December 20, 2002 ~ Open Letter to Morgan
Our second wedding anniversary was Monday, but, to be honest, December 16, 2000 is not to me the most important day in our history. The vows that we gave that day were not new, a sudden commitment; they had already been said, though not so formally or so publicly. Today I join my life forever with yours. I promise to love you, support you, and honor you, no matter what challenges we shall face. We knew from the beginning that what we shared was it, that we were to be together. And that was that. So, to be accurate, it has been a wonderful four and a half years, or thereabouts, not just two.
Do you remember the evening after we prepared the huge Thanksgiving feast, after everyone had left? I had taken off my shoes, picked up my book, and sat on the couch. You collapsed next to me, picked up your book, stretched out, laid your head in my lap, and started reading.
You probably didn't notice that I never did open my book that evening. I was watching you. I laid my hand on your head and stroked your hair. You continued to read, absentmindedly nuzzling against my hand on occasion. I watched you breathe, watched you smile at some small amusement in the text, and the smile took a long time to fade, lingering around your eyes. Despite the long day that it had been and the stress of trying to pull so many things together at once, you seemed light, content, and very happy.
A warmth and a tingle spread through all of my cells. I was flying sitting down. I wanted nothing more in the world than to care for you, to love you, to hold you, and to protect you from all sorrows and cruelties. It was one of those moments where life feels incredibly precious, where the time trickles across your tongue and you savor the taste, slowly absorbing each individual drop. I was stunned by how fierce that protectiveness felt, when fully realized.
Today as you read on the couch, I stretched out beside you, head on your chest, listening to your heart, my arms clinging to keep from falling. I fell asleep waiting for you to reach your breaking point. In my sleep I dreamed that I was sleeping. Still sleeping in reality, in the dream I half-woke and felt your body next to mine, chest rising and falling with breath, arms wrapped around me, and you--sleeping in the dream--half woke too, kissing my forehead then holding me tight as we both fell asleep again in that dream world. To sleep in my husband's arms dreaming of sleeping in my husband's arms--that is bliss.
Do you know that when I wake at night I hold my breath and listen, to make sure that you are still breathing? That oftentimes when I call you during the day it is not to communicate some small trifle, as I do, it is simply to hear your voice, to make sure that you are okay?
The other day at work, walking the path up Sunderland Lawn, having retrieved the mail, robins singing in the oaks whose bare branches strained for the sky, a squirrel digging in the grass too green under the sky too blue, feeling the warm sun on my back, I thought of you and became unbearably joyful, basking in your light though you were not there. I was beautiful and sacred and run through with love. My hair, my face, my eyes, they shone. What was inside me, were it to burst through my chest, would blind the world. I could feel your love under my feet, and, though I did not look down to check, I am sure that I treaded not on ground but on air. Tears stung my eyes, my cheeks burned, and I laughed out loud. To be so loved.
Oh, why do we force ourselves to hide such joy from others, pressing it down, containing it beneath our skin, putting on a calm mask of normality? Perhaps because, were we all to let it loose, such love would break the world in two, and all would weep and laugh and order would be gone forever.
To love every week more than the one before, to weave a stunning tapestry together with individual threads of staggering beauty, to create and explore and discover not alone but with another, to stumble in the dark and find a hand there to catch us, such is our lives together. Disagreements we work through, misfortunes we bear, sadnesses we endure, storms we weather, but, through them all, this love grows. Harsh winds extinguish small flames but enliven great ones.
My first eighteen years were spent stumbling through a crowd where no one would look me in the eyes. I sidestepped, sometimes I backtracked; I was pushed and jostled by strangers, bruised, worn, and sometimes broken. But one day, I looked up and across that crowd of strangers, and for the first time in my life I looked someone in the eyes. I haven't looked away since. Nothing can break that gaze.
I love you. I love you, Morgan, and no words can say it as I feel it.
Your shooting star,