19
Nov

What chapter now?

A story.
Our story.
Our love story.
Our book of love.

Chapter 1...
There was an ease to us wasn't there?
From the moment we met, I would describe us as easy and happy.
You blew me away with joy. I couldn't help but be happy around you.
It's what drew me to you and what created our instant family.
You fit right into my family, the one I was born into and the one I created.
I trusted you, I trusted your heart and I realized we would always be in each other's lives.
We were family.

Chapter two wasn't getting married.
Getting married, for me, was an extension of chapter one.
I realized that other people needed the official title of husband and wife.
I think I realized how even you needed it
but for me, we had already been family for almost six years
so this was the continuation of us.
Easy and happy us.

Recently, I have been stuck on the ease and joy we once were.
Things are more complicated now, more difficult.
Because marriage and relationships never stay as is or was.
They are not linear, they are not sequential even though we try to make them so.
They live, they breathe, they grow and they develop, they change.
And that's not new information, but almost everyone forgets this about all relationships.
Friendships, partnerships, business relationships, everything that is alive changes.
Everything and everyone has a story and stories do not stay on one path, they do not have one direction.
As we are in the middle of chapter what?

Chapter 2...
Anna.
The birth of our first daughter.
The one we wished for, the one we dreamed about, the one you talked me into.
The one we wanted, the one we talked about how ready we were.
The relationship we went in with eyes wide open.
But our first year with Anna was an awakening for me.
It took the love we already had and maximized it.
I could not have loved you more than I did in that first year of parenting.
I felt so close to you
Anna was so easy
everything fit
I felt this sense of how I was made to do this
I saw how much you loved her and it made me fall harder for you
we weren't losing sleep so we didn't have that to contend with
she only cried when something was wrong
she was a wonder
we were in love with her
with each other
with life
parenting was what we were made to do.
And so, everything during that year was a mush of love.
Chapter two lasted three years of love love and more love.
We just got it, it all made sense.
It was an amazing chapter to write with you.

Chapter 3...
Anna turns three and Cole is born.
Age three was rough for me with both kids.
So many reasons
so many difficulties
so many triggers and so many memories that hurt me.
Three was hard for you too, just for different reasons.
We always felt that Anna was an old soul and therefore that somehow meant she then needed to act older than her actual age.
We were unfair to her.
And you were around kindergarteners and feeling like your daughter was in that mix.
So, when she was three, you started treating her like one of your kindergarten kids.
Her three-year-old self could not live up to that expectation.
Add to our stress a newborn, who was also such a good baby BUT
there was always something a little wrong with Cole that made us worry.
I went through 8 weeks of not being able to mother
not being able to love
move
feed
hold our children
all because of the surgery.
You were gone a lot and I felt abandoned
he wasn't thriving
he wasn't gaining enough
he wasn't hitting milestones
he was rushed to a hospital
he had high fevers
routine checks always had a hint of concern.
Everything eventually shook themselves out, but damn I was scared.
You kept trying to be reasonable and keep me and my crazy in check.
I felt like I was wasting time in pain and resentment and missing out on my kids, my last newborn.
And chapter three continues.
In this chapter, we forget how to laugh
in this chapter, I cry a lot
in this chapter, my childhood comes rushing back and I get sent into a panic
in this chapter, we forget that we are a team
in this chapter, we keep track a lot
in this chapter, I forget that team and partnership never ever means 50/50
it only means showing up for each other and we forgot how to show up for us.
Chapter three lingers.
When Cole turned one, he started to scream and cry and he didn't stop until he was four.
Those three years were brutal.
To make matters worse, we were both struggling professionally
we were both feeling so lonely without local friends and fun
we were both forgot how important it is to laugh, we lost joy.
But, this chapter also brought its own magic.
In chapter three, our family was completed.
It is the chapter that we meet a little boy that reminds me of you
a little boy that is loud and messy and heartbreakingly adorable and so amazing.
We got to witness a sister and brother become best friends.
We got to witness their love grow and my heart expanded for her, for him, for them.
We got to witness the joy and crazy in his heart too, the one you carry, the natural joy he got from you.
We got to witness him come out of those struggling years, out of his frustration and just be him.
In this chapter, we became a core four.
In this chapter, our babies became kids and physically needed us more and less.
This chapter brought on personalities that we needed to learn to manage and the end of this chapter is when I realized who we are isn't who we will always be.
And it was time for a change.
So we started a new chapter.

Chapter 4...
Our acknowledgment of crazy and tired and stress and sad and mistakes and angry and finding our way back.
To us
to fun
to funny
to joy
to ease
to enjoyment
to self-care
to family.
This is a slow chapter because we have to take our time and get it right.
Because we have muscle memory of too much and need to find the not so busy.
Because we have to remember how to talk and listen and not bite.
Because we have to remember that we matter.
This chapter is slow and deliberate.
This chapter is building on the memories they will remember.
This is the chapter that will shape their relationships.
This is the chapter that teaches, guides.
This is the chapter in which we remember we are more than just parents, we are people, separate and together.
This is the chapter in which we remember to hold hands, touch toes, lean on each other, use our words, cry together, and laugh.
This is the chapter of framily and laughter and fun again.

I don't know how many chapters our book of love has.
I don't know how many we get to write together.
I don't know how many more times we get to change, grow, mold.
So much is reliant on them and changes they go through and our reactions to those changes.
So much is reliant on things out of our control and our reactions to that.
Aging parents
higher bills
changing paths
taking risks
building a house and creating a home.

But marriage, family, and relationships are not linear.
They are forever changing.
We will keep changing the pages and adding and taking things away to write our own happy ending.
One that doesn't look like anyone else's.
All I know is I am still happy to have you as my co-author, I am in love with our tear shattering chapters as much as I adore the mushy ones.
I love that you are willing to keep writing with me, I love our story.
Our book of love.

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