Saturday, August 30, 2014

to my darling husband, for seven years

So, Mr. Sánchez. We've arrived at seven years of marriage. Who would've imagined that here we would be--that May evening in 2004 when you walked into my life? I was prepping the English class for that night, and in you walked: tall, dark and handsome--just as I knew you'd be. You looked so...ahem... fine in your baseball hat... and it made me smile when you hooked it over your knee after you sat down. You seemed nice, friendly and somewhat reserved.

That summer passed in a flurry of soccer games, English classes and passing "hellos" at work. I felt that you were a bit stand-offish. We laughed a lot together, when you would come early and leave late from the English classes--I couldn't understand why you had such a hard time grasping the grammar concepts I was teaching. ;)

About a week before you left, you told me you liked me... and we decided to remain at "friends status"... and see how it went. Hundreds of emails, phone calls, letters and texts later... we found ourselves seeing each other again: 1.5 years later. At that point, we decided we wanted to be a "couple"... and it was official. We didn't know it would be another 1.5 years before we'd see each other again. Each time we'd see each other, it would feel like a dream. Like we were floating. Like it was too good to be true.

The 3rd visit was about 6 months later, and it was when we became engaged.... 3 years after meeting... in 2007--we were married! (If you, reader,  want all the mushy, gushy details... I wrote our full story, starting here.)

As we know now, the wedding isn't the finish line, it's the beginning. I don't know if you felt it--but to me the honeymoon was more tense than I thought it would be. It was so quickly obvious how little time we'd spend physically together and how many opposites there were in our backgrounds and personalities. We had our first "fight" in the car on the way to Rocky Mountain National Park--winding through some of the most beautiful roadways we'd ever seen. These experiences worried me, made me anxious. What was going on??

Through our seven years together... we have had more than one time our personalities or preferences clashed, more than one day of moody silence, more than one sleepless night as we both struggled with our selfishness and independence. Becoming one is work. Putting another's needs before your own is work. Encouraging and upholding the other when they have offended you is work. Forgiving, growing and allowing growth--these are the things that hold a marriage together. And... they are hard work. 

We've had many highs and lows in our relationships... times when we feel like best friends, times when we feel like we are from opposite and competing planets. Times when we can't wait to see each other, and times just hearing the other breathe is like nails on a chalkboard. But, you know what? Now there's a comfortablity there. Now, when I feel like we are looking down on the world from our rainbow mountain of love, joy and unity--I know to treasure and enjoy the time... because it won't last forever. It can't. We aren't built for perfection, and we don't live in a perfect world. So, now I try to engrave each kind gesture and selfless act of love on my heart and memory--so that when the lows come, I don't despair. Because, the lows do come. Stress comes, fatigue comes, cranky kids come, selfishness is just one act away. So, the lows don't alarm or depress me anymore. (Or--should I say--as much?) I feel like it's the same for you. I feel that in the lows, there is a much larger blanket of grace that we both throw over the moment. So, if maybe in the moment we don't feel like two mystical lovers galloping away into the sunset... we both just give each other the space and grace to be crabby and silent, without building it into a something it's not. I'm so grateful for that!

Thanks, baby, for all the grace and patience you've given me these last seven years. 3 pregnancies (with all their emotional and bodily craziness!)... multiple moves... changes... growth... mommyhood... all these things beg for grace, and you've given it. You've stood by me as I cried... and as I laughed until I cried. You've watched me go from giddy with excitement to silent and moody within the space of an hour (maaannnnyyyy times)... and--although I know your steady, practical self doesn't really get the need for the ride--you've given me space to soar and to crash as needed... and been there to help put the pieces together. What would I do without your steady, practical way?

Your wisdom is a deep, slow wisdom. You don't often come to snap decisions, and you rarely look at things from one perspective. I know this comes from an interweaving of the tapestry of your life experiences, and you constantly teach me to see things differently. You have lived through harder more challenging things than many can imagine--and yet... they have not embittered or jaded you. You remain a hopeful, visionary dreamer... open to new people, to new beginnings and to taking chances. I admire that about you.

I have no idea how someone can have such a wide and varied set of skills and knowledge. I don't know many people who both know how to snap and chicken's neck and de-feather it... and can explain at length involved theories and techniques of engineering. That can both deduct what is wrong with a vehicle by taking in visual and auditory clues... and can milk a cow and work a slingshot. You are always learning, always wanting to know how things work. It's amazing.

And, hello. Can we talk about your sweetness? I mean, seriously. You give me the best, most amazing long massages when I know you've had a long, exhausting day and would much rather be getting a head-start on your sleep. You are tender with your kiddos, and you find ways to serve us all that I know aren't really in your "comfort zone" or preferred area of labor. Thank you!

You are humble, giving, steady, unhurried, strong, resourceful, thrifty, inventive, witty, loving, servant-hearted, hard-working... basically: I hit the jackpot when I decided to say yes to you--and, well buddy. You're stuck with me. Sorry.

I love you more every year. Happy 7 years, amor!

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