Sometimes I feel as though I am watching our lives unfold on a movie screen. I see you and I together. We’re smiling, holding hands, and laughing about something insignificant. We are in love, and it is as if the entire scene revolves around us. Actually, the entire movie revolves around us- you and I are the headliners and we are most definitely the stars of the film. Suddenly, the camera lens adjusts and we fade out of focus into the background as two vibrant little boys appear on the screen; sharp and bright. The image of us is barely recognizable now; we have been reduced to a fuzzy smear on the side of the screen. We start to disappear, and eventually the image is erased and completely gone. It happens so quickly that it’s almost as if we never existed; and as the movie continues to play, it’s scary how easily we forget that those two people were ever the stars at all, standing there together; way back in the beginning. I know exactly when the Director of our little movie decided to switch focus. It was the day our first child was born… and the movie that I call our life hasn’t readjusted since. In some ways, that’s ok. In many ways though, it’s not. You see, we are the Directors of our own film, and even though we may have not even known what we were doing, we made the decision to switch that focus.
We used to leave each other little notes… chicken scratched love notes written on post-its for the other one to find in the morning before work. “Have a great day, I love you.” “Good luck today, I’ll be thinking of you today, xo” They were simple, but so meaningful. I still have some of the ones you left me, resting in the glove box of my car. They are a nice reminder of who we used to be, and who we need to keep working on getting back to. There’s no reason we can’t do that anymore. We have forgotten the people we were. Buried deep inside, underneath a pile of stress, exhaustion and a general feeling of being burnt the fuck out, we are still there.
It’s not like we haven’t made an effort. We’ll settle in after a long day and try to to flip on our movie, but something always causes us to push the pause button. One of the kids won’t go to sleep, someone wakes up sick, there’s 8,000 piles of laundry that need to be folded and put away, or there’s a stack of bills that need to be attended to. As we prepare to celebrate our wedding anniversary this week, I wanted to take some time to celebrate us. The You and Me Love Story that has been pushed to the back burner over the past few years since having children.
Let’s start at our first date. You were late. I was annoyed. But, to be honest, I didn’t care that much though because I didn’t go into that date with very high expectations. Not of you necessarily, but just the whole dating scene in general. It was my first blind date (and later I found out yours, too), and it was a group date. You ended up redeeming yourself with your charming conversation skills. You were smart, witty, and you were cute to boot. I decided to let you keep hanging around and was thrilled when you called me hang out the very next day. We have been inseparable ever since.
We spent entire weekends on our boat. It would be 5pm on a Friday and we’d decide on a whim to pack up and leave, without a care in the world. I still laugh when I think of that time you pretty much carried me two miles back to our boat after I indulged in too many daytime cocktails while on one of our weekend excursions with friends. I passed out in the cabin and woke up at dark to the sound of you and four other guys loudly singing off-key to some Billy Joel song on the deck. I’ve since learned that I do not need Grand Mariner floaters in my frozen margaritas, and the tequila itself does a good enough job on it’s own.
We would go for daytrips on your Motorcycle. My butt would be numb from bouncing off the back of that thing, my eyes watered from the wind and ruined my make up and I always had helmet head, but remember those days with a smile on my face. I met you after work at 11:30pm one night at a friend’s house and even though I was the only girl there, I ended up kicking everyone’s ass in poker (the fact that I was probably one of the only sober ones there at that point probably helped, but I’ll never admit that out loud). We took trips to Fenway to watch the Red Sox, and we danced together in bars at last call to crappy music. I remember interrupting you when you asked me to marry you, just because it clicked in my head what was actually happening and I was so nervous. I remember thinking how beautiful my ring was and how you did such an amazing job picking something out that I would be wearing forever.
We laughed, we loved, and we had a lot fun.
Our days have changed since having children. There’s no more running off somewhere exciting on a whim, and there’s definitely no more tequila. But just in case I have forgotten to say it lately, I am still as much in love with you today as I was then. I have fallen in love with a new part of you that I didn’t even know existed- you being a father. I love watching you read stories to our little guys, playing your guitar and singing songs to them, and I love watching you share your cereal with them in the morning. I’m proud to say that you are the one they look up to, and I love when I hear that they call you their best friend. Life has gotten a lot tougher since our carefree days, but it has also gotten much more rewarding, and I am glad you are the one I am sharing it all with.
This anniversary, I am not looking for a big night out on the town, or to re-live those pre-kid days. I am simply looking forward to spending it with you. Let’s forget the laundry that needs to be done, the bills waiting on the dining room table, and let’s pray that the kids go to bed without a fight. Our gift to each other should simply be to grab hold of our life movie and start putting the focus back on us (also, *cough cough* pretty flowers are always welcome too).