to know one another, but not too much for fear we'd fall, but slowly we did fall. I let go first, then you, and we tumbled into a place so scary and uncomfortable we (actually, me) ran. I did. I ran the first time. Because I was so afraid you would say, "no", if I asked if you could love me back. My heart could not take it, so I ran.

On a side note, I still should have taken you to formal that semester. You should have said no to that other girl. Just my opinion. Also I should have gone solo, but my pride. Oh my pride just couldn't stand it.

We spent the spring semester on the edges of the obvious. We'd see each other at a party. We'd run into each other on campus. You'd call me at work, or when you knew I was in class. Leaving me voice mails. I got an email that Valentine's Day from you, just saying that we should hang out soon. There was a party soon, something so non threatening, as to ignore the fact that we missed each other so damn much. And then I gave in. That night we went out as friends, just to get some drinks. We weren't even drunk, just high on nerves and anticipation. You offered to drive me home, and I simply said I'd rather go home with you. So, we went.

We became so tangled that semester. Never coming up for air. Staying in on Saturday nights, watching movies and SNL, walking to get beer in the warm spring air. I'd tell you I had to study, and you'd tell me to do it at your place. We found that comfortable place where we didn't have to fill the spaces with words or actions. We could just be. Before we knew it, it was summer and we filled our days and nights with each other. I was happy and you were too, and for the first time it felt real. Like a real relationship. But it didn't last.

With the fall came the break up. We were just too serious. I wanted it all. I wanted the ring and the commitment. I wanted all of you and all your time. And you didn't want to feel. You just wouldn't admit how serious this was becoming. So you ran. Fast and swift. It was over before I could catch my breath.

I went through all the scenarios in my head. I looked for ways to catch your attention. I walked the routes I  knew you would walk on campus. I went to the same bars on the same nights. I actively ignored you as if you would notice. I spent the winter mourning the relationship, drowning my sorrows every night of the week, binge watching law and order before people really binge watched TV. And I waited. I waited for your call.

And you called. And I did my best to play it cool. But I wasn't, because I was back to you in less than five days. We rushed. We rushed into it. We set no boundaries. As you moved closer to graduation, and I spent my days working, as we drifted further and further apart. But every time we talked about breaking up, we just couldn't. It's not what we really wanted. And so we fought. We left each other in bars. We threw drinks at each other, and didn't call each other. And I was so mad because I thought we were done. I thought we were through. And we almost were.

We found our way back that summer. By Thanksgiving you were back, one hundred percent, as we worked though our fears and our issues. But they would crop up again. I would play the marriage card, I would in act time lines you were never going to follow. We'd spend the next few years watching everyone couple up and marry. We'd save our money and buy our first home, while you were in Alaska no less. You came home from a six week stint working in the frozen tundra to a "new" to us house with old furniture. And again, we'd still fight over boundaries and rings and why the hell weren't we getting married?

But we did. You even went the old fashioned, Alex P. Keaton route and asked my Dad if you could marry me. For some reason that is one of my favorite things about you. I never thought I'd marry a man who would ask. I never even knew I wanted to marry someone who would ask. I ruined my own proposal, I didn't want to go out of town or out to dinner for that matter. It makes sense as we are not the "big proposal" type. My proposal was perfect, I was tired and pissy, and you were fucking fed up with my ass, so you got down on one knee outside our half bath in that tiny shit hole of a house. It's so damn poetic, I can't stand it. and that is not sarcasm, that's the truth.

We married. We did the thing. A year and a half later we bought a bigger house and about nine months after that we became parents. That's when all this shit got real. I spent five years trying to convince you to love me and marry me, and that is cracker jack in comparison to what we have to live through now. This parenting shit is hard. So hard, that it makes our marriage hard. But we do hard John Crutchfield. The mess and the chaos is where we thrive. How bored we would be if we just agreed on everything. What would we do for fun if we couldn't talk shit to each other or argue over politics or religion or the Kardashians? And what the hell would we do without these kids? We would be so bored. Oh sure, we'd probably go to Cancun or Hawaii two times a year, but we'd get sick of each other and be stuck without little buffers to lighten the mood. You know I'm right.

Here's the thing. You think I'm not happy here. In this life we've made these last ten years. It's so far from the truth it makes me want to cut you. But I understand. I'm not always easy to live with. I complain. I have pity parties. Some days I don't want to be touched. I don't want you to grab my boobs while I cook dinner. I don't want to hang out in the garage with the neighbors, I just want to watch some Grey's Anatomy. I'm sorry. I'm sorry that sometimes you're not the first priority. I'm sorry that sometimes I really don't want to have sex. I'm sorry that most nights I'd rather sleep. I'm sorry that I don't fight as hard as I used to, but that's what happens when you are comfortable. You don't think you have to fight anymore. Because the comfort feels good and it feels right.

It feels like I've fought for you and this relationship for so long. Would it be crazy to say that I just want to live? I want to live this life with you and be comfortable. I want to live this life with you and be happy. I don't want to be anywhere else. I want to be right here, with you, and the kids, and I want to relax. We don't have to fight so hard anymore. I'm right here. I've been right here the entire time. I waited for you. I held my breath for you. I don't need sweeping romantic gestures, I just need you, dummy. I've always just needed you. Sure I've take you for granted. Sure I've pushed you away when I'm in a funk. And I will always take my shitty days out on you. But you knew that. None of my bitchiness is new. In fact you should find comfort in it.

It's been ten years since I walked down that aisle. I wasn't even nervous. I knew. I had know all along that this was the place I had always wanted to be. Still after ten years of marriage, by your side is where I've wanted to be all along. Even when I'm hangry, tired, and PMSing, it's always been you.

It will always be you.

Happy Anniversary, Crutch. 

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