It’s been a long day. I drag myself up the stairs and wander into our closet. I reach for the stack of folded sweatpants and grab the pair of blue PINK ones. You know, the ones you got me for Christmas two years ago. Turning away from my side of the closet, I head towards yours. My hands run across the T-shirts hung up until I come across a favorite. It’s usually one of the older ones. It probably has a hole in it somewhere and doesn’t seem to fit you anymore, but you continue to wash it and hang it on your side of the closet even though we both know that I have claimed it as mine over the years.
I hear you downstairs. Gathering the bottle or two that are somewhere in the house left behind by the baby. You rinse the bowl you used for ice cream while we watched Jimmy Fallon tonight. You love ice cream. And we love Jimmy Fallon. I then hear you check all the doors to make sure they are locked and begin shutting off all the lights.
Meanwhile I’m upstairs removing the piles of folded laundry from our bed. They end up on the floor next to the wall until someone can get to them tomorrow. I shut off my computer that sits on the desk across the room. That part of our bedroom used to be empty, but you moved my entire desk upstairs when the summer heat kicked in a few weeks ago. My office gets sun all day and you were worried about me being too hot during the day while working.
I head into the bathroom once again to turn the closet light back on and shut the doors until just a small amount of light shines through. At least one out of the four miniatures will wind up in our bed before the night is over and having our closet light on makes it easier for them not to trip over the piles of clothes and my pair of stilettos I left out from church the other day.
Plugging my phone in, I set my alarm to six different times beginning at 5:30 AM. We both know I won’t hear it until 6:30, but I like to think that I may get better at this each day. Despite the fact I haven’t yet, you don’t say anything and let me set each of the six alarms knowing very well that you will be elbowing me at 6:30 to shut my phone off.
My head hits the pillow and I let out a slightly dramatic and exhausted sigh. The list for tomorrow runs through my head as well as the things I couldn’t get to today. There is always something I couldn’t get to. You have made it up the stairs and I hear you in the bathroom brushing your teeth. I roll onto my side waiting for you as my eyes get heavy. You are finally able to crawl into bed. You lean over and kiss me on the forehead before laying your head down while simultaneously telling me how tired you are. I assure you I understand as we both close our eyes and try to fall asleep as quickly as possible knowing that tomorrow will arrive within minutes.
Gathering up the covers and tucking them under my chin, I breathe in the smell of that old T-shirt. It smells like you… with a slight hint of Axe deodorant. You haven’t worn it in years and it has been washed over and over, but it has never stopped smelling like you. The cotton fabric has become thin over time and the lettering on it is cracked and faded, but it feels like home. It feels like you.
Ten years ago today we stood in that backyard and promised the world to each other. We promised through the good and the bad we would continue to stand next to each other and love one another unconditionally. You have stood by me through my darkest times, held me up when I couldn’t stand on my own and loved me when I didn’t love myself. Marriage may not look like the perfect picture day in and day out in our lives and there are the days that neither of us find time for even a shower let alone a date night, but I have never doubted a moment of it.
Through the stacks of bills, the sippy cups and dirty diapers, the defeats and the triumphs, the sleepless nights, the arguments and the make ups you have been my strong side. A quiet force who has continually lifted me to higher places. Who has supported endlessly, loved deeply, respected infinitely and who has not let a single day go by without telling me how much you love me. Or how beautiful I am. PINK sweatpants, old T-shirts and all. T-shirts that feel like home.
Happy ten years, my love. With all of me and more…