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He surprises me. In all kinds of ways. Like when he steps over something that’s been dropped without even seemingly seeing it. He surprises me when he leaves his clothes in a pile where he undresses. I’m pretty astonished when I send him with a list of four things and he forgets three of them. And frankly he shocks me at times with his genetic general male unawareness gene (ggmug). But he also surprises, no amazes, me in the most profound, unconditionally loving ways. He’s there, truly in the moment, for all of our major and sometimes even more importantly, minor life events. We’ve had a few “for worse” episodes these past few years and he was there, present, willing, non- judging, loving, and supportive. He’s tolerated, compromised, and sacrificed in a way that’s only possible through love. It’s not like I’m saying that it’s surprising he would do it, insinuating that he wouldn’t, but living this life, this crazy life with young children, it’s easy to forget the essence of the meaning of what we truly give of ourselves to make this kind of life work. To make a marriage work. And stepping back, looking hard, it’s intense. When 7 years feels like 70 because every day is full to the brim with the overwhelming spectrum of emotions.

Parenting adds a layer to a marriage like no other I suspect. In fact, I think having children at times ‘kidnaps’ your marriage and holds it for ransom at a price you can’t afford to pay. It goes without saying that your needs as an individual and in your coupledom are the second, third, or fourth priority depending on how many lovable/demanding offspring you’ve created. In times when we are so fragile and raw, and sleep deprivation can cause a collapse triggered by the slightest of circumstances, it’s critical to know who’s standing with you, who’s your teammate, who’s got your back. Because most days feel like the amazing race and often end with the last man standing, we carry each other through, sometimes dragging each other on. But that’s a solid partner, someone who measures his success on our collective wellness. And that’s what I have. And that is amazing.

So he surprised me. With a ridiculously thoughtful web declaration. And the gift was something I coveted. Something he knew would materialistically make me smile. But what deeply made my heart smile was his challenging theory to the seven year itch. Because as us married folk know, 4, 7, 12 years, or any other presumed number, every day is a test. When most days, a life partnership along with parenting can compare to an intense dodgeball tournament in which the proverbial hits keep coming. Every day we choose. And more than not, I say I did, and I still do.

I met him when we were 12. We hung in the same circle and we became friends. We were 23 when we started dating and 27 when we got engaged. We were 28 when we married and here we are, 7 life-filled years later. It’s difficult to say who picked who, but that in fact, is one detail that doesn’t matter as we both chose wisely. This one goes out to the one I love. I’m grateful you’re mine and I’m proud of what we created. Happy Anniversary!