About 6 years ago – exactly right around 6 years ago, actually – I was sitting outside of the warehouse in which I lived, drinking my coffee and smoking my morning cigarette (s). I watched as my neighbour struggled to open the huge sliding gate. He was struggling as he was carrying one of those coffee trays in one hand, two coffees nestled within it. The coffees were for himself and his wife. As I saw those coffees that he was carrying, I was struck by a fierce pang of longing: I wanted to be in a relationship with someone who would bring me coffee like he was bringing his wife.
I wanted to be thought about with a consideration that meant something to me, wanted to have someone to care about too.
It wasn’t as if I wasn’t in relationships: I was. Probably too many. I was a chronic, serial dater. I loved dating! I dated all over the place. I had also been engaged quite a few times, ultimately always ending it as something just wasn’t right. They were too…something. One guy had pointy shoes that bothered me. Bad tattoo from Portlandia? Yeah, that was me.
By the time Mikey – the first guy I have ever met in my entire life who did not annoy me in some way – came around, I had resigned myself to a life lived alone ( – dating! ) and had signed up for some foster-to-adopt programs because I really, really wanted kids. I let the idea of “the one” go, and voila, he showed up. Or rather, I showed up, in his bicycle shop when my car broke down. I met him and dissolved into a pile of goo at his feet and he rather thoughtfully collected me, put me in a jar and married me. Or something like that.
5 years later now, I know a few things about marriage:
- Marriage is hard.
- Even if you are married to the perfect person for you, it’s hard.
- There is no such thing as perfect.
- But even if there were, it would still be hard. They’d be too perfect or…whatever.
These are the things that I know for sure.
Mikey and I are both sensitive, baggage-hauling analytical types and that’s not really a great thing.
Furthermore, Mikey should have been born Amish for all the love he has for all things homemade, hand-wrought. It took me almost 7 months to convince him to buy a car, for crying out loud! He’s about making his own yoghurt, kombucha and wearing one pair of Birkenstocks forever. Me, well, I identified with the article talking about real love for one’s iPhone. I play with apps as a form of stress relief and I thank God pretty much every day for technology, without which after all, I’d be stuck in some corner shucking corn or something because I can’t see or hear. I completely rely on my glasses/contact lenses and hearing aids to function in this world. Praise be to technology!
You get it. We are really different.
And I’m not going to try and spin this into a tale about how we’ve overcome all those differences, or those differences adding to the juice of our delicious organic stew because frankly, those differences do cause tension sometimes. It’s not easy.
But we made this decision to be with one another and raise three children together. We committed to that, said we’d be loyal and try our best, and those are promises that we live by and honour.
Somehow things can get lost in the day to day of diaper changing and the constant thrum that comes with these small people, constantly demanding our attention, with the endless giving and the myriad of tiny sacrifices we make for our kids. Somehow we can lose that sense of each other as people; I lose the sense of him as anyone other than this person who wears Birkenstocks that I co-parent with.
Then in the midst of all that noise, he will do something like he did today, he’ll bring me coffee. A latte, with splenda in it and everything comes rushing back for me, the memory of life without him, a life that was nowhere close to being as beautiful as the one with him. And it hits me with a strength that can bring tears to my eyes that I am so, so very glad that I am with this person, this loving, caring, kind, strong, smart, handsome (Birkenstock wearing) man. Even if it’s hard sometimes.
It’s so worth it.
Now let me finish this coffee before it gets cold.