If you know me, then you know my husband is my perfect for me. Because chances are, if you know me, you remember him, too. Being married to a boy you knew in elementary school leaves you connected to all the same people. And it leaves very little to the imagination.
This man of mine has known me as a child, a teenager, an adult, and as a parent (which we can all agree is like adult 2.0). He’s seen me muddle through each phase of my life and witnessed my mistakes. He’s celebrated each huge milestone and trudged through my darkest days. And through all of it, he’s loved me. The real me.
We all put up masks. We adapt to fit the social situation we are in. Perhaps unintentionally, we try to hide our worst bits. I mean, who wants to walk into a party and announce, “I’m awkward with large groups of people and am secretly worried you are all judging me”? Instead, we put on our best smile and try to look confident. No one is posting Facebook pictures of themselves with the stomach flu, or 3 days postpartum with no makeup on and -5 days of sleep. We reserve these little nuggets of truth for the people we trust the most. But even with them, it’s not easy to be real.
My husband? He’s see it all. Once in college, I got food poisoning and spent the day in the health center hooked up to IV’s. It was bad. Puke-on-the-nurse bad. But I swear, when we walked into the room, he looked at me like I was still the most beautiful women he had ever laid eyes on. After college, he stood beside me while I lost myself in my career as a teacher, spending every waking hour either grading papers or worryingobsessing about students. We’ve made two major cross-country moves together (and if that doesn’t bring out the worst in a person, I don’t know what does). After DB was born, only he saw the extent of the devastation left by the postpartum depression and anxiety. With him, there’s never been a mask.
And he loves me. All of me. Without condition. It’s not that there aren’t things he wishes were different. I’m sure he would love if I could manage to do a load of laundry without running the tumble press cycle (aka: lazy button) on the dryer four times. And I know for sure he wonders if I will ever learn when to shut up and leave something alone. But that’s just it. He wishes some things were different, knows they won’t ever change, and still thinks I’m amazing. And you know what? I feel the same way about him.
What started out as love has become a deep, honest, devoted partnership. We are both flawed, complicated, stubborn people. We’ve been through our rough patches, and our marriage takes work. But when he says he loves me, I know he really means every word. Especially the last one.
Happy Valentine’s Day.