There are so many things I’ve learned in the last two months (my first two months of being a wife) about Joe and I and our relationship as a whole. I’ve found that its not just us anymore, of course it will always just be US (when it comes to our relationship) but I’ve found now that many things are included in that statement. Our house for example is a large part of us, our land, our trees, our dog and our horses, all of these things are included now in US. If we lost all of these things our relationship would not at all diminished but these are the things that are included in us now. There are also terms that have expanded in meaning for me now just as I now realize our relationship has expanded to include all of these things. Making love is not just in the bed room any more. Making love is everything we do to improve our lives, to take care of us, just as us includes so many more things. For instance, chopping wood for winter, an incredibly painstaking and labor intensive act, has become an act of making love to me. Joe outside, for hours, bringing in wood for our heat, for our comfort, is a greater act of love then many things I have ever seen or experienced in relationships in my entire life. People do many things to tell you I love you without any words at all. Making dinner is also now, an act of making love.
This house has proved our resilience and our commitment to it, time and time again, as though it is a third person in this marriage. With the signing of those papers and, of course, the time it took to renovate this home, it slipped from just my grasp and into Joe’s as well. Where it is no longer “my fault” or “my idea” when we work on it on the weekends, now it is simply the responsibility to the commitment we both made. It is the most comforting thing I have ever experienced to feel this commitment from Joe, both to me and to our home. It is also the most relieving thing I have ever known, this sharing of this burden of this house that has been in my family for so long, that I love so dearly. Instinct tells me that I could live a thousand lifetimes and never deserve Joe but wisdom tells me that that is true for him as well. I may bow before him in gratitude for his commitment here but as I take the knee down I suspect that it must be toward my own self as well. It does not feel like a choice for me but I do wonder, if he feels the same. If this home, and this place (and me, of course) slipped around him as easily as it did me, like breathing.
I have recounted how, one day when I was so completely done with dating and men and the bull shit of a life devoted to partying and drinking, Joe drove up my driveway and I never wanted him to leave. The rest is history, is how I usually end that story. It seems like a fanciful tale I suppose, can two people really know without a doubt so early that they will be together for the rest of their lives? I believe that that is true now. Joe drove up my driveway and not only did I not want him to leave, it seemed strange and unnatural for him to leave. I had no idea, at the time, that he felt the same and I am eternally grateful that we didn’t lose each other in the shuffle of our minds over our hearts. That we did listen. That we did recognize each other right away and allowed nothing to get between us. Perhaps it was the right time for us both, perhaps we found each other, finally, because we were ready to find each other. I guess I really don’t know but I am eternally grateful for that blue pickup pulling into my drive, and its long tale of dust from a hot dirt road behind it. The same road we live on today. The same road I’ve lived on my whole life.
Joe made everything ok for me. Where I was still holding on to at least a couple of regrets (even when things were getting better in my life) Joe made it impossible now for me to regret anything. I always used to think that if I could go back in time and just change one or two things that would be good… I do not feel that way at all any more. In fact, if I would have the opportunity to go back in time to change anything I would change nothing for fear that changing one thing may change everything. They’re all part of that long trail of dust behind my little car now, the trail that said “Mom, I’m coming home!” the trail that included so many tears and hopes and raging nights, the trail that ended, right here, on the same road, one drive way away, in the one hundred year old home of my grandparents, where we find ourselves every morning and every night and so fortunate to be in each other’s arms. I do not think it is a coincidence that so much of the huge changes of my life all happened within the same two months, one year after another. It all started one August five years ago when I came home for good. Joe and I touched for the first time in August and September became our land mark month but August, and those long tails of hot, summer dust, will forever be my month. I had not even realized it until this year, just how much my heart sings for August, just how much I look forward to it. It feels like of all the months in a year, I grew up in August, I found my strength in August and it was in August when I knew everything was going to be worth it.