Thursday 22 August 2013

A Sailboat Built for Two: Happy Anniversary my Love

Four years ago today Tracy and I stood in front of our friends and family and were pronounced wife and wife. Bathed in the shiny light of newlywed bliss we soaked up the advice that others had to offer.

One of our guests pulled me aside and described marriage as a two person sailboat. It is designed, he said, to glide effortlessly through still waters when both people are committed to their task. But sometimes one person will slack off.  At those times the other person needs to pick up the slack and know that her turn to pass off the responsibility will come in time. Other times the water gets rocky. When that happens both sailers need to buckle down and work together. He finished by reminding us that marriage is hard work. I wondered if he was right? Would my marriage be hard work? In that moment it seemed hard to imagine.

This last year was certainly the hardest of our 4 year marriage and 8 years together. Postpartum Depression rocked me to my core and impacted every aspect of my life. And my marriage was amongst the hardest hit. During this trip on rocky water we didn't turn to each other to work harder and better in order to sail through. At times we imagined jumping ship. And at other times we worried that the other person was ready to throw us overboard.

The water has since calmed. And as we come out of the fog we can look back and realize that we didn't always handle those choppy waters with grace. We didn't always turn towards one another and work together to keep the boat on track. In fact, we sometimes made every effort to see the sailboat move in opposite directions.

But we did hold on. We didn't run that sailboat. We didn't read the map or plan the journey. We just held on. And that boat, our marriage, kept us afloat. In the roughest waters our marriage didn't require hard work or communication. It did the work for us and just asked us to hold on.

And hold on we did.

And now here we are. Sailing effortlessly once again. We have lost the innocense that comes with the expectation of endless sun. But now we are able to appreciate it's warmth like never before.

Four years ago I couldn't have imagined what was to unfold. Mac was just a semi-secret dream held deep in my heart. And Andy was still living his life in NYC having yet to hear from a couple of Canadian lesbians requesting his sperm. PPD was beyond my comprehension. But I loved my wife fiercely. I was certain that I was the lucky one. And I was beyond grateful that I had somehow convinced her to spend the rest of her life with me. Four years later I feel the exact same way.

Four years ago I didn't understand how difficult, or how important, the seemingly simple act of holding on could be. But I am still not the person who will describe marriage as hard work. Because in the most difficult times it wasn't us who did the hard work. It was our marriage that worked hard for us. It was our marriage that kept our heads above water. And all we had to do was hold on.

Happy 4th anniversary my love. Marrying you will always be the smartest decision I ever made.

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