Our stars crossed; we fell in love; we made something of ourselves; we started a family; and here we are.
I love our family. I adore it, actually. I loved going to the movies all dressed up on Sunday. The kids love being with us more than anything, and they treasure our family as a tight-knit unit. The number of good memories we all share together is truly unfathomable. They cannot be held in one mind at the same time. It would take years of deep, detailed reflection to appreciate them all.
The hard day-to-day work/school/schedule/budget/life/routine stuff that one cannot avoid when in as far as we are is catching up with us. It is indeed hard — not in a third-world urban ghetto sort of way, of course. Our challenge is altogether first-world — it involves the self, and identity, and independence.
I know there’s a kink between us — whether always, or for a long time, or newly, it doesn’t really matter when. What matters is that we both feel a wrinkle in the bedsheet; and what should matter more is how to iron it out, because the bed is big and the wrinkle should never win. I don’t think you or I would have made it through a life with anyone unscathed — we are passionate smart people with ideas and beliefs. We used to respect that about each other as a strength, until real life saw to putting those strengths against each other as we wrestle with the day-to-day.
Most of the time we are aligned, intelligently and productively — and we have accomplished much with that. Though, sometimes we aren’t aligned. I could point out the obvious, that no couple could possibly be aligned all of the time when every facet of their life is tied together. For example, it’s easy to be aligned when there’s nothing at stake and you just have to cross paths. But when everything is connected — from your heart to your home — it increases the number of places where misalignment can occur, including places of great depth, and therefore increases the odds, frequency and sometimes the sheer gravity of misalignment. But that’s the obvious part.
What’s not obvious is why you feel the wrinkle is permanent, while I feel it’s often rooted in misunderstanding, or miscommunication, or no communication, if not something historical. I have always tried to break through any wall between us and grow forward together. I have always tried to adapt to your needs and desires, to — in a word — change. I genuinely enjoy that growth, and the chance to use my organic state of being to be something for someone. That will always seem the right thing to do — to give myself over to you and the family.
It would be an odd result to have gotten as far as we have, and to see that we are still capable of intelligent, peaceable discussion about our life, its direction, our kids, and everyone’s well-being, but at the same time insist there is something detrimental about it all. We didn’t get here by accident — it was neither a mistake nor the outflow of any one gift. It was our dream, a shared dream we pursued jointly and deliberately, and one on which we have both worked extremely hard.
But, in an emotionally rending twist, once we attained what we thought was the goal we only came upon harder questions, as if life is a series of increasingly difficult riddles. I think we’ve come to realize that getting here wasn’t the end of anything, but is rather a new horizon. Now what? Are we still in love? Do we have enough money? What did we sacrifice to get here? Are we doing the work we should be doing? Did we make the right decisions? Who are we? Who were we? Who will we become? These are questions I long to answer together, to explore our life through an evolving relationship; it is a point of maturity I crave reaching with you that has to date proven elusive.
For every bit of what makes marriage with children hard, there’s at minimum an equal and opposite bit of beauty in it all — the will to live, to procreate, to strive, and to thrive together in a uniquely intimate kind of way. We are truly in the throes of it, atop the hill of life with kids in tow.
I made vows to you and to those who would be our children, and I meant them. I am as little thrilled right now about you as you are about me (for different reasons, of course) — but I can see the whole of past, present and future; I know time heals wounds; and I believe in us.