Thursday, February 14, 2013

Nine years, Y'all!

He's whispering in my ear: "where's the beer?"
Yes, we got married on Valentine's day. Don't judge- I swear I'm not really a hearts and roses and kitten farts kinda girl, it just worked out that Valentine's Day was a good day for us to (finally) settle on. That said, it has made for an anniversary date that is epically easy to remember, and I will admit there is something sort of beautiful about celebrating our love while everyone else is celebrating theirs. So today we have been married for nine years. NINE years. We have now been married longer than even my longest phases: my vegetarian phase, my hippie phase, even my (very extended) adolescent phase. We have been married longer than my own parents were, and with only the possible exceptions of the few friends I've managed to fool into sticking around since my childhood, this is the longest relationship of my life.

Which means, I have worked harder on THIS than I have on anything else. Because marriage IS hard. I would venture marriage is hard even for people who are ALL about kitten farts, so for me, someone who ranked "commitment" on my list of strengths somewhere in between "self control around potato chips" and "ability to do a chin up," it has been HARD. It's hard to share a life with someone. It's hard to share a toilet with someone. It's REALLY hard to share a TV remote with someone. And honestly, its hard to believe that there is someone out there who sees what I look like in the morning and still wants to be with me. So yeah, I know there were people who didn't think I could do this. But I am. We're doing this. We have been doing this through some REALLY tough times, some truly amazing times, and everywhere imaginable in between. We're doing it even though it's hard. And if I do say so myself, there are even times when we do a pretty damn good job of it.

You know how people start to look like their dogs after they've had them a while?

So in honor of my favorite drinking buddy, the guy who jump-starts my car AND kick-starts my heart, the person who inspires me every day to try to be better, and the only person I know who could possibly love me for this long, I offer up my lessons learned from a (near) decade of marriage:

1. Get a big bed. Seriously. Put one on the wedding registry. Spooning is cute and sweet and romantic and all, but personal space while sleeping is SO MUCH BETTER. Especially when you have kids who insist on all sleeping in your bed, horizontally, while urinating.

2. Make time. This one is tough. There is SO little time in the day, when you're done getting everyone up in the morning and dressed and clean and fed and to school and home from school and fed and home-worked and clean again and in pajamas and in bed and back in bed and back in bed and I SAID GET BACK IN YOUR FRIGGIN BED RIGHT NOW!!!!! By the end of each day I am so disheveled and hoarse from screaming profanity and my mascara has undoubtedly made it way down my face into my socks. So where do we spend our most romantic quality time, you ask? Wegmans! I spend most of my free time and all of my paycheck there, so what better way to multitask than to catch up with the hubby as I stock up on staples like toilet paper and beer. We have also had many a romantic evening in the ER, where they show bad movies and give you Popsicles.

3. Find common interests. Everything is better when you appreciate the same things. A few things we both relish in life: Cape Cod potato chips, artisan beers, sleeping, arguing, cleaning up endlessly after small children, grocery shopping, changing diapers, doing laundry, cleaning toilets, being glared at by childless people when our children are loud, and picking up dog poop. Lucky for us, our lives are filled to the brim with these joys on a daily basis. Well, all except the first three.  

4. Express yourself. Holding stuff in is not good. I believe in clearly and calmly expressing my emotions, usually in the form of the F word, and usually loud enough so that everyone is well aware of how I feel in a 2-3 mile radius. It makes my throat hoarse and it makes me very unpopular with the neighbors, but I do it out of love. I like to think of it as an emotional detox, since that makes it sound kinda trendy and hip.

5. Keep a healthy perspective.  This is where reality TV comes in handy. No matter how dark and dismal things get on your worst day as a couple- there are asshats out there whose shit-show relationships make yours look absolutely PERFECT. And there is usually a show about them. Grab your honey, a bag of Cape Cod chips, and an artisan six pack and pull up to the small screen. We're about to get superior.

Alright, alright, you got me. I have no REAL advice. Because somehow I got just got lucky. Yes, my life is filled with chaos and I swear a lot and there is often poop/pee/barf somewhere on me, but I live the life I dreamed about when I was little. I'm surrounded by love in this little family of mine, and my gratitude to the man who tolerates me enough to have made all of this happen is immeasurable. Happy anniversary, baby. Thank you, for everything.

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