This year has been a big one for me and my husband. In January, we traveled to Italy and experienced a week so magical, I couldn’t have possibly dreamed it up any better. In April, we said our first hellos to our beautiful baby girl. Now we’re in the works of planning a trip in celebration of our upcoming five year wedding anniversary. Five years! Say what?!
This past weekend was a quieter one, spent with Robby’s parents in New Ulm, Texas. Saturday night, Robby and I ventured to the nearby town of Brenham, Texas for a date night. Over shrimp and a beer-rita at a seafood shack followed by a chocolate torte at a two-story-house-turned-Italian-restaurant, I found myself giddy and grateful for yet another adventure with my main squeeze. Over six years together and nearly five years of marriage, and he still manages to make me swoon on a regular basis.
As many of you know, I was a young’un when I met Robby. I had technically been a single adult for only a little over a year when I met him. Just a month previous I had told someone, a community college friend who asked me what I was wanting from ‘this’ after an innocent kissing session, that I only wanted friendship. And that was the truth, though I could understand the mixed signals. When the eager gentleman before this one told me he couldn’t believe how much he liked me already, on our first date, I ran. Fast. This was partly due to the fact that I was simultaneously managing to have my heart completely broken by someone who was never actually my boyfriend, but instead a friendship escalated out of control. A relationship wasn’t exactly the first thing on my mind the night I met my future husband. Distractions were. But I think I knew even then that if I let my jaded self walk away from someone like Robby, I’d probably regret it. Was I ready? Maybe not. Probably not. But who is ever ready? For love or life or big, scary, maybe terrible, maybe wonderful changes? The most we can ever do is put ourselves out there and hope for the best. So I did.
Still, in staying with Robby, I had so much growing to do on my own. I was a naive, silly, confused teenager when we met, and no amount of love was going to fix that. Tying that knot did not keep me from making my own mistakes, or accomplishing my own goals. I’ve noticed that marriage has this dangerous potential of guarding someone from becoming their own complete person if used as a shield against the world. But I’ve never been a big fan of barriers. If anything, I feel I came into my own even sooner than I would have as a young single girl, because there was no one to impress or put on faces for. With Robby, for better or worse, I simply am who I am. And I was who I was. At first I was the crazy, emotional, angry, stereotypical teenager who thought she knew everything and actually knew very little at all. Then I was the typical poor college student, nannying on the side, keeping my measly funds in my own bank account. Eventually, I graduated college. I realized what I was passionate about and went after those things. I became an event blogger and started my first post-college career. I gained friends and I lost them. I traveled with Robby, and I traveled with friends and even alone. I adventured and started jogging and filmed a commercial; I hurt and laughed and learned and cried over things that had nothing to do with my husband in the slightest. Robby has been there for me every step of the way, while always giving me space to breathe and respecting my need for freedom within a relationship. I always understood that he couldn’t help me fix my own issues or fulfill my personal dreams. I wouldn’t have wanted him to.
What I want from him is something different entirely. I want him because his smile is the purest, most joy-filled smile I’ve ever seen. Because we laugh so much. We laugh so hard that he has tears and my sides hurt. Because he listens to every strange, ridiculous, rambling thought on my mind. Because we could be trapped in a cardboard box together and still have fun. Because he has been through so much more than I have, and he is still so kind, and open and not even slightly cynical. I love him because we have our own language, a dialogue so full of inside jokes and odd remarks that we’d be sure to get odd looks speaking it in public. Because I am still a little taken aback by the the love he gives to me with his eyes, his words, his actions. Because while I have taught him to be more politically and grammatically correct, he has taught me to slow down and savor even the tiniest of moments. Because he loves openly, affectionately and without hesitation. Because he is such a patient, doting and loving father to our redheaded, blue-eyed baby girl. Because I grew up with him, and because I hope to grow old with him.
Looking back, I am incredibly thankful to not have had the good sense to realize that twenty is not usually the best age to get married. I might have walked away from a world of happiness with someone who is not just good to me, but for me. I might have missed out on the adventure of a lifetime, an adventure that I hope will last me the rest of my lifetime. I chose to turn a blind eye to the statistics and societal norms and follow my stubborn, ignorant little heart. And that was the craziest, most foolish, best decision I’ve ever made.