But then we were together ten years and we mostly just chilled for that decade, lacking any demands that we become better, let alone the best we could be. We traveled and we partied and we dibbled here and dabbled there and we were always broke, but lucky in love, and life was pretty easy, overall. We spent years flitting from place to place, living in three states, six towns, and nine domiciles in our first decade together, no real responsibilities on our shoulders for most of that time.
When we got engaged, almost twelve years ago, another couple we knew at the time also got engaged, and bought a house. I can't believe you're buying a house! I told her. That's such a commitment. You're getting married! she replied. I know, I said. But husbands are portable.
As it turns out, I was correct there, at least in regards to our easy, breezy, goin' where the wind blows, lifestyle. We took our sweet time growing into anything but each other, and when love's the only commitment you have to make for the first decade or so, it's not so difficult to do. We get along well day-to-day. I thrive on daydreams, abstractions, and intuition while he loves delving into details, organizing and running daily operations with ruthless efficiency, eyes sparkling with adventure.
Because it took us so long to settle down, both career-wise and geographically, we had a long time to ponder what we wanted out of life. He decided to teach art; I wanted to split my work between early childhood ed and yoga, teaching each part-time, with the choice to stay home with my babies when they eventually came. So we needed a house affordable on one income, and hoped to find it in a city, rather than in the 'burbs or the boonies. We also knew we wanted a property that allowed (or needed) us to redesign, rework, remodel, with a yard big enough to landscape and garden, to grow some of what we eat rather than buying all of it. All of these were considerations that we entered into very consciously, albeit without fully understanding how they would play out day-to-day, and the level of commitment required to achieve them.
There are times when I feel like all we did for that decade is wait and wish for what we wanted, and then it manifested into reality via some sort of voodoo magic. I'm susceptible to New Age magical thinking at times, although I'm probably a pragmatist at heart. Other times I acknowledge that we worked hard to get here, although we did it so slowly that in retrospect it sometimes looks like hardly working.
But here we are, at long last! He's teaching art; I'm working part-time with infants, toddlers and their parents, and teaching a couple yoga classes a week. I have afternoons at home with my baby, and we're working on having another one (although this second, stubborn baby seems to be taking its own sweet time being conceived. Perhaps already taking after its lagging, last-minute parents!). We own a house in the city with a nice big yard that's just begging to be redesigned, reworked, remodeled, and don't even mention the landscaping/gardening that's somewhere on the bottom of an endless to-do list. When it all finally came together, it happened quickly. Very quickly, and the demands of our thoughtful choices suddenly seem to be outpacing the supply of time, energy and money we have to offer.
So, approaching a decade of marriage, my early words to my sister are finally put to the test. When push comes to shove, will I, will we, be better together? Will we be the best that we can? And will it be enough? Quite simply, it will have to be. What else do we have? Only faith. Faith that after a decade spent seeing a whole country full of choices, that the ones we've made are the ones we mean, and that taking the long road is our forte, and that while it seems like we've finally just arrived, this is really the beginning of a whole new trip, and one thing we do well together is travel. So, yes. Yes, together we will we better. Together, we will be the best we can be.