What I Didn’t Know

Seven years ago today, in a quaint little restaurant perched at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by 80 of our closest friends and family, I married Mr. Monkey.

I woke up that morning filled with love and excitement and certainty. Bone deep certainty that his man was the person I was meant to be with, even though I had never expected to be a step-mother or to marry someone significantly older than me. I was meant to marry this man, the smartest and kindest and most verbal man I’d ever met.

And I knew, for sure, that he loved me.

And, so, we married that sunny day in San Diego and began a life together that, now seven years later, seems both inevitable and surprising. We are together and we have children, those things I expected. But there are other aspects of our life together that would come as quite a surprise to the bride in the strapless white satin dress of seven years ago, the one who felt so prepared, who had an idea of a plan for this life together that would turn out to be all wrong.

Seven years ago, I didn’t know:

– that we’d end up moving to Iowa…or that we’d move five times in seven years.

– that between the two of us we’d have eight different jobs in seven years

– that the certainty that I felt on our wedding day wouldn’t always be there. That there would be times that doubt and anger and loss would crowd that feeling out and that there would come a day where we’d ever have to ask the question “do you still want to be married to me?” and not know, for sure, how the other person would answer.

-That forgiveness isn’t linear. That you have to keep loving, actively and optimistically, that person through the whole process of forgiving or else you’ll never really move past whatever the hurt they may have caused.

– That real love has among its chief attributes that it is flexible and resilient.

– That, despite what my women’s magazines tell me, I can still be sexy even with the post-baby body and that if there is a night I go to bed in something other than a nursing tank top and baggy pajama bottoms, that something other came from Lane Bryant or Target and not Victoria’s Secret.

– That, on a related note, there will be a period of time where approximately 50% of the sex you have is likely to be interrupted by a small person who is supposed to be watching Calliou, dammit.

– That even though you love your children in a heart burstingly painful way, you will miss your spouse sometimes and that thought of an entire day together alone would be the stuff of substantial fantasy.

– That it is possible to married for seven years and have never really fought over money pr politics or big life decisions, but have argued more than once, heatedly and with real emotion involved, about what qualifies something as a sport vs. a hobby.

– That you really can’t overestimate how important it is that your partner makes you laugh.

Happy Anniversary, Mr. Monkey. Thanks for still making me laugh, for still making me weak in the knees, for the times you’ve admitted you were wrong and for the times you’ve forgiven me when I was. We’re not where I thought we’d be seven years ago… but I know now that as long as we are together we are where we are supposed to be.


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