Number Nine

Today was my 9th wedding anniversary. Nobody remembered. Not even me and Nick.

Which was awesome! Because it means we’ve been together long enough that another year going by isn’t all that big of a deal.

Ever since I got married, I’ve been looking forward to this stage of our relationship. I guess I felt like having upwards of 10+ years under our belts would make us safe from the threat of splitting up. It seemed like most of our married friends split before their 8th or 9th year…

But then, we also know folks who’ve split past the 20-year mark, which means that you’re never truly safe.

This is, after all, a trust game. If you’re playing for the long-haul, you hafta trust that your partner is, too.

And I’ve got one helluva partner. Despite that time he told my entire grad school class that I was “making bread in my pants” because I had a yeast infection…

I’m not sure how many people can say their partner actually shaped them for the better – I hope it’s more folks than I imagine – but for me, it’s an understatement. And I’d like to believe we do it every day, in small and big ways, for one another.

It’s true: we’ve done a terrific job of “becoming one.” Maybe TOO good of a job…

In talking with a friend today, I realized it’s quite possible that Nick and I actually need to work more on becoming two.

Anytime you live with someone for a prolonged period of time, you become a bit dependent on the way they do certain things – set up the coffee machine every night, mow the lawn, handle the live wasp you find in your bed sheets…

Eventually, it’s far too easy to a) take all of these things for granted, and b) become so reliant on someone else managing them that you almost forget you’re a perfectly capable adult, too.

But it’s not just our approach to home ownership and breakfast preparation that needs a bit of disentangling – it’s our identities and interests, the risks we take on our own.

I’m speaking mostly to myself here, as Nick has grown leaps and bounds in his affinity for new things. In the past year, he learned to teach yoga, became somewhat of a bacon connoisseur, and took up rock climbing.

It’s been a real thrill watching him take on these various challenges and rock the shit out of them. He encourages me on the regular to go do the same for myself. And I’d love to, I really would. It’s just…

How? I mean, I understand the black and white logistics of signing up for a cooking class or learning screenwriting – both things I’m itching to try – but in just five years of motherhood, my brain has become WAY too good at overriding my desire to be an individual.

It’s a bit ironic that this “mom” identity, which took me half a decade to finally feel comfortable with, now seems to overshadow every other fucking part.

Sometimes, that’s a good thing.

When I’m having a bad writing day or feel like a shitty partner, I have a secondary identity to shore up my confidence and help me feel adept at a worthwhile endeavor.

But damn. Can I please be independent from all of this endless responsibility and neediness now and again?

I’m working on it.

The first step, of course, is to realize there’s a problem…

It may take me another half a decade to solve it. More likely this is going to be a rest-of-my-life wrestling match – a never ending tug-of-war between all the parts that make up “me.”

But I’ve got a ride-or-die partner to push and shape me. Although there’s no guarantee that this is a sure thing we’ve got, there’s no better bet than love.

And, as long as I keep the “bread making” to a minimum, I’d say the odds are in our favor.

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