View from the 10th Year


I remember casting bedroom eyes at you on our wedding day. I remember those first days of the honeymoon, never close enough to your bare skin. It was a passion I never thought would quell, a need I knew I'd have forever. I never dreamed of the comfort of this 10 year love, how being roommates and companions is fulfilling in a way that nightly sex isn't. 


This tenth year, you come home to beautiful choas in a house where I am trying to throw myself into "opposite action" - when I feel weak, I do something crazy. Dig into crazy love for these four children born of you and I and birthed from my now-spent belly. You walk in to find Fort Valentine constructed in the least clean expanse of our floor, right in the middle of the kitchen at dinnertime.

And all you do is smile and give me a hug.


You make supper to the tune of a boy singing to his trains.


You and I laugh over the budding "manicurist" who never wants her own nails painted.


You don't mind that the house is full of cousins,
a Valentine's Day party for kids in full swing.


You laugh at my Smartie parfaits, and don't seem to notice
I fed them to our children right before dinnertime.


You doggedly begin on the lunch dishes standing dirty in the sink.
You bring me warm fajitas as I rest in our bedroom in the dark,
my ear aching, my energy spent.

By the time I crawl into bed with you, you are already asleep. The children needed rocking, and reading, to come down from their Valentine's Day sugar high. I had to prepare their clothes for yet another early morning trip to the doctor's the next day. I sigh, open my book, and read a few paragraphs before I join you in slumber. We are barely touching, too asleep to cuddle, no action between the sheets this year. At first, I feel a little ashamed that Valentine's Day has come to this, you on call and me exhausted, and the main thing accomplished today was four happy children who felt loved by us both.

But there is comfort here, simply in the sharing. There is beauty here, simply in the serving. There is passion left, that binds us together in the night and keeps us content in each other's arms while we wait for the next time to ride that wave and sleep tonight to each other's sounds.

It scares me sometimes, how comfortable your love is, like my favorite sweatshirt and pair of yoga pants. I always thought of love as a skinny halter dress, squeezing tight and showing everything. But in the nights of warmer pajamas and spooning under flannel, I've learned that love is much more than physical. It is the delight of sharing life, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the mundane, monotonous, and magical, all rolled into a beautiful life together.

Thank you for loving me quietly in all the moments in between the rowdy. You are showing me a new face to married love that I never dreamed was possible.


'Cause when we dream, it's of the wind, blowing cold and hard 
When we wake up we still live in a house of cards

Sometimes we were a fire burning out of control 
Sometimes we were nothing but a candle glow 
But it never died, baby, that's how I know 
There's a keeper for every flame 


~Chorus from Keeper for Every Flame, Mary Chapin Carpenter~