It was a Halloween house party and I was dressed up as Santa and then my friend’s friends came and crashed it and they were dressed up as homeless guys carrying swords and I didn’t even pay them much attention until I heard the stories the following day.
Jerks, my best friend mumbled, They were jerks.
A week or two later we were at another party, another house and I was sitting at the kitchen table with a group of people and he walked through the door and our eyes locked and Boom.
From the very first moment I laid eyes on each other, Steve has stopped my heart.
There was so much, those first few months. He had a girlfriend and then he was being deployed overseas and everything seemed to say Run away. Run far and fast, except when I was with him it was all so simple and I knew that one of two things had to be true. 1) This was it, like, the big It. or, 2) My heart was about to get shattered into a million tiny shards. Either way, the moments that we spent together, the conversations that we had, there was no way I was walking away.
And then there were years that had passed and we moved in together and all the people who knew me the best scratched their heads at my reckless behaviour, falling head over heels like this (that ain’t me). There was real life and I got a job and we did things like clean the apartment together and make dinner and then, one day, I was pregnant. And the world made that horrible screeching noise that a scratching record does and suddenly, I finally realized that not only was this It, but this was fucking IT.
I would love to say that we never fought and everything was perfect and in a way, I guess it was – perfect for us anyway. But no one tells you – or at least I didn’t listen – that when you unfold the corners of a grownups life, inevitably you become one yourself.
But the other thing that I didn’t realize, one big lesson I learned for myself, was that a grownups life is not the annoying one in a sitcom, nor is it the hilarious but disappointing one that Louis C.K. talks about. A grown-up’s life is learning that you have responsibilities and you own them, because you made the choice to be here.
We’ve been so blessed with love and each other and our stunningly amazing children, that I just don’t understand how the cards could have fallen this way. We’ve stumbled and argued and cried, but man, there’s just no other place I’d rather be.
Yesterday, we spent the day together, and as we walked through the mall, Steve put his arms around my shoulder and pulled me into him and squeezed and I wondered how on earth I can possibly love this man more than ever before. I love him more as a man now than as the boy he was.
I think the fabrication of Happily Ever After can be extremely detrimental to people’s expectations, because life just isn’t like that. But when you open your heart to creating your own happily ever after, well, this is what mine would have looked like all along.
Four years ago, we said our vows in front of God. And it was the best decision I ever made.