Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary. It was a wonderful day in which he treated me to breakfast in bed. We sipped champagne and ate our leftover wedding cake before taking off for a leisurely day where we walked, just the two of us, in and out of shops and took in an amazing lunch at a quiet farm to table restaurant in this boutique-filled town near where we live. Before we fell into bed together later that night he surprised me with a delicate gold necklace with a beautifully engraved locket that expressed his undying love for me in a way that I would have never thought possible. And then, a giant golden unicorn flew out my butt, and its ornate wings flapped and blew away the fabric of my super intense fantasy life.
The reality is that I woke up tired with a sick toddler. A sick toddler that had me awake most of the night before, while my husband slept down stairs on the couch in what I can only assume was an effort to escape my heinous pregnancy induced gas. We relaxed by making a two hour round trip to North Jersey to pick up our recreated wedding cake that I forgot to order until about 24 hours prior (pregnancy brain, pregnancy brain all the things). Then we came home and ate lunch quickly before he had to run back out to the grocery store to pick up more tissues and supplies for to make our daughter fresh chicken noodle soup tomorrow.
Even now, as I type this in bed next to our daughter, my husband is back downstairs napping. The card that I bought him to celebrate is sitting, unsigned and unsealed, on the island in the kitchen where he found it this morning just in time to remind him that he never even thought to get me a card.
This is not what I imagined our life would look like this time last year. Actually, this exact time last year I was relaxing with my eyes closed as the finishing touches were being completed on my hair and make-up. I don’t think I was envisioning our one year anniversary, but you can bet if I was it didn’t include me being covered in dried strings of snot, watching yet another episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and trying to negotiate holding a sick toddler without squishing the baby still a’ brewing inside of me.
And honestly, I wouldn’t change any of it.
I know the cliché is that the first year of marriage is the hardest, but that wasn’t my experience here. Perhaps it was because we had already been together for so long (six years last September) or maybe it was that we lived together for several years prior, so not much actually changed when I changed my name. More than likely it was just the fact that we had already experienced our hardest year, that first year as parents. And although that was unbelievably hard, I think it actually made us stronger as a couple.
It also made me realize a lot about our relationship. I never understood why people called their significant others their better half before, but I think I get it now. I have discovered that there are some things that my husband is just better at than I am. Sometimes, he has the better half of our qualities. Where I am tightly wound, he is easy going. Where I am quick to anger and hold tight to grudges, my husband has an even temperament and is forgiving. When I see red, he sees reason. Sometimes I expect the worst of people and he gives them the chance to be who they are. He learns his lessons where I keep making the same mistakes over and over.
He is my better half, and I am so glad that we found each other all those years ago and have taken this strange path that life has set us upon. No, none of it has been what I expected (or honestly, even something that I would have thought sounded remotely enjoyable all those years ago). But now, here I sit, covered in dry boogers, exhausted to the core of my being, and still wonderfully and magically in love.
It’s a different love than I have ever experienced before. Long gone are the days when we would get drunk and make out on the couch with our hormones all aflutter. But I can say when I came home last weekend and found my husband and daughter napping together, side-by-side, laying in identical positions, there was some fluttering.
Watching him be a good dad and a wonderful husband doesn’t keep me in love with him (he keeps me in love with him all by himself), it just reinforces those reasons I fell in love with him in the first place.
So today, while the honeymoon is officially over, I still find myself deeply and unendingly in love with my husband. And I am pretty confident he feels the same way about me, gas and all.