I remember you in high school, wearing your short skirts and checking him out in Mr. Schrotenboer’s tenth grade algebra class. He was adorable, you knew it, he didn’t, which made him even more adorable. Your first date he will wear white girbaud jeans and a shy grin and you will melt. You will stand at the door after he drops you off, wearing a stupid grin and whispering to yourself that you are gonna marry that boy someday. You know almost nothing of romance or sex or how marriage even works but you are so sure he is the one. Can I let you in on a little secret? He is the one. You will grow up and you will marry that boy and you will live happily ever after. Except when you don’t. Because there will be seasons when you wonder if it was a terrible mistake and you should have dated around more, held out for something better. Lies. He is something better, only you won’t always feel that way.
The shine is still on the penny in high school. You’re playing at life without really having to live. You imagine that you’ll both look the same, feel the same, act the same forever. That this exciting thing that makes your skin vibrate will always do so and that the sight of him will always make you breathless. Some days it will. But there will come seasons when you only glance at him when he walks in the door, crying toddler hanging from your leg while you nurse the baby and stir the supper. You will glance and nothing more. There will come a season when you are so consumed by kids or anxiety or depression or work or or or that you will glance and nothing more. You will look at pictures of the two of you in high school and you will long for those days of first kisses and stolen touch even as you lie in bed and ask him take his time but please don’t kiss you because you have an abscess on your gum and you don’t want him to burst your puss sack. And had you said that to him in those first years of marriage he might have run for the hills, but twenty two years in he has seen you at your worst and has adored you there too. He has watched you give birth four times and has born the brunt of your moodiness. Nothing can faze this man.
Younger me, enjoy every cherry blossom-filled second of early dating because it is the sweetest, but know this: the rest is sweeter. There will come a day when you honestly can’t remember a time you weren’t a pair. You will roll over in the morning and look at your love and even though the years haven’t all been kind to either of you, you would make the same choice again. And you do. Every day of your marriage will be a re-choosing. You will wake up, stumble into your bathroom, see the toothpaste on his sink and his whiskers on the counter and you will choose him again. When he gives you the dreamiest earrings you’ve ever seen on Mother’s Day and his eyes are soft and liquid, you will choose him. When he hold teeny babies in his strong arms and his eyes swim, you will choose him. And when he hurts you deeply and you can hardly breathe for it, you will choose him. Someday you will stand before Reverend John Guest, his English accent reverberating through the church, and you will promise to keep choosing this man for the rest of your life. And even during those years when your children’s needs consume you both, you will know that choosing him is the best way to love them. That they need to walk in on you making out in the kitchen sometimes. That their security is wrapped up in finding you snuggling in bed on a Saturday morning and that they learn vital lessons about making it work when they hear you disagree and still respect and love one another.
Girl, you are making decisions now that will reverberate though the rest of your life. This is a terrifying part of growing up: this adulting when you’re really just a baby, but he is one decision that is rock solid. Together you will be rocked by six kids and two dogs and a keloid scar named Steve. You will tear the house apart weekly, looking for a white blanket named black. You will meet up in your closet and he will hold you while you cry bitter tears about one thing or another. And you will hold those strong shoulders when he mourns his mom or the first time his son asks him about sex. Your home will be sacred ground and a battlefield and a safe haven, all wrapped up and you will throw open your doors and welcome people in because what you’ve been given is grace upon grace, all heaped up and running over and you have only to look at the two of you to know it. Young Megan, you know nothing now of sex and romance and marriage, but you will learn.
this is me being real.