Tuesday was our anniversary. Eight years ago we began dating, and five years ago we got married. I fell in love at eighteen, married the first man I've ever kissed, and I've never regretted it.
We've went through a lot together in that time. The first three years were trying in their own way, but the real struggle came after we got married. I could never in my life have imagined all the storms we'd have to weather. And looking back, my thankfulness for having him by my side knows no words.
When I was young and naive (I did fall in love at eighteen after all) I used to get upset that my husband didn't buy me flowers, never surprised me with gifts, didn't tell me I was pretty all the time, didn't fit what society told me love was. Instead, he taught me what love really is.
When we drove home from the doctor's office with the confirmation that I had stopped ovulating at just 21, a rough diagnosis of PCOS, and the knowledge that we may not become parents, our life was shaken. Everything we'd pictured took a blow, our hopes for the future completely shattered. I cried, he cried, we blew off our jobs that day and we ran away. I told him he could leave me, and he told me that he wouldn't do that because if he couldn't have children with me, he didn't want to have them with anyone.
That day was only the beginning. When I started having out first miscarriage, I called him screaming and crying. We rushed to the hospital room, and he held my hand, took care of calling his family to tell them we wouldn't be making it to our nephew's birthday party after all. He was patient, composed, yet broken. But he was there for me. I'm not saying he handled it in the best way possible, because there were many errors on both our parts as we dealt with this unimaginable grief, but he was there for me when no one else was. He was hurting too, but together we survived.
With the second miscarriage he brought me breakfast in bed afterward when I was in too much pain to move. He helped me take my pain medication, made sure I had everything I needed, we made arrangements for us to run away again. He held me, and let me cry.
After the third... he held me for months and let me cry. He supported me, held me up when I would rather have given up on life altogether.
When I had my surgeries last year, he waited on me hand and foot. He took his vacation days from work to stay home with me while I was laid up. After my carpal tunnel surgeries, I couldn't bath myself, dress myself, I couldn't open my pill bottles on my own, I couldn't cook dinner, I couldn't do anything at all the first week except change the ice pack and take more pain medication. He was there for me, he took care of me, he never complained. I had three surgeries in three months, and not once did he complain when I asked for anything. And I asked for a lot. I wanted the movie changed, I needed him to help me pull my pants up, I wanted him to tie my hair in a pony tail (which I learned he lacks the skills for, but it was cute that he tried anyway), make me dinner, get me take out, get my phone, get my laptop, get my ice pack, put this back, come here, help me up... endless requests, yet he never said anything about it.
Even now, working on over 8 weeks of bed rest, he's still waiting on me tirelessly. Yes, he could clean more, he could put a little more effort into dinner, but I try not to say anything because while I'm laid up, he has to take care of everything. Every want and need I have, every want and need the animals have, his job, the house, the finances, taking me to appointments and such, going to the store- all the tasks that were once divided, now fall onto him. I can tell it's wearing on him, although he doesn't say anything, but I know it's hard. It's hard for me too.
So while he doesn't buy me flowers, jewelry, great romantic gestures... I find now that those things really aren't that romantic. Romantic to me is when I'm in so much pain physically and emotionally because I lost our baby that I couldn't do anything, and all I wanted was some doughnuts and an iced cappuccino for breakfast- that he went out and got it for me. It's when he tells me he loves me and holds me, and tells me that everything is going to be okay.
I'll admit it's a pretty screwed up view of love, but it's nice to know that something good did come out of all that bad stuff. I'm not saying it was worth it- what we've had to endure can never be justified- but it's nice to know that it wasn't all bad. Yes, we've had plenty of fun, we've shared spontaneous movies, playing games and talking through the night, went on spontaneous road trips for no reason... but it isn't in those moments that I remember best the depths of his love for me, or my love for him. It's in the little moments when our life fell apart that he reminded me I still have something to live for, that life isn't all bad after all.
And it's nice to know that after our 8 years together, all our love had done is grow. When we started dating, I never imagined that I could love him anymore than I did then. When we got married, I thought surely that was perfection. Yet every single day that we're together, I love him a more. It's endless, and it's amazing.