Up to now, I may have given a somewhat incomplete picture of Mr. 761. You know where we met, that he contributed to my love of garlic sandwiches, and that he’s working in Afghanistan at present.
We had our first date in April 1999 and have been together pretty much ever since. After about six months of my declaiming that I did not want a “serious thing”, I moved in with him, and we married in 2002. Tomorrow we’ll have been married for 8 years, and he is, without a doubt, the love of my life. There are very few people in this entire universe who can delight me so thoroughly. He’s driven by a sense of honor and duty to his family that makes the difficult seem possible, that makes us all feel safe, and that makes being with him easy — he’s steadfast and his mother raised him right.
Don’t get me wrong — he’s as imperfect as the rest of us; but he’s perfect for me.
Gifts Received at Box 761
Tied for first place are him and the kids. I’ve written before about how I had never seen myself as that sort of woman — the kind who had a husband, kids, a normal life. Out of a slippery combination of arty snobbery and well, fear, it just never seemed like I would have/want those things. It was too bourgeois, maybe? Out of my reach? Not sure. Whatever it was, he was so unproblematically accepting of the whole alien concept that I went along with it and liked it.
I could write whole dissertations on those kids (and probably will, eventually). One of them helped me to find my life’s purpose, the other has challenged me to become a better parent. They’ve taught me to hang on, and to let go. I’ve become a better person, a person with dimension and shape and yes maybe a little wisdom. They drive me crazy sometimes and I definitely wish the younger would learn to put things away and the older would answer her email, once in a while, but on the whole we have managed to raise some really great people.
One other thing that I’ve had since I met him — so long now that it seems like I’ve always had it — is peace. Life isn’t always peaceful here at box 761, in fact it’s often downright drama-filled (quadriplegic with stomach flu, anyone? Ex-wife issues, court dates, bills to pay… the same old stuff of life). What I mean by peace is that without realizing it, something in me unclenched. I spent my 20’s worrying about my boyfriend’s affection, about whether or not he was unfaithful, or a liar, or god help me, “out of my league” (ha ha ha ha ha ha). I spent a lot of energy on that sort of thing. Now, I can sail serenely past all that because I know that he loves me and I love him. I know that we want the best for one another, and that we’re grown ups. It’s all very simple.
Another gift I’ve received is time. Lately I have a lot of it, along with the space to use it in. Thank you, so much, my love — I know the price you’re paying for it. As for space, I guess we all know how much I love Box 761.
We’re a good team. I like to think that I’ve given as good as I’ve got, and that his life has been as enriched by this as has mine. His economy is different and he measures these things somewhat differently than I do (less esoterica, more concreteness). What I do know is that it’s impossible to think of us not together.
So, my love. Thank you for our wonderful life together, and know that I’m thinking about how quickly these 8 years have passed. I am looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together.