I didn’t want to write a post on Facebook. I didn’t want to stand in the card aisle at Kroger reading card after card trying to find the one card some stranger wrote that came close enough to capture what I am trying to say to you so I can sign it as if it’s a stamp of approval. I also didn’t want to wait for a milestone year to say what I want to say right now.
This is Anniversary #17. Not 20, 25 or 50. But 17 complete, season cycles of marriage.
And here’s what I feel and think that I want to say about it.
With great love comes a great fear.
Not fear like basic realizations of let down. That’s not a big deal. There’s not a relationship in your life – kids, family, neighbors, coworkers, parents, etc. that won’t somehow disappoint you at some point or another during life. We just have to consciously decide that it’s worth it anyway. We are better people because of the relationship. The grace that we choose to give one another I believe makes us improve as overall individuals, too. I choose to focus on the majority of positives that outweigh the little stuff. That’s not the fear I’m referring to. This fear is big and I have to tell it to go away and not come back.
The fear that I’m referring to isn’t about you honoring our vows. Nope. I feel those promises are still solid as always.
It’s that fear that creeps in during those quiet, perfect moments like right now when I’m alone with my thoughts about you. I’m reflecting on all the experiences we’ve shared together that no other human on this planet can say they’ve witnessed. Our times. The times where we laughed, cried, complained, loved, dreamed and experienced between us that define the legacies of our individual existence.
You’ve seen me at my best and you’ve seen me at my worst as I have with you and here we still are, committed to being besties for the resties.
This fear is the fear that when I feel it I tell it to shut up, go away and try deeply not to allow it to live rent free in my mind. The fear that this life together as we know it someday, any day, will end.
Sure, there’s micro fears about truths that one day our kids will be turning into adults, becoming grandparents, moving again or that rumored empty nest loneliness that we hear a lot about. We know those chapters of our story are inevitably going to happen. I’m not fearful of aging. We’ve proven time and time again that we like each other just as much as we love each other, so there’s plenty of mountains left to climb and chapters to write even if it’s just the two of us day to day in our golden years. I can live with those fears. We got this.
It’s the big, hairy Sasquatch fear that is born after you realize how broad of a feeling spectrum true love creates because when you marry your absolute best friend, the exposed vulnerability of probable loss is just as deep of a dark well as the bright height of atmospheric love we’ve created. The vast emotional sliding scale of joy versus pain. The more I love you the more I don’t ever want us to live without each other side by side.
Sure. We don’t know what we don’t know which includes the fact that our time on earth is limited. One day we will be apart and mourn that gap of time until we reunite on the other side.
That’s it. That’s my fear. And that recurring pop up fear is told on the regular to get…out… of my head and heart. Nope. You’re not allowed here. Not. Today.
Today is a pretty damn good day to have a good day. I can’t worry about some day. It’s too scary.
Here’s what I remind myself to make it stop and go away. Fear and anxiety are created by the future of the unknown. Depression is caused by the past of traumas. The present is what we have, and it’s a gift to savor. We have something that I wish everyone could have and hope everyone experiences at some time in their lives. We are enjoying life which is pretty fun. The cup isn’t half full, it’s totally full. Anywhere with you is where I want to be.
I’m sad that not everyone has experienced this kind of love. I wish everyone could. It would be a better country if we all did. No matter what LBQTQRSVP you are searching to have an anniversary in, we all deserve a love like this.
I want everyone to have years of anniversaries that are based on a genuine feeling of security and confidence that remains strong no matter what we face in life. We are a team and there’s no end in sight to it. We look at each other as our partner together, always.
I love you. With every part of my being. I know you love me back. Same.
Sure, we recognize those superficial levels of frustrations we cause one another from anything like having to repeat yourself to forgetting to pick up the milk. Sigh. We let it go. Smile. That’s the motto. We both do it. This ain’t a competition of chores. It’s a partnership of teamwork.
But yes. That dang fear that pops up and reminds me that one day, inevitably, unavoidably, we will become that good ole Kansas song. Dust in the wind.
No matter how hard we try, how hard we preserve our health, how hard we fear it – no one but God knows when it will be our time to be called and/or what will cause it. It just is what it is. We don’t know which one of us will have to feel the instant, deep, life-altering grief that will occur at 45 or 95 when we know from that moment on, we will be apart until the other comes to the same fate.
So when I sit here, on our 17th anniversary of standing on an altar at St. A’s, just a couple of nervous kids, holding hands as we completed the universal ritual of making it official, I know without a second’s doubt, that I am ready to love you fiercely until our 77th anniversary (here’s hoping) of that special day.
Today I let that stinking fear realization spin in my head just a little longer than usual in an attempt to explain it– and then tell it to get the eff out of here.
I get back to our present day. A really great present day. A 6,205th day of waking up next to my humble, healthy, handsome, American-lovin’, talented, intelligent, faithful, funny, dedicated, strong man I get the absolute honor of calling my husband.
Happy Anniversary my friend. Here’s to replacing fear with gratitude. Replacing the unknown with security of what we have. Holding each other’s hand and jumping into these crazy, vulnerable waters together.
To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; I pledge my faith to you.
Love ya, Mark. From the moment we met and every moment since.
Thanks for reading my sappy, morbid love letter,
PS. Mark, I didn’t want to exchange cards this year because they already charge like, $7 for a basic one and my thoughts would’ve been longer than that (typical) so that means it would’ve been one of those thicker kinds for like, $10 which in happy hour language could be two beers on an outdoor patio together which is more fun. If it’s Roosters, then two beers each. You’re welcome. Cheers.