I want to say "we've been through a lot." But who hasn't. Marriage is hard and things happen. Every marriage has their own challenges: infidelity, home foreclosures, debt, death, raising kids or (as what happened with us, specifically, my husband) a traumatic brain injury, and it becomes even harder. Sometimes, even, unbearable. Even 3 years later. Especially, 3 years later.
This past year particularly, has been challenging in a lot of ways. We had a baby after the brain injury and life got even crazier but also more awesome. I am still the sole "provider" as he re-integrates back into a career while having to reinvent himself along the way. None of it without its own daily challenges for all of us.
Some days are great, some days I want out. Although the "D" word is the one word neither of us are allowed to say unless we are prepared to do it. Thank god, we agreed that "fuck you" is totally fair game.
Then there are days I wonder why I'm still here, and others I wonder how I could ever think about leaving.
Shortly after Valentines Day I will turn 34. Around the same age my parents were when they divorced, granted, I was 14 at the time. Contrary to popular belief, my parents divorce didn't fuck me up. It was actually better. Although I was angry at their decision at first, two separate, happy-ish homes became much better than one dis-functional, unhappy-ish home.
But being a wife is hard. Personally, I still feel like I'm 18. So it doesn't always come so natural to live up to the expectations of a cross between Julia Child's cooking skills, Jenna Jameson's bedrooms skills and Mary Poppins mothering skills. After a long day at work with goldfish crackers crushed in my hair from the baby and a numbing pain from the Spanx, I really could give two shits less about anything other than a cold piece of pizza, granny panties and a hearty glass of wine.
We all have a threshold. I am not against divorce and I know, at this point in my life, never to say never. But for us "falling out of love," "growing apart," or "you've changed" are all things that have happened to us. In fact they've happened at least a few times in the 8 years, 2 kids, 1 brain injury and multitude of challenges we've faced. But we've fallen back in, grown back together and figured out how to deal with change because the only constant, IS change. Except for the annoying habits, those never go away.
So Valentines day is upon us and I don't know what we will be doing that day. We won't exchange gifts but we will probably eat dinner like we usually do. It will probably be thrown together, under or over cooked, with our kids interrupting our conversation, my husband yelling at the dog to stop begging, and me yelling at him to stop yelling. We will say Happy Valentines day and I love you and mean it, really mean it.
As for the recipe for success, I'm still searching. I can tell you it's not in Julia Child's cook book or even couples therapy, at least not that I've found. I'm pretty sure it's somewhere between stubbornness, determination and an underwear drawer and, for once, I think my husband would agree.
PS. I let Eric read this before I posted it and asked for his feedback.
His response: "I'm not getting a Valentines gift? That sucks."
PPS. I think the "Lifes a Potty" chapter of my life is coming to an end but I am working on a new blog project and will share soon. I figure I'd go out with my best toilet shot.