Two years ago tonight, I ate dinner with my family and closest friends, bade farewell to my fiancé, and headed to my mother’s where I would spend my last night as Rachel Stephansky. As Kyle and I prepare to celebrate our two year anniversary tomorrow (with cotton? Cotton is the lamest), I’ve been waxing nostalgic over all we’ve been through in the past four years of our relationship, and especially in the past 2 of our marriage. This second year has presented more challenges than I would have thought possible and there were times that we were so disheartened that I wasn’t sure how we’d ever get through it. But in that sentence lies the most important key to our survival: we. I’m sure it sounds incredibly cheesy and clichéd, but the rumors are true; having someone by your side through the thick and thin of it, literally for better and for worse (I guess those traditional vows actually mean something?) makes getting through life not only possible, but hopeful and promising.
Over the past year, life often felt like a constant uphill battle through a blinding hailstorm, like we were in the midst of a fight and no one was pulling any punches. We would overcome one challenge only to be met by the next. And yet, here we are. And while one component of our successes is that whole “we” thing, the other HUGE factor is the incredible friends and family who have helped us get to where we are. And where we are is a pretty amazing place to be.
Kyle and I, in spite of all the struggles, are distinctly lucky people. We are both employed at jobs that we legitimately enjoy (bonus factor: neither of us has to get up before 8 AM). We are, barring the occasional cold or bout of bronchitis, fairly healthy people (knock on some wood for me, will you? We’re still lacking in that whole “health care” department). We have parents who are not only willing and able, but downright eager to help us in any way they can, in both big ways and small. We have amazing friends, friends we play bar trivia with, friends we have dinner dates with, friends we don’t see often enough but are always there when we need them, friends who are up for anything, even if it’s just drinking a bottle of wine on the couch or heading to a local brewery for a beer, friends who are kind and wonderful and always happy for us. We have 3 happy and healthy cats who only occasionally run across our faces to wake us up in the morning. We have a pudgy little bulldog who we love so much and who is so eternally grateful for being rescued that he always reminds us of it with kisses and snuggles and happy, contented sighs. And, at the height of all this luck is the sheer fact that we found each other.
Life is scary sometimes. There are occasions with no predictable outcome. There are times when we say to each other “it’ll be okay,” and we both know it’s a lie because it’s just impossible to know if that’s true. But. We survive. Or as they said in Bob’s Burgers last night, we Sur-THRIVE (hahahaha). We do. We love each other and sometimes we kind of hate each other, and sometimes life seems really, really shitty, and sometimes it feels too good to be true. Through all of it, I love him. I love him so much that the idea of being without him is actually incomprehensible. Not to brag or anything, but my imagination is pretty fancy, and I literally cannot conceive even an inkling of an idea of a life that doesn’t include Kyle. And I don’t want to; I don’t even want to try. Perhaps that means I’m not the independent woman I once imagined I’d be (cue Destiny’s Child), but quite frankly, that’s okay. And I am eternally grateful to whatever exists in this universe, whether it’s an almighty being, simple luck, basic physics or probability, or just Kyle himself, that allows me to be married to someone whom I love so completely.
And so to end this lovey-dovey spiel that you hopefully didn’t roll your eyes at too much, I leave you with this journal entry that I wrote on March 10, 2010, 17 days after I met Kyle during that fateful bomb scare evacuation.
“I have never been like this with someone. He is so kind to me and never hesitates to remind me that he thinks I’m beautiful and wonderful and perfect. I cannot believe how much time I can spend with him. He’s goofy and smart and adorable and sexy and caring and he makes me happy. It has happened so fast, and yet it feels so normal. I am comfortable with him. I’m not afraid to be myself, and I don’t feel like I should be censoring myself. I don’t feel self-conscious about anything. I would happily love him forever. I hope that nothing will interfere with that. I hope he continues to feel the same way. I always want to make him happy. I hope I do.”
Happy Anniversary, Kyle. I love you. I love this life we’ve created for ourselves, and I am so glad that I have you to spend the rest of that life with. Now…is it laser tag time yet?