“As long as I’m laughing with you”

As you know, our life here is going through some pretty dramatic changes. Aubrey has reached the next stage of her life (automotive freedom!), and will be leaving for college soon. We’re planning to sell our house and downsize. Most excitingly, there is the potential that I could soon experience some medical relief. Last but not least, Ron and I will be celebrating our eighth marriage anniversary.

I’ve written before about Ron’s and my “wedding.” As we signed our 2003 taxes as “married filing joint,” we knew that under Texas law, we had met the final condition for a common law marriage. Our single vow to never purposely put ourselves in a position where we could potentially fall in love with someone else has held us in good stead. That doesn’t mean we haven’t been through worse, sickness, and poorer. We didn’t even get much of a honeymoon period, because my symptoms permanently flared just four months after we married. Four months after that, I was unemployed, and as the highest household wage earner at that time, it was damnably stressful to lose my income.

Ron, to his ever amazing credit, stuck it out. He watched me disintegrate from a vibrant, active, happy woman to a fibromyalgia patient who rarely leaves the house. Against every fiber of his being, we went deep into debt so we could financially survive while he went to grad school. As much as he hates our neighborhood, and this house, he sucked it up because I was firmly committed to not moving until Aubrey graduated from high school. He’s raised Aubrey since she was eight and Matt since he was 13, and after going through Matt’s teen years, Aubrey’s teens haven’t been much of a picnic, either. He’s eaten gluten free meals (even though he could have real food), reminded us to take our meds every single night, and fixed more dinners than I ever have since we’ve been together.

Suddenly, the end of the tunnel is shining it’s little light. My committment to keeping my kids in this home until they were college age has almost been fulfilled. Selling this house will free us financially like someone shifting Mount Everest off our backs. We’ll be able to pay off our credit cards, get a NEW new car, travel (as much as my health will allow), go out to lunch, go to dinner, a movie, a museum, a street fair. Best of all, if it is confirmed that I do have a parathyroid tumor, I have a good chance at not being so dead exhausted all day, every day. I might be able to do dishes, or laundry, or some of the myriad of other things that Ron has to do around here (or at least, we’ll be able to afford a maid to come help out). In other words, we are about to hit the better, health, and richer part of those traditional marriage vows.

It’s a little scary. It always is when a family dynamic changes, because even good change can catalyze relationship disasters. Even so, I am vibrating with anticipation. I’m one of those incredibly rare, lucky women who not only love their husbands, but actually like them. I truly like Ron, and I miss all the fun stuff that we used to do, so I can’t wait for the chance to date him all over again.

The next six and a half months are going to go fast, as life always does when change is in the air. In the meanwhile, I just want to say that I love my wonderful husband, and I’m happy that we’ve managed to survive. I am going to do my damned best to ensure that the next eight years are exponentially better than the last eight.

I love you, honey. Happy Anniversary.

“I think that all that still matters is love ever after, after the life we’ve been through, ’cause I know there’s no life after you.”

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