Today I celebrate 15 years of marriage with my husband, Chris Lopez, Mr. Ever-Patient. Today I celebrate not only our marriage but the very fact that we had a choice to publicly declare our commitment to each other. A choice that, as recent events has shown, cannot be taken for granted.
I celebrate this choice today.
Over the last few months, we have watched almost every sunrise together with a cup of coffee.
This hour spent together has prevented us from checking out, from just going through the motions, from limited conversations to logistics and scheduling while shovelling our breakfast down our throats at the kitchen counter. It has become a preemptive strike to bickering, nagging, and becoming lazy with maintaining “us.”
The last five years of marriage were a bit of a blur, and the five before that were even foggier. Raising five littles can do that. There were stolen moments, coffee dates, and even a vacation away. There were arguments over money, risk-taking, and external events that were out of our control. Stops and starts. We would get reacquainted for a moment and then be thrust back into Divide and Conquer mode. Check-ins were more like check-ups, “Are you ok? Do you need a nap? Who can I take off your hands? What can I do to help?” Humour, team mentality, and lots of coffee helped us through. He was and still is a true partner in every sense of the word.
Each morning we arrive a little early before the sunrise. We chat about the events of yesterday and what is coming up for us. We hash out disagreements. We ask each other opinions about dilemmas and frustrations. We share moments of gratitude because we feel blessed to be able to do this, to share all these sunrises.
But when we see that glowing line of the sun about to rise, as if it is re-surfacing out of the water, we pause. We watch in silence the miracle in front of us, sipping our coffees. I’m not sure what my husband is thinking but I think about the life I have with him. I think about how much we’ve grown up together and how we are still willing to grow together. I am proud of him and proud to support him in what he is called to do for his work/life – his purpose.
I think about all those times that I wanted to walk away but he wouldn’t give up on me, on us. I had been afraid to be wrong, to be vulnerable through admitting I was wrong. That would require that I would have to trust that this person wouldn’t walk away. I couldn’t do that. I had spent my whole life scrapping it out – fighting against the world in order to survive. I would fight to be right at all costs. He saw that and patiently waited for me to see it all for myself. I have sometimes thought that I am beyond redemption. I have done too much damage and made too many mistakes in my life.
But he is there to tell me that I am more than my past and he loves me in my entirety – my fierceness and my sensitivity; my neuroses and my quirks; my dramas and my tragedies; my morbid thoughts and my sarcastic sense of humour.
And now, I finally believe him.
Happy Anniversary, babe.
100 scribbles…hurriedly writing the here and now.