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Friday, May 16

Four to Life

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of that day when I would wear the big white princess dress and float down the aisle to the man I love. It is not a very different dream from so many little girls. But careless words sliced deep wounds into my heart and I spent years quietly wondering who would ever want to marry someone as ugly as me. Who would ever look past my crooked eye teeth, scrawny figure and dishwater hair?

By the time I reached the upper years of high school, I began to realize that I was growing into my own. I wasn’t the gangly thing I used to be and a figure magically began to grow out of those years of teenage angst. I had been known to annoy more than the occasional soul, who got caught up in my constant chatter, but also began to see that there were those that listened… and with interest. For once, the boys were taking notice.

There are those that move gracefully through these years, without ever a glimpse of their pain and fretting shown to the world around them. We all knew these girls. They seemed perfect in both beauty and spirit from day one of kindergarten; and yet, they still got better and better with every passing year. There never seemed to be a question that someone would love them for what was both inside and outside. I just never felt the same sureness.

Those newfound looks and glances… I took them. I reveled in them. To know that I finally had the power to turn boy’s heads was exhilarating. Yet, those years of pain were not so easily swept away. I used the new attention and threw is back unmercifully to each boy that showed interest. All the cruelty that had been showed to be, I returned in triplets as I strung one after the other along and then tossed them aside just when I knew they were hooked and would have no idea why. And I never explained it. Why should I? No one ever explained why I was taunted by name after name that today still seers me deep inside.

You may think I am malicious and spiteful at this point in the story. Perhaps I was. But I honestly didn’t know that I was or why I did the things I did. They were done without my full awareness and reason in those early years of attention.

My twenties were a decade of decadence as I mastered this careless usage. I knew more and more of what I was doing as the time passed, but I felt no reason to stop it or to change. No longer were those early stings still smarting as they once had, but there just seemed no reason for another way. Life was good. I did what anyone in their twenties is expected to do… work hard and play harder. There were times where I fell in love. There were times where it took me everything I had to fight that inner demon not to throw a good thing away. There were other times when I stopped listening to that inner voice and just let love rule. For a spell. But it always ended, and often by my own hand.

At 29, life just didn’t seem like it could get any better. I lived in DC, had an entourage of friends to call on any given night, had a great job I loved and the freedom to live the way I wanted to.

It was on one of those many wild nights at 29 where I met a guy… and he changed my life in an instant. I felt drawn to everything about him. It would take me another few months to really know for sure that I wasn’t going to run, that I wasn’t going to ruin a good thing, and that I wasn’t going to hurt him with my own long broken heart. It was only a month before he mentioned proposing. It was only six months before he did. It was only a moment for me to know that he had healed those old wounds, with only his presence in my life.

We married four years ago. For years, lasting over a decade and a half, I would have never considered marrying and even turned down a proposal along the way. I never thought that I would see the day where I looked like a princess and went floating down the aisle to the man I love. Now I can’t imagine that there was ever another course.

Like every couple, we’ve seen our ups and downs, but we’ve always landed on the ups. We’ve traveled to four new countries, several new states and cities, lived in new places, bought our first home, loved our first pet together… all the dreams I always thought I would do on my own because I didn’t want the companion, nor did I need one. The fear was that they would mar my happy and singular way.

Now four years later, not for one moment have I been given anything less than my dreams. They are sometimes handed to me in big ways. But most importantly are the ones that are handed to me daily… in the tiniest of ways.

As we sat at dinner last night overlooking the Pacific Ocean from our island far from home, we talked about the next four years and much further beyond, a long life we are building together. I still can’t believe my life turned out this way. I still can’t believe that someone as wonderful and loving as my husband was not only able to heal me, but to bring me an even greater life than I had dreamed on my own.

Thank you, love. For every one of the past 1,460 days together. And for every one of them left in our future. Our bright and beautiful future.


JJ said...
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Anonymous said...

Happy anniversary! Here's to many more to come, all packed with an abundance of adventures and memories to carry you through a lifetime.

Mike S said...

What a great post!! Congratulations to you both:)