I remember the first time I saw you. I remember the time after that and the time after that too.
I remember the walk up the Colorado mountain when you asked me to marry you.
And I remember watching you walk up to me, slowly emerging from the group of soldiers that still carried the Middle Eastern dust on their boots, an ocean and gunfire no longer separating us.
I remember watching you walk through our house holding each of our new babies, bouncing and shushing this tiny new life, so small in your arms.
And I remember walking the trail with you, our safe space, dreaming and planning and venting when those dreams and plans seemed so far off.
And these moments form the framework of our life together, this world that we have built between the two of us. But it’s actually not the share-worthy moments that hold up this world of ours. It’s not the events that seem so big, so noteworthy that we stand on.
It is the days that add up between those moments, thousands of them by now, that gather around holding us up that form the building blocks of our world. An entire decade lived side by side, a million simple moments shared.
This love of ours, this everyday ordinary, embracing the adventure, growing older together kind of love of ours, is built in the everyday small.
Catching each other’s eye across the room. Squeezing your elbow as we pass in the kitchen. Grabbing a spoon and eating out of the ice cream carton. Loads of laundry and belly laughs and sitting on the couch and Saturdays and cookies in the back yard.
Yeah, those are our building blocks. This life we’ve built, this day after day after day of a life together, we’ve built through the ordinary and the small and the details that combine.
But what about when those blocks crumble? What about when some of the walls begin to crack?
Because when we stood there on that twilight lit evening in June we said In sickness and in health, For better and for worse, For richer and for poorer.
Because then there are the conversations that become a little tense. Or the curveball that wasn’t in the life plan. Or that terrible thing I said when I lashed out at you.
Or the simple fact that we change over the course of our years together.
Can our foundation flex enough to withstand it all? The two people changing, the sickness and health, the better and worse? Are our building blocks strong enough to crack but not collapse?
I begin to notice what he’s not doing. I get bitter with how he spends his time- thinking that he needs to give more of himself to us.
I get caught up in the stress of the day. The exhaustion of the kids. The anxiety over the job and money and our living situation. I listen to worry.
We stop spending time together. School and work and kids and stress speak more loudly and demand more attention.
We live together, sure. We spoke when we had to, sure, but hadn’t really talked in a month. Fatigue from the baby and the strain from work broke us a little bit; total exhaustion and survival built a wedge between us.
So many cracked blocks.
How do we rebuild what’s been broken?
And it’s right in front of me. Rebuild the exact same way we started. We rebuild us by living in the everyday ordinary all over again. We reclaim control over the blueprints of our world, of our marriage, when we remember that we began building in the first place using the simplest of bricks.
And so I make a point to notice what he does. I tell myself that he just cleaned the dishes. And make note that he’s playing with the girls. And that he came home early. I make a point to notice. And I remember what he does. And it changes me.
He invites me into celebration. We inject a little bit of fun into our days again and don’t take life so seriously. A sunset picnic in the backyard. Indulging in chocolate chip cookies for dessert after lunch. Retelling our favorite moments of the day.
We start talking again. First with small, simple words. Then we loosened up a little, embraced a little more silly. We shared how we were actually doing. We turned up the music real loud and poured a glass of wine and danced in the kitchen. We remembered what it was like to laugh together and the more we laughed, the more we talked.
We started building shared memories together again. We went on hikes and made daily iced coffees and cooked dinner together. We discovered our favorite local joints and made a summer bucket list.
See, there’s this funny thing about marriage. In it, because of it, through it, the very most ordinary moment matters. The simple forms the glue that holds you two together. Add enough simple, everyday moments together they form a day and then a month and then the years upon years that you live together.
And the simplicity of days forms a strong enough glue to hold together the moments that crack, the days that feel like they’re crumbling beneath you.
I stumble out of bed in the morning- the night and the newborn were hard. I see you in the kitchen, coffee made, beginning to chop veggies for breakfast, the girls doing puzzles. You let the day begin without me, you gave me space to recover, you serve me in the simple.
And in that moment right there, early morning bedhead, coffee in hand, I love you more than I ever have.