Tonight is the five-year anniversary of the day my luck turned at the Tabard Inn.
I've written about it every year since, and I've said before that I find this date much more significant than our wedding anniversary, as by then we were for sure. Whereas our first date could've been just another first and last date.
These five years with Nick have included the best and the worst moments in my entire life. And he has solidly been there for all of them.
When we met, I'd all but given up on getting married, but I was terrified of dying alone. I was so happy to meet Nick, to realize that I'd finally met my person, to get married, to commit to forever.
I had no actual idea that marriage would mean so much work and so much compromise. Daily, endless work and compromise. And that the commitment to forever would sometimes be what gets you past the bumps in the here and now.
It's not that I thought that marriage was only about sex anytime you wanted and dinners out and a steady +1 for parties. Or, OK, maybe I sort of did.
Because what is marriage, if not an underwear dance party?
It's more that I didn't know that sometimes being married kind of sucks, and sometimes you might not like each other for weeks on end.
And I don't mean not like as in how I pretty much hated him for a year after Jordan was born and would lie in bed mentally dividing up the furniture. Or loathing him in the parallel parking shouting moment. Or how I joke about stabbing Nick, because really, I couldn't actually stab him, or anyone for that matter. Although if he does somehow wind up stabbed in his bed, we never had this conversation.
I mean not like as in just plain not enjoy spending time with. I mean get on each other's nerves. I mean not make each other laugh and not have fun with day after day. Marriage takes nurturing, but sometimes, particularly with jobs and kids and so many immediate demands on your time and energy, you just don't have it in you.
So it turns out that after a period of this, you hit a point where you talk about how much you're annoying each other, and how you have both recognize how much not fun you are having. And where did the fun go?
And seriously, what are the two of you going to do about it? How are you, together, going to turn this around? Because you love each other, and you are going to make it through to the end, where you die of old age together.
And suddenly, you realize that you are a team, and you've always been. And there's nobody else you would rather be with.
What I really hadn't known, and in these five years have learned, is that if you
go through a period like that, what you have to fall back on
is the fact that you have common goals and a commitment to your family, the family and the life you have built together.
What you have to fall back on, in a weird way, is each other. No matter what the rest of the world (or one or the other of your kids) is up to.
And here we are. Two children - who are killing us, just a little - later. Five years older and wiser.