My favorite thing about married life is the early mornings.
When the light is just leaving blue for yellow, and the sheets whisper their secrets as the mattress dips and David nudges his nose into my neck.
I love the sound of sheets in the morning.
And David's voice, right in the middle of a conversation. No "How are you's" or showers or clean teeth. Just us. In the middle.
This morning I asked David if this is what he imagined his life would be like when he married me.
I could feel his smile against my collarbone.
"I don't think so."
"I'm not sure I really imagined anything. Did you?"
But I know him better than that, of course. He always had plans. Ideas of the perfect life. We used to break up every Thursday over this very thing. He couldn't help himself.
We waited a whole six months to get married because he had always imagined a June wedding. He still thinks it was worth the wait. I still don't. It's been fourteen years and I still bring it up when we fight. It was the first great offense, after all.
I'm not sure what I imagined life would be like. (I just knew I wanted to be with him all the time. And wake up with him. That most of all.) But I'm sure I didn't imagine that building a life together would actually mean so many hours apart.
Fourteen years ago this morning we were kneeling across an altar, making promises about things we couldn't imagine. Promises about laundry and children and morning sickness and road trips and dishes and broken sprinkler pipes and forgiveness and emergency rooms and Christmas mornings and late meetings at the hospital.
David's right, of course.
I don't think it is what either of us imagined.
Some of it is better and some of it is not.
But the real magic of our marriage is that every morning for the last fourteen years, we have made and kept the same promises, regardless.
This morning before David went to work, we had to take the car into the shop. (We know how to celebrate an anniversary.) These are the middle years of marriage, when car repairs replace a night away. David dropped me off and we went our separate ways, he to work and me to the children and the casserole dish still soaking from last night. With a kiss and a promise to meet up later.
This is what real marriage is, I told myself, willing myself not to be disappointed. I was a bit anyway. But when I came in, I found the smell of David's aftershave and another note in red lipstick waiting for me. Dated this time. To show he intended it for today. On the occasion of our anniversary.
It was enough.
To tide me over until tonight.
When we will review the day, and the last fourteen years, and the fourteen ahead, I will tell him that my life with him is better than I ever imagined.
And despite his old plans for the perfect life, I imagine he will tell me the same.