Time Magazine art for The Casual Vacancy review.


On 1 Year of Marriage

You know that I will always at least sing “WE BUILT THE PYRAMIDS” during “The Big Bang Theory” theme song. And you sing it with me.

I still miss you. Every single day that we don’t spend the full day together? I always tell you I missed you when I get home. And I am never lying. And it makes my day when you say you missed me, too.

You back me up. In so many ways and areas of our lives. Personally, publicly, to our friends, to our families, to our co-workers–you never, ever say anything against me in front of others.

On the other hand, you don’t shy away from telling me “stop it”. Those times when I’m trying to cook and you get in my way for 8 seconds while you’re putting dishes away and I snap and tell you that I’ll just do it, you tell me “you’re being ridiculous. Just stop,” and you say it in such a way that I’m never offended–it just makes me see reason, and it makes me stop having unnecessary tantrums. You don’t let me be a spoiled brat.

You make me laugh. You make me laugh so much.

You dance with me in the kitchen when there’s no music playing.

You appreciate me. When I clean the house in the morning before work, you text me as soon as you get home to say how clean everything is, to tell me thank you.

You understand my love of reading, of writing, of words. You suffer through my lengthy expositions on the latest novel I’ve read. I’ll never forget that when I finished “The Fault in our Stars” and came to you, bawling my eyes out, you just said “Oh honey, did he die?” and you held me and let me cry it all out while I blubbered incoherently to you about what happened at the end.

This next thing is something I simultaneously love and hate. Sometimes I come home and you’re already home. And sometimes, you’re not waiting in the living room or the kitchen. And whenever that scenario arises, I cannot simply wander upstairs to look for you. I have to cautiously peer around corners, look behind doors and check under the bed because you are potentially waiting to jump out and scare the bejesus out of me.

You fall asleep instantly and you can sleep through anything. BUT, when I need you, you wake up. What does that mean? It means that I can read with a light on until 4 am and you won’t mind. It means I can have the TV, the fan AND the air conditioner on and it doesn’t bother you. I can also turn them all off in the middle of the night if I think they’re keeping ME up, and it still doesn’t affect you. At the same time, when I wake up at 2:30 from a terrible nightmare, I can shake you awake to give me a hug and tell me everything is okay…before you fall promptly back to sleep.

You helped me survive through the greatest tragedy we’ve faced. You still understand if I get upset about it. And you’ve strongly agreed that we are cat people, and let me get one more kitten and name him Tut.

You let me name the cats after Egyptian kings and queens.

You always remind me how happy you are to be married to me. You’re out with friends, and you’ll come home and say “They wanted to stay out, and I was like ‘No, I want to get home to my wife’, and they made fun of me, but I didn’t care, because I really just wanted to be home with you.” You’ll never know how happy that makes me.

You encourage me to write. You let me bounce ideas of you, read out loud every word that I’ve written, and you never stop telling me to write more. You offer to help me make schedules, to do anything it takes to get me back on track. And I promise that someday really soon, I will get back to that writing. Here is an example of me trying.

You root for the Patriots. You stand by me through every win and loss. Last season, in that devastating loss in the Superbowl, you didn’t say a word when I quietly started crying and headed immediately for bed. You have, for two years, taken me to the Patriots vs. Bills game in spite of my major illness. That first year? I cried the whole way. You insisted that if we didn’t go, I’d be sad until the following year. And you know what? You were absolutely right. And it’s now one of my favorite things about you, one of my favorite stories to tell. This year, I was finally healthy, and I had so much fun with you, especially because we won! Thank you for being by my side.

You do this really weird thing sometimes, and it usually happens when you’re sick and have combined too many cold medicines. You get a song stuck in your head, some terribly annoying random tune. It’s usually right before bed, and until I convince you to try to fall asleep (which, as I already mentioned, takes 5 seconds once you put your mind to it) you will only speak to me via this tune. The most memorable one was when you would only talk to the tune of the “underground theme” in Mario brothers. It is SO annoying and SO endearing.

You love my cooking. I’m still never sure that you really love it, because you’re the only one I cook for, and maybe you’re just being excessively nice. But you really know how to make me feel good about myself. And it’s made me love cooking, which in turn has made me better at it. So, maybe all along that was your plan? Whatever, it’s made us both happy and it’s made me a good cook (probably). Props to you, sir.

When we go on car trips, we can sing Broadway songs together. I know my singing can’t ever compare to the amazing voice that you have, but you let me pretend I’m harmonizing with you. And it is so much fun for me.

When I started Harry Potter Club, you dropped everything you were trying to accomplish during your prep period to help me set everything up. You want me to be successful, you believe that I can be successful, and you do everything in your power to help get me there.

You don’t trivialize my problems. If I’m upset about something, you’re upset about it. You might not agree, you might think it’s silly, but you let me cry and complain and pout, you hold me and you try to understand. And that’s what I need, so thank you for that.

You tell me every day that I’m beautiful.

If I want to sleep sideways in bed, or upside down (our heads at the foot of the bed) you join me without complaint. And then 30 minutes later when I decide it was a stupid decision, you grudgingly (but without complaint) go back to our regular sleeping spots.

I have to say, that while you love my cooking and constantly encourage me to do so, you never expect me to. If I arrive home and have neglected to get something out of the freezer, and there’s nothing in the fridge? You have never once made me feel bad about that. You don’t dwell on it for a second. We order some pizza or go out to dinner, and that’s that.

In that same vein, I know you love when I’m a housewife. You love when I cook and clean and take care of you. But I never feel like you expect it and I always know that you appreciate it. Because you love me and take care of me, too, and you always say thank you. I cannot express how respected, needed, and loved that makes me feel.

You have stopped fighting my obsession with F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

You still let me, and encourage me, to do my own thing. To go out with my own friends, to make plans without you, to stay up even if you’re going to bed. You make sure that I still have my own identity, that while we’re a WE, you make sure I’m still ME. (That was incredibly cheesy and stupid sounding… you’re welcome.)

You (at least) feign interest in everything I’m interested in. Sometimes I can’t even tell if you’re faking it. And isn’t that what really counts?

A year ago, we got married. We did the vows, the dance, the cake cutting, the celebrating with our family and friends. We really rocked our first dance. We had an amazing honeymoon, and we’ve had one hell of a first year. We’ve had ups and downs (more ups, for sure, but also at least one major down) but none of them have had anything to do with our relationship. They’ve been the result of outside forces, and what has made me understand our relationship is how we have gotten through all of these situations, good and bad. There’s no un-cheesy way to say “we did it because we were together”, and even writing that ironically right now made me a little nauseous. Alas, it’s true. Being with you has allowed me to not only handle the terrible, but to happily celebrate the wonderful. You are the “good thing” in every situation. Simply put, you make every single thing in my life better. I’m so glad I married you–saying yes was the very best decision I’ve ever made. Happy Anniversary, Kyle. Here’s to a lifetime of a happiness and always celebrating it.