Sometimes when I'm thinking, I think about how very large his noseholes are.
Then I think about what a hilarious word "noseholes" is. You try it now. Think about it: Noseholes. BWAH! Right? I know.
Mostly I don't think about his extra-large nasal passages or how many beans I could stick up there without him noticing. Mostly? I think about how very long I've known this man.
As of today? It's been twelve years, six months, and 28 days. Or, four thousand five hundred ninety-four days. But who's counting, right?
Well, today I am. Because today is the 9th anniversary of the day I married the man who told me, pretty much before I even ever laid eyes on him, "I'm never getting married".
(I totally said to myself, "We'll see about that". But don't tell him I said that, okay? I like to let him think this was all his idea)
I initially thought that marriage wouldn't change anything about us, and I suppose a great number of things really didn't change. I've never had any more living children, his family still pretty much thinks I'm crap, and here we are again. Exactly 2. 18 miles from the place we met. 5. 41 miles from where we got married, at East Carolina University on the hottest freaking day in 2003.
Here we are.
I guess the couple who said they would (and also something about a plow and a trough that I still don't understand) all those days ago is a little different now. We've moved three times, lost two babies, changed jobs a few times, and one of us graduated college (me. The late bloomer). I wrote a book, which changed things in good and bad ways and one of us learned how to cook (the other one already knew). We went to Disney World and around the Tennessee River so many times it would make you dizzy to think about. We laughed, we cried, we said the word "douchehat" a few too many times (especially considering it isn't even a word, not really). We kissed under mistletoe and under Ruby Falls. We sat in church together and held hands like teenagers. We sat in silence, sometimes alone and sometimes together.
We also had very scary, life-altering moments in which we really, really didn't know if this day, this anniversary, would ever come. I don't like to think about those days, those very dark days, but honestly those days were important too. Those days mattered, even if they mattered for bad reasons.
Now? Here we are.
I don't dwell on the past much. But I do think about it on days like today.
I also think about that commercial for facelifts or botox or some crap I keep seeing on television. The voice-over man says something about how it looks like his wife, but twenty years younger! All amazed. I don't know how he notices the difference. Jason looks exactly the same to me. I know he's aged and every now and then I catch a glimpse of the white in his beard, but he's just Jason. He's just that twenty-three year old boy I met so long ago. Forever ago.
I can't remember anymore who the dishes used to belong to. I don't know if they were his or mine. I do remember the mirror in the dining room was his (his mom mentions this every time she visits, lest I ever forget), but I think it's safe to say I've cleaned it enough times to claim at least partial ownership. I bought new silverware not long ago. The kind that grown-ups have. It's ours. The furniture is ours too. The house. Our puppy (okay, she's almost seven). I can't really imagine anything as being mine or his anymore. I always hoped for the day that I wouldn't remember anymore what belonged to who. Then I would know for sure there was an us.
I guess that's love.
But really, I don't know. Sometimes I feel like I don't know anything. That after all this time, we're still just getting started.
All I know for sure is that we're here.
We're here and it's going to get harder. The Boy and Girl will still need to learn to drive. Someday I'll have to let them go. My puppy won't be a puppy forever. Grammie won't live for another thirty years. I don't know what will happen to any member of my family. The moving and the miscarriages and the job loss have all been hard, but life is hard. Sometimes it gets harder. The losses are more pronounced. The scars you wear across your heart get ripped open sometimes.
But we're here. Still here. Together.
I still have moments that I have no idea how we got here. I really, really don't know. I absolutely cannot believe I have been able to sustain a relationship with anyone this long. Have you met me? I'm kind of huge pain in the ass. I alternate between being painfully shy and talking way too much. My hair borders on ludicrous. I'm not always as funny as I think I am and my husband is frequently "funny-blind". He's a Republican and I'm...well, I'm not sure exactly what I am. But it's not a Republican. How he's been able to tolerate living with me this long, I will never understand. I am painfully, tragically imperfect.
I came into this relationship thinking I was possibly the most broken human being on the planet. I've since come to understand that we're all broken. We're all broken in different ways. Sometimes love is that glue that puts our broken pieces back together. Or something else poetic. I don't know.
I just don't know.
All I know is that we're here.
We're here and I love this imperfect man. I love our life. And I'm grateful for every one of the last four thousand, five hundred, ninety-four days. The good ones and the bad ones and every single one in-between.
I don't ever want to go away from here. Wherever he is.