A Letter to My Husband

I’m re-posting this letter I wrote to Garreth for our 18th anniversary because this is an important week to remember that we’re on the same team. Somehow the stress of dealing with Aidan’s medical issues brings out the best in us. I’ve written before about how My Husband is not Romantic but that he Pinky Swears that he loves me.

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Luv,

You asked me one night as we locked fingers in bed if I’d marry you all over again. I was already half asleep, this night before our 18th anniversary, and I said something quite circular and confusing even to me. I hope I told you I was glad I married you, but I think I may have also said it was better that I knew so little at the time. You figured I wouldn’t marry you if I knew then what I know now. There could be some truth to that. I’m a thinker and I like to make informed decisions. Had we taken those personality tests before we got married we never would have made it to the altar. According to scientific research, we’re not a match.

The whole commitment, marriage, trust thing freaked me out 18 years ago. In this case, I’m glad I listened to all of my friends who instructed me to stop analyzing and just say yes. I’m thankful I got out of my own way. It turns out that the Indigo Girls knew the truth when they sang, “The steel bars between me and a promise suddenly bend with ease; the closer I’m bound in love to you, the closer I am to free.” Loving you freed me from all of that fear and insecurity that almost kept me away.


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We’re not the Adventurous couple or even the Romantic one. We’re not the Best Friends couple who would totally have a blast together even if we weren’t married. I hate to think of us as the Survives Hard Things couple, because really, what a drag, even if it is a little bit true. We’re just us, without a tidy label.

We’ve changed and grown, oh my word how we’ve grown. Remember when I was always right? Remember when you didn’t have words? Remember when I could hold a grudge like nobody’s business? Remember when I had to verbally process everything and you didn’t want to process anything? Over time, we really have met in the middle, a comfortable place. I wait patiently and listen better; you’ve called me your safe place and share more; we’ve both opened windows of grace.

I love that you love me most in that early morning hour; how you never forget to spoon me before you leave for work and tell me you love me even though I’m asleep. I love that you recently told me that those are the moments you remind yourself not to take us for granted. You got me all fired up when you told you me had Big Thoughts about Big Issues and I was ready to dig in, but you just wanted to give me a preface to some conversation that may happen in the future. We’re different that way. You’ll share when you’re ready and you’ll expect all of the fervor I’ll bring. I love that you text me when I’m away from you and tell me why you love me, or remind me of some sweet or silly moment from our past, knowing I probably won’t text you back because I don’t have a real phone. I love that the things that drive me bonkers about you, because honestly they’re still there, are less significant than all of the small, simple, moment by moment ways we love each other.

Maybe we’re the Chooses Love couple. I woke up sulking this morning because of our interaction last night, thinking about all of the words I would choose to communicate with you. You emailed me and asked me out on a date. Sometimes Choosing Love is simple. I learned that from you. When it’s challenging, when it’s boring, when our needs conflict, when we’re empty; Choosing Love is always best. We’re Solid, and Longevity matters. This making of a family, this seeing into each other, the showing up, the hard work, the laughing at I don’t even know what that was the other night that made Liam have to shush us; we’re building something.

Sometimes we freak out when we look ahead; what will we be without our children and how will we spend time together? We’re really not the kind of people who need to go forth on a grand adventure. I’ll be happy sitting in your garden drinking a cold beer while you harvest the tomatoes before we make salsa and decide how many jalepenos to put in before we sit down together to eat nachos and talk about nothing…which is everything, really.

I love you. Pinky Swear.

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A Letter to My Husband

I’m posting this letter I wrote to Garreth for our 18th anniversary for two reasons. First, my sister loves when I write about my marriage. Second, I believe that it will help change the narrative about raising a child with a disability and getting divorced. I’ve written before about how My Husband is not Romantic but that he Pinky Swears that he loves me.

Bowie Family 064

***************

Luv,

You asked me one night as we locked fingers in bed if I’d marry you all over again. I was already half asleep, this night before our 18th anniversary, and I said something quite circular and confusing even to me. I hope I told you I was glad I married you, but I think I may have also said it was better that I knew so little at the time. You figured I wouldn’t marry you if I knew then what I know now. There could be some truth to that. I’m a thinker and I like to make informed decisions. Had we taken those personality tests before we got married we never would have made it to the altar. According to scientific research, we’re not a match. The whole commitment, marriage, trust thing freaked me out 18 years ago. In this case, I’m glad I listened to all of my friends who instructed me to stop analyzing and just say yes. I’m thankful I got out of my own way. It turns out that the Indigo Girls knew the truth when they sang, “The steel bars between me and a promise suddenly bend with ease; the closer I’m bound in love to you, the closer I am to free.” Loving you freed me from all of that fear and insecurity that almost kept me away.

We’re not the Adventurous couple or even the Romantic one. We’re not the Best Friends couple who would totally have a blast together even if we weren’t married. I hate to think of us as the Survives Hard Things couple, because really, what a drag, even if it is a little bit true. We’re just us, without a tidy label. We’ve changed and grown, oh my word how we’ve grown. Remember when I was always right? Remember when you didn’t have words? Remember when I could hold a grudge like nobody’s business? Remember when I had to verbally process everything and you didn’t want to process anything? Over time, we really have met in the middle, a comfortable place. I wait patiently and listen better; you’ve called me your safe place and share more; we’ve both opened windows of grace.

I love that you love me most in that early morning hour; how you never forget to spoon me before you leave for work and tell me you love me even though I’m asleep. I love that you recently told me that those are the moments you remind yourself not to take us for granted. You got me all fired up when you told you me had Big Thoughts about Big Issues and I was ready to dig in but you just wanted to give me a preface to some conversation that may happen in the future. We’re different that way. You’ll share when you’re ready and you’ll expect all of the fervor I’ll bring. I love that you text me when I’m away from you and tell me why you love me, or remind me of some sweet or silly moment from our past, knowing I probably won’t text you back because I don’t have a real phone. I love that the things that drive me bonkers about you, because honestly they’re still there, are less significant than all of the small, simple, moment by moment ways we love each other.

Maybe we’re the Chooses Love couple. I woke up sulking this morning because of our interaction last night, thinking about all of the words I would choose to communicate with you. You emailed me and asked me out on a date. Sometimes Choosing Love is simple. I learned that from you. When it’s challenging, when it’s boring, when our needs conflict, when we’re empty; Choosing Love is always best.  We’re Solid, and Longevity matters. This making of a family, this seeing into each other, the showing up, the hard work, the laughing at I don’t even know what that was the other night that made Liam have to shush us; we’re building something. Sometimes we freak out when we look ahead; what will we be without our children and how will we spend time together? We’re really not the kind of people who need to go forth on a grand adventure. I’ll be happy sitting in your garden drinking a cold beer while you harvest the tomatoes before we make salsa and decide how many jalepenos to put in before we sit down together to eat nachos and talk about nothing…which is everything, really.

I love you. Pinky Swear.

How My Husband is NOT Romantic

(Y’all seemed to like this post so I’m reposting for Valentine’s Day)

So if you had been following me on Facebook you would know that in advance of my recent 40th birthday my husband did the following things:

brought me home a whoopee pie and stuck some candles in it,bought me a dozen red roses,and then deep purple lilies,wrote our vows on the bathroom mirror,packed me a snack for a long day and cut my cheese in the shape of hearts,decorated a coffee cup to say “Cup of Love”, bought me jewelry, and several varieties of chocolate.

For my birthday he got me a t-shirt with my tattoo on it (the one I don’t have on my body). It reads Muirnin 15. Muirnin is Gaelic for “Beloved” and is written on his wedding ring. 15 represents the percent of couples (if you believe in fuzzy math) who are raising a child with a disability and remain married.

His siblings think he’s under the thumb.

The women in my life think he’s amaaaaaaazing.

And the men probably think he’s a show off.

I’m here to tell you that he’s a lot of wonderful things, but he’s not a romantic. Ok, that list of stuff…sure, it’s pretty darn romantic. The thing is, all of it takes great effort for him. With each sappy, romantic thing on that list, Garreth chose me.

Between these grand gestures, there’s a wilderness of unexpressed affection. Garreth is not a particularly demonstrative nor communicative person. These are all of the real spaces where our marriage is lived out. Together we are joyful, hurt, sad, intimate, lonely, fun, healthy, kinda crazy, and a whole lot of other things.

Garreth chooses me in those moments I’ve spent money and instead of panicing he says, “You look beautiful. Give me a fashion show.” (Seriously, I’m a bargain basement shopper so the panic is hardly necessary). He chose me when he drove to the airport to dust the snow off my car. He chooses me when he does dinner alone with the boys because I just have to write. He chooses me every sunday morning when he has “awake snug” with me; those moments in bed where he brings me coffee and we just wake up slowly together.

In my loneliest moments, I choose Garreth because he is a man of integrity who is gentle, kind, and generous to everyone. I’ll take that over flowers and chocolates any day (but don’t tell him that b/c I kinda love that list too). He deserves for me to believe the best of him without assigning negative intentions to his inaction.

We’re not together because “divorce isn’t an option” nor are we together because our marriage is easygoing and full of romance. Garreth and I remain in that 15% because we continue to take the necessary risks to fall forward and support each other even when the 85% is pounding at the door.