I half-noticed her slink off after I said I just wanted a picture of me and her dad first. It was our wedding anniversary and normally she doesn’t want to be in pictures even when I ask her. Then it was her turn and we found her curled up on the couch, her cheeks wet with tears. Anyway, that’s why she’s doing an arm fart in the picture. Her dad scooped her up and blew on her arm and it made a funny sound, which made her laugh and then she made her own arm fart and we were golden again. Arm farts for the win!
Her dad is Joe, who is my husband of 16 years. We’ve been together 2 years longer than that and still have the cat and ficus tree we got when we moved in together, though the cat is rickety with kidney failure and the ficus is so big we need two people to move it. Our relationship is 18 years old, so it just graduated high school, which is maybe why I had a dream last night about trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grow up. “I guess I’ll be a teacher,” I said reluctantly in the dream because I like talking about other people’s ideas but I’m terrified of public speaking. This fear, like most, is irrational because when I’ve had to speak and I’ve felt prepared, it has gone fine. Better than fine, occasionally.
Our marriage is better than fine, also. This was the first anniversary in awhile that I felt this and it makes my throat catch with gratitude. We went through a real rough patch and because there is a fine line between openness and over sharing and because I don’t have a handle on it, I will leave it at that. Every relationship has or will see its share of challenges. It’s the way the universe operates, and the only good news is that adversity builds muscle.
Our rough patch wasn’t because of the children, though it’s probably no coincidence that it started when our youngest was still a baby. We’re wired to make babies, but babies sure are hard on a marriage. I’m glad they don’t teach this in health class because while everyone would still want to mate, no one would want to actually make babies and soon there’d be only 200 people left on the planet and none of them would know how to make light bulbs or Oreos or a pair of shoes that are good looking and comfortable.
Our rough patch wasn’t even because of my drinking, though that sure didn’t help. I’ve found that sobriety is indeed like a pair of glasses that helps the world come into focus when I choose to put them on. Drinking was like a pair of blinders that blocked not only the hard stuff so I never worked through any of it, but it also kept me from noticing a lot of the good stuff right in front of me. I interpreted a lot of what my husband did or said in a fearful or negative light. In sobriety, I’ve learned it’s easier to view others with love.
Things are better than I could’ve imagined, but I still don’t know how they will turn out. He’s been the one who never gave up on us. Maybe one day he’ll change his mind. Who knows. Lately I worry he’ll lose interest because I don’t drink anymore and sometimes I feel dull or smug or both. It is one of my newer weak spots, though I’ve also worked hard to improve myself in other areas, like uh, not drinking too much. Hmm.
Letting go of unnecessary worry (ie, things I cannot possibly change no matter how badly I fucking want to) is something that seems to get easier with time. It happens when I choose to focus on the good in my life and in the people I love. I am rewarded with more good, which makes it easier to see the good next time, even when it’s not all good. Okay, let’s just close with an arm fart because I’m not sure what that means either.