At weddings and anniversaries people often say things like “I’m marrying/married by best friend.”
I may smile and nod but inside that private place of my mind, it makes me roll my eyes. It’s one of those things that people say because they’re expected to, but they often don’t really mean it. People try to make one person fit all things to them, and I think it’s unreasonable. I am so lucky to have so many people I love – my mother, my daughter, my siblings, my friends, my cousins, my aunts and uncles, my in-laws… my husband doesn’t need to fill all those roles.
10 years ago I married an amazing man, now with experience on my side I can safely say THE MOST amazing man I’ve ever met. I didn’t marry my best friend, although she stood by us and witnessed the union. I married the man I loved, the man who makes my heart race a little just to see his face, hear his voice or feel my hand in his. I married the man that makes me feel comfortable and secure and off-balance all at the same time. The person that makes me feel content to be just the way I am, and yet driven to be more and better because of him. I married my husband, my love.
Now, my best friend, that’s something altogether different. She knew me when I was a teenager, and in my 20’s (not my best decade…), and through my life-threatening illness in my 30’s, and life altering changes of transitioning from business suits to overalls. She has seen me as I’ve learned who I wanted to be and all the attempts of finding my place as I matured. She has held my hair when I ‘celebrated’ life a bit too much and my shoulders when I was wracked with sobs. Even from a great distance I can feel her hold my chin up when I don’t have the strength to on my own. She is my best friend. I didn’t marry her, but a lucky man by the name of Rasmus did.
I married Tom Brown. Today is the 10th anniversary of that amazing day in 2001. One decade down, as many as we can possibly squeeze out to go.
Tom saved my life, literally at first, then figuratively for the past decade.
Literally when dealing with the United States’ embarrassingly corrupt and broken healthcare system, when (even though I had full coverage insurance through my employer) I was denied the ability to go to the hospital without threat of losing my home and everything I worked for because the lab didn’t believe the blood work results could be real. Ultimately and against doctors orders Tom finally forced the issue and got me to the hospital with a hematocrit of less than 2% (for those of you in the medical field you have been taught this is impossible – anything under 4% is “incompatible with life” and the average should be in the mid-40’s%).
Somehow, against all odds and with the help of a fantastic medical team and many blood donors (go – donate blood!!!), I survived. If Tom wasn’t there, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have gotten to see the lovely young woman my daughter has evolved into. I would have never learned how to make cheese or midwife for a goat, which leads me to how he saved my life, figuratively and just as importantly.
A life unfulfilled is really no life at all. The beauty is that you don’t need to give up on it. If your life feels like it doesn’t fit you or is unfulfilling, you can alter your course to live a fulfilled life literally at any moment. Seriously. I’m not being all dramatic and romantic, I am being quite literal.
For a period of time after we were married, we knew there wasn’t a fit in my life. We struggled together to try and fix it. Career changes and adjustments didn’t help. The answer took time to uncover, but ultimately the answer found us… much to my sweet husband’s chagrin. Through my precious daughter I was introduced to goats, and the person who would become my mentor, and probably the single largest non-family member impact on my life.
Her impact was even more important than the positive impacts of Mrs. Keipe, my third grade teacher, or Mr. Eddy who taught biology, or Mrs. March who taught Jr. High mathematics, Ms. Bechtold who tried to teach me some culture and some Spanish in high school (I love guacamole now!!), or Mr. Greenberg my high school volleyball coach, or even than the negative impact of Mr. Stowe.
My husband didn’t know he married a farmer. To be fair, I didn’t know either. My sweet, patient, tolerant, generous love has supported our new mission even when he is quite certain I’m certifiably out of my mind. He has supported me financially, physically and emotionally. He has freely given more to me than anyone could ever expect from another human. He has embraced me with his love, completely.
And although I know it will embarrass him to have this posted publically, I am going to share it, for a few reasons:
1) I know he loves me and I often forget to let him know that I see it in the things he does every day and how much that love is returned.
2) I know there are people everywhere that are lonely, scared and feel unsupported. I want them to know this is possible. I didn’t think it was… and it is. You don’t have to tolerate abuse and disrespect. Loving relationships are real and available if you are available to them. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have moods where I feel unsupported or lonely – I do, but I know when I look at our relationship those feelings are temporary, and they pass.
3) Your life should fit you. If it doesn’t, something is wrong. Self-examination, or using a professional’s support can help you figure it out. Sometimes just holding a baby goat will do the trick.
4) Your partner should love you… no matter how you evolve (okay, unless you evolve into a mass murderer or something)… but you have to do the same. Fair is fair. Expecting them to support you while you go through your drama and then turning your back when they decide to pick up a paintbrush, or a guitar, or change their profession isn’t reasonable. Marriage is an equal partnership.
5) How could anyone that has ever been in love deny anyone else the opportunity to marry the person they love? Their partner? Their love? Knowing what I have, denying the right to another human seems inhumane. Actually, not only does it offend my sense of fairness and right/wrong, it frankly astounds me and pisses me off that people could be so cruel and myopic in this day and age.
6) A love letter or the perfect prose can be hard to write, but a blog doesn’t have the same standards (hmmm, maybe it should? Nah.).
To the love of my life, thank you for the last 10 years, you are my real-life hero, gratefully sans spandex (at least in public *wink*). I’m looking forward to the adventures the next 50 or so years will bring us!