You didn’t sign up for this, but you stayed anyway.
You didn’t ask to be the one to watch me fall apart, but you still put me back together.
I’m sure most of the time this hasn’t really felt like the storybook romance you imagined as a little girl, but here we are, ten lifetimes later.
We were two kids without the foggiest idea what love was, but we were eager to find out. I like to think those first precious moments we did the best we could with what we had.
And then, I left. I left to go somewhere else to fight someone else’s battles and left the most important person in my world behind. Those first few years, it seemed like I was always leaving, like I was always one foot out the door. And every time I came back home, the weight I carried seemed to press down just that much harder.
My shoulders hunched and my back ached under the load. All I wanted to do was hide, to go away to that nothing I had created inside of me, where I didn’t have to feel anything.
But you were always there, calling me back.
When my hands balled themselves into clenched fists, you’d slide your hand gently into mine, and it would always bring me back. When the dreams came, you’d speak gently into the fear, coaxing my broken mind back to sleep, muttering prayers as I drifted away. When the hard questions would settle in like a weight on my chest, you’d sit right there with me, reminding me to keep breathing.
You kept me here.
Then our world got a little bigger (or perhaps smaller). Now, there are two boys, boys whose eyes shine with the love you show them every day, boys who are constantly teaching me what it is to be human again. They’re brave, loving, smart, kind and compassionate because of you. In twenty more years, they’ll be young men, looking back at their childhoods and I’ll remind them who it was who taught them to walk humbly, who gave them their passion for justice, and who taught them what grace really means.
Now, I’m sure there have been times when you wanted to leave. No one would’ve blamed you, even me, but something kept you here through it all: love or fate or faith, you stayed, and that’s worth honoring. No one should have to carry what you did, but you carried it with grace and understanding, and that’s worth honoring. For ten years, just by being yourself you’ve constantly pushed me to be the best version of me I can be.
I’ll never be able to repay you for how good you’ve been to me these last ten years, but I know that’s not the point. I’ll never be able to thank you adequately for saving me time after time, but I know you don’t care. All I can give you is everything, and I will, for as long as I can.
You are everything love should look like. You are my once in a lifetime.