Tomorrow’s my birthday. It’s the big three-five, which is…you know, kind of a waah-waaw, sad-trombone kind of affair when you’re trying to get pregnant. But I hold firm to my last post: I’m not going to wallow or muck about in regrets and melancholy here. That will not help me and it will not help the (currently nonexistent) people who read this.
Instead, I’m going to post a link to this meditation website I sometimes visit, and remark upon the fact that it was just what I needed to hear today. Even though it’s a quote from that old crank, Andy Rooney (may he rest in peace).
If you don’t feel like clicking, let me sum up: if your happiness depends on the big stuff like events and new jobs and things that cost or earn you money, then you will probably find happiness to be elusive at best. If, on the other hand, you derive happiness from small things like, as Andy says, “a drink or a nap” (which will probably be the name of the blog I start the day my first Social Security check arrives), you’ve got a pretty good shot at happiness, kid.
I’m happy. I’m happier than I ever thought I’d be. This last day of my 34th year on earth is as good a time as any to remind myself why that is.*
*I started out writing a list of all the things that make me happy, but I got stuck on Buble so I’m just going to remove the bullet-point thing altogether and soldier on.
Buble, who tells me every day that he loves me; who tells me he gets into bed at night and thinks, “I must be the happiest man on the planet”; who is a competent, endlessly diplomatic man but still manages to find a child’s delight in our old brown dog; who wakes me each morning with the same gentle sing-song call of my name; who is determined to make me dinner tomorrow night even though he’s not exactly an adept in the kitchen; who eats breakfast with me each morning; who makes the coffee; who does the laundry; who spends a great deal of time devising ways to make me laugh; who tells me I’m his girl; who is very tall; who doesn’t get mad when I throw a fit about dish towels or the Brita lid; who looks like a little boy when he’s sleeping; who loves sloppy joes and spaghetti with meatballs; who always, always gets the joke; who loves Guided by Voices and the Wu-Tang Clan and Pavement and the Beastie Boys and Neutral Milk Hotel and the Hold Steady; who gets a little teary-eyed when he hears “Dirty Old Town”; who likes the smell of cooking cabbage because it reminds him of his granddad’s apartment building; who treats everyone with simple, straightforward respect; who indulges my love of flashbacks and taste tests and basically everything except coconut (which he hates)…
The truth is, I always thought marriage would be harder than this. You know? Everyone says that marriage is work and there’s no such thing as happily ever after…and I know that we have years and years left to figure out what they’re talking about, but it’s not like we haven’t faced some hard times of our own. We don’t have a lot of money and we’re seeing a fucking fertility specialist after a year and a half of heartbreaking inability to get pregnant; I’m basically unemployed, and have been for almost four years. I know I sound defensive, which is stupid, but I want to emphasize that I’m not starry-eyed. The success of our relationship isn’t due to newlywed bliss or having it easy.
I always thought maybe married couples must be different behind closed doors. I thought they did that thing where they just got up in the morning and got dressed and bolted some coffee, all the while barely grunting at each other in acknowledgment. That’s kind of the standard Hollywood shorthand for marriage, you know? But Buble and I talk all the time. We ask each other how we slept, how the day was, what we want for breakfast/lunch/dinner. We talk about the news, make jokes about politicians, tease each other. He listens to me agonize about substitute teaching or volunteering for a campaign and he makes me feel better. I listen to his stories about the people he works with and tell him what I think. We talk about people we know, places we want to go, things that happened to us before we met.
I thought there was a famous quote about marriage being a lifelong conversation, but when I tried to Google it I just turned up a bunch of marriage workshops and Christian inspirational sites. And neither of those things captures the depth and…and pressure of the wonder I feel when I think of my husband.
He will come home tonight and I will come home tonight and we will kiss. We will talk a little bit and maybe make some food and watch TV. We will go to bed and pass his iPhone back and forth to play the games we play on it. I will press my cold feet against his warm legs and he’ll growl and speak sternly to me about just keeping them still until they warm up. He’ll try to convince Mary Todd to jump on the bed with us, and she might just do so. If she does, we’ll pet her while she gazes placidly into our eyes. He will roll onto his side to fall asleep while reading his book, and I will curl in behind him and kiss his back. He’ll fall asleep before I do, and I’ll have to rouse him to turn off the light and put his book away. He’ll do it, and we’ll lie there together, our eyes closed, our hearts beating. We’ll fall asleep and wake up in the morning when the alarm sounds.
I love him, and he loves me, and the multitudes contained in that simple fact are miraculous enough for one lifetime.