On November 13, seven years ago tonight, I met Nick at the Tabard Inn on what turned out to be my last first date.
I've said before that this anniversary is much more important to me than our wedding, because it's when my life changed. I loved our wedding, but by that point we actually knew each other pretty well and were firmly walking down a path till death do us part.
But not this night.
Some of you were with me leading up to that point, and you'd read about endless wretched dates, and dates leading to hope, and then dashed hope, and ultimately pointing to me dying alone. I've written about how at this point my luck turned.
By this point seven years ago I had, thank goodness, learned when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em, and so on.
You know our story, and you know it has involved challenges and joyous highs and crushing lows. I mean, it's life, and marriage is hard and parenting is not a picnic. There are moments of such riotous joy with kids - the kind of joy that you get nowhere else.
But dear lord so much of it is please put on your underwear, no, everyone needs to wear underwear, nobody wants to see your penis at the dinner table, please pick your cup up to drink, yes, I know dogs drink like that but you're not a dog, yes you can have a treat IF you eat dinner no you can't have one now no you can't have two now MY GOD JUST PUT ON YOUR UNDERWEAR AND EAT YOUR DINNER!!!
These little humans, just going about their day, suck much of the life out of you.
I somehow thought I'd get married and just because of that I'd be happy and my life would be great. Kind of like when I was a kid and I thought at 16 I would look just like Barbie. Or at least Teen Skipper, whose arm you twirled to make grow boobs.
What I've come to realize is you are who you are, life is life. It is hard to cooperate with someone else all the time, but the alternative is being alone, which is not as much fun. And it's all even harder when you also have to convince completely irrational little beings to cooperate with you. But the alternative is not having the little beasts, and that is unimaginable at this juncture.
It is difficult to maintain any space for yourself. And it's been even more challenging to hold onto our relationship - our just-the-two-of-us relationship, much less nurture it. And there may be people who can coparent, leading parallel rather than intertwined emotional lives, but we are not two of them.
This has been one of the biggest challenges. Everyone says it will get easier as the kids get older, and we are starting to see glimmers of this. We hit a point this year where we realized that we have to work on being us again, and loving and appreciating the person we married, because otherwise us will go away.
What I suppose I'm saying is, seven years has not been easy, and there have been some very precarious points along the way. Relationships are hard, duh. You forget this when you walk into a charming bar and meet a stranger and put your hand in his and get all giddy in your heart and breathless in your stomach.
Nick and I did not know each other when we got engaged at 10 weeks, but here and now, at seven years in, we most certainly do. But there's still room to grow.
And now I'm trying to figure out what to wear to look all pretty when I meet him at the Tabard this evening. Because I know I'm going to walk in all giddy in my heart and breathless in my stomach.