When I was a kid I really enjoyed the movie Flight of the Navigator. In case you’re not familiar with it, a friendly alien kidnaps a boy, but when he returns him to Earth it’s eight years later. I’ve thought about 8-year periods ever since. What will I be doing in 8 years’ time? I ponder at random moments. I give it more thought at milestone events in my life.
On this day in 2005, DH and I were married. That whole week leading up to our wedding, I imagined where I would be in 2013. It seemed so far away, and it was.
I imagined having a couple of kids, a satisfying career, and financial security. I pictured us living in California, in a little house with oodles of character, filled with drawings, a bounding dog, trails of plants, tripping over toys, chaos and love all rolled into one. I thought I would have mastered the art of flying long-haul with kids — my personal litmus test for knowing when I was ready to have kids was to embrace the notion of flying solo across the Atlantic with a screaming baby on my lap or, worse, a fidgety toddler, instead of plugging myself into my iPod or movies or sleep.
The reality is quite different. I have the dog, the living in California, and a few plants that are thriving. There is plenty of love, which outweighs the sense of chaos. But, everything else, well… it doesn’t look remotely like how I imagined it. It really is true: Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.
Honestly, the past eight years have mostly been tough for one reason or another. We’ve been through more downs than ups, and our relationship has weathered a series of tests that could have easily caused another couple to break up. But we’re still here, standing together, listening, laughing, loving, our hands clasped tighter than ever, filled with more love and respect for each other than we thought ever possible.
DH is both firm and tender with me: capable of gently calling me out on my bullshit and fiercely protecting me from the world’s cruelty. I adore his goofy humour that makes me grin even when I am annoyed with him. His brain always astounds me, for so many reasons, but mainly because he is an original thinker. I appreciate that we can sit in comfortable silence as we enjoy a meal or read a book. I like that we have different interests and common hobbies. I love his expressive blue eyes that grow round and bright in a moment of laughter of mischief. I love how his hand reaches over in the car, during a movie, over a glass of wine, through tears, to squeeze mine. I love how comfortable we are with each other. DH is one of the kindest and most compassionate people I’ve ever met, and I believe he has made me a better human being.
I can’t say that I’m glad for all the shit we’ve been through over the past eight years, but I am glad that our relationship keeps going from strength to strength despite the adversity.
Eight years later, our life together might not be how I pictured it, but nor could I have imagined then how our love, respect, and fondness for each other would have grown.