I thought love came crashing into hearts and lives like a passion storm; you'd be all knight in shining armor making everything okay all the time and I'd be all princess adorable all the time. Passion was ours for the taking. Happily ever after was just a matter of the perfect white gown, a field of trees and a starry-eyed groom.
Remember when we ate Taco Bell and Burger King and called it a meal and we screamed at each other and said mean things and called that a fight? Remember that hot Oregon Summer day in the field under the big oak tree with all those wild misunderstandings of each other and what living life together meant? Remember the way you turned around to see me in my gown for the first time and you wept and I still wasn't sure if you really thought I was captivating? Remember when we flew to Florida to celebrate our honeymoon and we played mini golf morning, noon, and night with lizards at our feet and choking on the humidity and constantly touching each other? Remember the hope in our hearts and the dreams in our souls and the fear in our words?
Remember when you got your first full time job as a pastor and we lived in the corner of the church parking lot in that perfect, funky, moldy, falling apart, adorable, terrible, lovely home and you read the book that changed the course of our lives forever and we ate every meal on t.v. trays and we figured out that I was a feminist and we never ever ever folded laundry? Ever. Remember when I started having contractions for the first time and you drove me to my Dad's house and I labored in my Mother's bed, the bed she rested in for years as she slowly passed, the bed where I told her goodbye?
Remember when Ezekiel was born and I couldn't breathe and they put the oxygen mask on me and they took baby Zeke from us to make sure he could breathe and we wept and wept and we heard our family and friends weeping outside the door of our little hospital room? Remember when newborn Zeke pooped on your shoulder and we fell in love with all 9 pounds 7 ounces of that perfect boy and we realized we had no idea what we were doing and we fell in love with each other more than ever?
Remember when we left every single thing and person we'd ever known and loved except each other and tiny blue's clues obsessed toddler Zeke and perfect jet black hair covered baby Tai and we set up a new life for ourselves in Chandler Arizona and we fought like we'd never fought before and we built a house and we fought some more and we grew up a little bit? And remember when we had another perfect chunky almost ten pound baby boy and we named him Jaemien because it popped into my head and remember how we endured? We endured the heat of the desert and we endured the pain of growing and changing so much you don't recognize yourself any more and you have no idea where you are supposed to be or what you are supposed to do and all you know is that you better cling for dear life to the person you started the journey with because even though they infuriate you and you resent them and they just don't understand, you can always always and forever more rest assured that they'll join you when you're in fetal position on the bottom of the closet floor shattered from life and death's cruelty. Remember that?
Remember the drive from Arizona to Oregon, me eight months pregnant with our little Huck and you rattled from everything, positively everything falling apart? Remember the redwoods? Me neither. Remember when we only stayed in Oregon for six months before leaving yet again, this time with double the amount of little boys in our care, to another home far far away? Remember when I came clean about how not okay I was and you came clean about how not okay with that you were? Remember how we carried on like we always always do? Remember when we just couldn't do it so we got help?
Remember when 30 people and then 60 people and then 80 people showed up to our living room every week to do life together and try to have faith and doubt and purpose and belonging and hope and rage and pain and peace together? Remember when the kids were swinging from the tree and stomping in the mud and scarfing watermelon and we ate homemade Bruschetta and we realized that somehow over the last 12 years together we managed to build a life, a real life?
We built a life. 12 years has been just a blink of the eyes. And somehow we built this whole big, beautiful, terrifying, adventurous, heart wrenching, rich, lovely, complicated, messy life. Remember when you weren't a fan of the beach because you hated sand? Remember when I couldn't stand spicy food? Can you even imagine who those two kids were? Wanna spend the day at Ocean Beach eating Tacos with extra hot sauce? I don't know who I would be without you. I don't want to know.
I thought love came crashing into hearts and lives like a passion storm and the thing is, it does. It's just that passion isn't romantic comedy thrills of the heart. Passion is fighting and everything falling apart and rebuilding it all and becoming new every day. Passion is messy and passion is both of us. Remember when I told you I couldn't stand the thought of you being my hero, the perfect one who saved me? And remember how you said you had always thought that I was the hero who saved you? That's passion. We're fighters and we fight each other and we fight the world and we love so fiercely it costs us everything.
And I was wrong. It doesn't bother me at all to think of you as my hero. You are my hero. Every time you meet me in fetal position at the bottom of the closet because everything, absolutely everything has fallen apart and you dare to be okay with that. When you sit with me in this brutal life we've built, you are my hero.
And you were right. I'm your hero every time I tear down the walls we ourselves build to keep us from each other. Every time I fight like hell to make you stay on the couch and yell with me. Every time I call us on our bullshit and make us real.
Remember when we built a life?
It's been an amazing 12 years, baby. Damn. We built this beautiful life and I love it beyond words.
This life we've built together is my passion.