Friday, May 4, 2012
i want to write about Neil.
We're tip-toeing over the edge of our 16th wedding anniversary - & he's been on my mind a lot. i tried to put it into words... into his ears the other morning... what his love - and our marriage have meant to me.
But at this point - 16 years in - i still feel like a baby in this game - & my thoughts came out all jumbled & confused - & so he just held me, like he so often has to do these days when words come hard fought and the tenderness of touch makes communication so much easier...
i feel like my marriage to Neil has been a softness:
i love that man. i love him with a complete and utter vulnerability. It especially feels vulnerable when i watch marriages crumble around me, or hear vicious whispers from all sorts of dark corners that have become unsafe. Our love has flashed colour and texture like an old quilt drying on the laundry line - caught in the breeze... Symbolic of warmth and comfort and home - but bringing a strange beauty to the outdoor elements as it billows and rolls in the wind.
i feel like my marriage to Neil has been a hardness:
i have learned to love that man from a distance - as his work has taken him away from me. He's a travelling man - & that aching and yearning for him has become a familiar flavour in my mouth - rather than just fading away into ambivalence. i learned to get stronger (often failing miserably many times before i get there), to drive the big beast of our van at night or in snowstorms. i learned to run the house without him here - to laugh louder when i miss the timbre of his voice, and to brazenly spout honestly to my littles whenever i feel that i must, "i miss daddy." (And in return, they've learned to roll their eyes and smile indulgently, "Really, mom? You've never said so before...")
But mostly... i feel like my marriage to Neil has been a stretching:
i see a picture in my mind of a limber set of dancers dancing the most exquisite stretching steps - the give and the take, the wide swooping gestures, the dip - without dropping and the chase before the catch - the breathtaking arc flown - and the exhilaration that trumps exhaustion... & no... i'm not a dancer... but my heart soars when i see some dancers dance; so urgently, so passionately & so vulnerably. & that's how we dance, Neil & i... in these sweet, beautiful years we find ourselves in. He calls me on things that i need to be called on. & i do the same. He doesn't shame me, but he makes me think of the areas of my life where i indulge myself with thoughtlessness. God has seen fit to choose to use Neil - singly - to bring about the hardest changes in my character, and to allow me to see truth a little more readily, vividly and peacefully. This beautiful stretching eclipses both the hardness & the softness - epitomizing the heart of what marriage means.
So... here's the nerdy part. i hate reading the endless posts from adoring wives in sappy anniversary prose, & i apologize to my future self reading this saying, "really, Paige? You couldn't hold yourself back??" but... it has never been more true than it is right now... & yes, self... i must. So here it is.
Bess... i love you more now than i did when we said our, 'i do's' with out backs up against the world & bitter fools speaking discouragement into our fresh new union. i love you more now than when you fed me fried chicken and listened to Gwen Stefani when my grief was too much for either of us to bear. i love you more now than i did when you cut that silly cartoon out of the newspaper that signaled that maybe one day, we'd have more than five children. i love you more now than i did when you brokenly said you were sorry my parents were getting a divorce... & you knew that i was so very, very sorry too.
i choose you - again & again & again. i choose you with your work flying you away, with your grey creeping in & with nay-sayers who have nothing better to do than to imagine the strikes we have against us.
i wasn't engineered to be the kind of girl who's able to hold anything back.
So i won't.