Has it really been nine years? On the one hand, it seems like just yesterday. On the other, it seems like a lifetime ago.
I remember the summer we got married. Me, fresh out of college and treading water in a step-up from an internship part-time job at a marketing firm I had no intention of staying at. You, three years into your dream job that had started to turn into more of a nightmare. I remember how romantic it seemed that we had decided to strike out on our own, pack up our lives and head to DC so I could be something. And then I remember crying all the way until Petersburg, VA that Labor Day weekend, thinking what have I done?
I remember that first apartment in Alexandria and how we knew none of our neighbors. I remember you supporting me financially because I had taken a job that in retrospect was a great move that opened up lots of doors, but that paid probably less than the baristas at the Starbucks in our building.
I remember buying our first home for what I thought was a small fortune.
I remember you supporting me when I left that first job and went to the agency side. I remember 9/11 and doing all I could to get home to you but being stuck in Gaithersburg, MD with a colleague because I was scared to ride the train and she had the easiest way out of the city. I remember you picking me up at her house and driving back to Virginia on a nearly deserted Beltway at 5pm. I remember holding onto you that night and realizing silence had never been so deafening as listening to nearby Dulles Airport lay quiet.
I remember you helping to pump me up the next morning as I insisted on riding the train into work, feeling afraid and brave all at the same time. And then I remember getting the call from you later that morning that you had been laid off with a number of your colleagues. I remember how dark that time was for us as a couple and a nation and how we came out stronger on the other side.
I remember supporting you when you decided you wanted to go back to grad school. I remember the excitement when you got into the school you wanted and then the anxiety when we realized that this meant we’d be moving and leaving behind everything we’d built in DC.
I remember crying when we left the house in Virginia and how you held my hand as we headed south on 85 for the last last time. I remember how excited you were to start on your first day of class.
I remember how we supported each other through the loss of our remaining grandparents (your Grandmother, and my Grandma and Grandpa just 9 months apart). I remember when I lost my dear friend L. while away on a business trip and how you supported me when I decided I should stay away for dear D.’s wedding even if it meant missing L.’s funeral. I remember coming home from that trip and how you were waiting for me at the airport and held me while I sobbed, ignoring the stares of fellow passengers.
I remember how happy we were to start trying to have a baby and how excited you were when that second little line appeared. I remember you at the ultrasound, seeing that little peanut and finding out you were having a son. I remember when you finally felt him kick. And I will never forget how surprised I was that when the midwife said she saw his head you looked (after swearing throughout the pregnancy that you would be staying “north” of the action) and then looking at me with tears in your eyes.
I remember the sleepless nights in the beginning. The hours of just staring at this little being we created.
I remember all the laughter and the fun and look forward to more of the same in the years to come.
I remember that I love you, even if I I sometimes forget to show it in the hubbub of our newly developing family life. I promise to make this ninth year a wonderful one, full of love and family. I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather be on this road with. Thank you for everything.
Happy Ninth Anniversary!