i want her to know how hard we loved. how fast we fell. i want her to know that we were crazy. that we were too young. that we would do it all over again in a heartbeat. someday i want her to love like her dad and i do. i want her to follow her heart and experience letting go to a crazy, fearless love. i want her to have our open hearts and never see love and family as secondary to anything else. i just hope it's when she is thirty. :)
i remember it distinctly but not in the same way that i do other memories. something about it feels hazey, soft, out of body. we came face to face and i will never forget the feeling i had. like i had met him a million times before. oh, it's you. we've met before. something so familiar.
sometimes i imagine that holding ruby for the first time will feel the same way. oh, it's you. we've met before. again, so familiar.
like somehow we all lived together in another time and space and were waiting to be together again, to be whole again.
i was eighteen the day i told him that i didn't want to date him anymore. i was so young. i was scared. i was afraid of loving him too much. i was reckless. inside of my own head and absorbed in my own issues. i didn't know what i was doing or who i was supposed to be. i felt like i needed to be alone to figure it out. but he wouldn't let me be alone. and we didn't stay apart long. we couldn't. i've never been able to stay away from him. gravity pulls us back together, back to where we are supposed to be.
i was nineteen the day he took me up to the water tower of the tiny town we were living in. snow was falling harder than i had ever seen. i turned around and he was on his knee. i didn't know much about life. i still hadn't figured out who i was supposed to be. i was still lost. i didn't have a whole lot to give. i knew i wanted to be the person that he thought i was. the version of me that i could see in his eyes. the way that he looked at me... it was almost like he saw someone that i would become. so, i decided it would be okay if we were lost together.
i was twenty on the day we said "i do". it was a beautiful day, and i carried sunflowers down the aisle to meet him. he graduated college the day before. with his job offer to teach in seattle, we packed up the rest of the belongings from our apartments into the back of our beat up car. we drove along the border of Washington and i watched as wild sunflowers danced across the terrain of the hillside of the highway edge. we had our wedding gifts, some mismatched furniture and a shoe box filled with just enough cash to pay our first month of rent with a little to spare for food. i remember looking over at him as he drove and the sun went down on my first day as a wife. i kept thinking, this is it. this is all we have. this is our life now. everything we have is in this car.
i was still twenty when we found our first obstacle of marriage. i knew something wasn't right with my body. i wasn't sure what it meant. i went to the doctor and they gave me answers that changed me. it was benign. but it was there. a small tumor in my brain. in the weeks following we found out that it wasn't harmful to my general health. i wasn't going to die. what it was doing was changing my hormone levels. i would be okay. it couldn't hurt me. but i didn't feel okay. i felt...broken. i felt like it could forever change the other half of my heart. one half was for nick, but the other was being saved for a baby. i felt in my gut that the road to our baby was broken. but he knew it just had a few more turns. he never looked at me differently. he wouldn't let me wallow or pity or go to dark places of what if. i believed from that day that i found out about my tumor that we would never get pregnant. he believed we would. he was right, as he usually is.
i was twenty-one when he convinced me that i was smart enough and good enough to go back to school. i enrolled in college. my ideas began changing. there were late nights and tears over math homework. he was there, steady and calm. my voice of reason, my study buddy, my editor, my support. i said i wanted to quit a time or two (or ten). he never let me lose sight of my goals.
i was twenty-two when i began completely changing; he was changing. we were growing, as people do in their twenties. we moved from the suburbs of the city to the heart of the city. we were surrounded by people all the time and life became faster and slower at the same time. my ideas on everything... the way i ate, the way i dressed, the way i talked, believed, acted, it all seemed to be different. i looked at him one day and realized how much we had both changed. we hardly seemed like the same girl and boy that promised each other the world a few years before. but i also realized that though we had changed, we had done so together. by some miracle, we had grown seperately yet our roots seemed to intertwine, planting us firmly together through everything we had been through. we continued on this path of growth, parallel and merging when we needed to. we grew and grew. we made friends, we lost friends. we grew in our educations, we dove into our faith. we stayed out too late, drank too much, and laughed really hard. a lot. we learned to cook, we traveled a little when we could, we dreamed of things to come.
we are changing again, and i feel it. i feel the pull, the push, the loss of something that was. i guess loss can't be the word for it. it is just simply change. we will never be the same. but as i know we do, we change and we grow and we get better. we have grown up together and i love him with such a weight that it buries me. i have never been afraid of that, and neither has he. i guess we've always known that the sum total of what we are is better than we could have ever been on our own.