4 Years

A little girl who dreamed of fairy tale endings,

never ending stories with heroes who defeat the villains,

I thought you would storm the castle on mounted steed

Delivering true love’s kiss in time to save me.

 

The years bled by and darkness fell

clouding the dreams,

fading to nightmares,

innocence seceding to gray reality.

 

I never learned what true love looked like,

I’d never seen an unconditional bond.

I was told a man would clip my wings,

if I had dreams to guard them jealously.

 

I stopped searching, believing,

that two souls could meet and know

they found the piece of themselves they’d been missing

and their fragmented hearts were finally whole.

 

Singing at a frequency no one else could hear

I wandered through living a colorless life

my voice disappearing in the tempo of years

I almost stopped singing until your whispered reply.

 

I knew when I looked in your eyes,

our songs harmonized,

our bodies magnetized,

I’d met him who could make two one.

 

I never expected the depth of this feeling,

limitless willingness,

terrifying and freeing,

together we’re better than we’d ever be alone.

 

A man of honor in an honor less world,

you proved the grey reality’s boundaries exist.

You make me brave.

Best of all you let me forgive myself.

Marriage: More Than a Shiny Ring

When my husband proposed, I have to admit, part of my surprise was at the stunning, shiny ring he picked out. The vain, materialistic part of me always wanted a pretty engagement ring, and it made driving on sunny days very pleasing.

But…when my husband and I said our marriage vows, I realized the ring symbolized so much more. The size, the shape, the material of the ring does not matter. That ring is a visual reminder of something far more impressive. Your willingness to commit to another person.

I was 25 when I married my husband. That was only 3 years ago, but it feels like another lifetime some days. Since we said our vows, we have had our first child, and my husband spent a year overseas serving. These types of significant life events tend to change people, and I definitely feel like we have changed since that sunny June day nearly 3 years ago. Having a child in and of itself can put a severe strain on a relationship. Lack of sleep, stress, added financial responsibility, and a plethora of other worries can take a couple’s focus off of each other and off of keeping the spark in their relationship.

Here I would like to confess to another sin. I have not been trying to keep my relationship going. I love my husband, but a part of me, that exhausted, cranky part that is honestly just trying to make it to bedtime, has taken control and lost sight of the long game. I have been short, irritable, and disconnected. And my husband noticed.

Lucky for me, he called me out. A lot of men might shirk from that. A lot of women might too. Confrontation is not a fun thing. We all just want our days to run smoothly, to be happy, and not get into the dark, gritty stuff. I hate drama. I hate arguing. I hate crying. I just want to be happy and watch Netflix. But often, working through these low points is the only way to resolve and strengthen a relationship. And I had to be willing to set aside my pride and listen to my husband. I feel like last night was the first time I’d really heard him since he came home in November.

I have to learn to take equal responsibility in keeping our marriage a priority. Otherwise, we will fall apart. Like maintaining a home, it has to be lived in and tended to so that it doesn’t collapse in on itself.

I feel like we are getting stronger though. We have been through so much together. My husband is my best friend, the only person I can see myself growing old with, the father of our child. He is my soulmate and my person.

When you get that ring, especially when you’re young, it is so easy to only see the upside of marriage. You see laughter, dinners together, movie dates, a bed buddy, gifts, and kisses. You can’t possibly know the hardships that accompany maintaining your commitment. You will want to walk away a thousand times. But the real test is staying when you want to run. It’s planting roots when you want to take wing. It is a choice to make your relationship work and salvage the good from the wreckage of an argument, to use that to build an even stronger relationship each time.

I feel like a lot of people, especially my generation (Millenials) and younger, fixate on the parts of a marriage that can be shared on social media. The big engagement on YouTube, the photo of the ring on Instagram, the meshed or punny last names for the wedding hashtag on Twitter.

Those things are fun, don’t get me wrong. But there is an age-old aspect of marriage we shouldn’t lose as we take ownership. That is the solemnity of the commitment you are making. Because when it gets hard and the jokes aren’t funny anymore, you need something concrete to bring you back to why you married this person in the first place. And if you can’t find that in the beginning, maybe you shouldn’t be getting married at all.

If all you were there for is the bling and the party, maybe try renting a bouncy castle instead next time. It is not the rings, not the wedding decorations, not the hot air balloon ride over the English countryside that served as the backdrop to your proposal, but the people that will make the marriage. Make the more significant commitment to that and happiness will be your reward.

Still Waiting

We spoke for 62 minutes today.
We spoke while I cruised through a McDonald’s Drive-thru.
We spoke as I checked the tire pressure on my car
And complained about the sensor light coming on again.
We spoke as I ate, long pauses as I chewed.
We spoke as I perused the news.
In 62 minutes today we had to condense 24 hours of our marriage.
It was not enough.
To connect.
To be intimate.
To describe our day.
To explain what needs to be done.
To discuss our child.
To exalt over her achievements.
It can never be enough.
In 62 minutes every day for the past 300 days.
How do we stay in touch?
Phone conversations.
Video calls.
Emails.
And thousands of texts that simply say
I love you
And
Wait for me.

This Is It

We’ve been here before.
We have left the realm of the unknown.
 
This is day to day,
This is your job,
This is the commitment I understood.
 
We are so close,
I know where we go from here.
I know how to feel from here.
 
We have lived in this span of space
have reached across this arc of time
and found each other again on the other side.

The Measure of My Worth

I have reached inside my soul
and found that I am lined in gold.
It fills the cracks and fissures,
the erosion of my tears through troubled years.
It formed in veins, snaking over heart and mind
steeling them against the harsher times.
And my value cannot be seen by prying eyes
I’ve hidden away what makes it a prize.
It’s yours to take, yours to see
because you’ve always only seen the best in me.
 

Two As One or the Red String Runs Taunt

He is to me the foam upon my sea
Billowing up from my depths to ride on waves
Stretching towards the beachy barriers
Pulling back to chase horizons.
He has become as flesh to my bone
Gripped by ligament, sinew, muscle
All sewn together with veins
Destruction of part forever marring the whole.
To separate us would mean to rend my soul
To divide my life’s blood from my lungs
My heart from my tongue
Told to thrive within a shriven corpse.
Physiologically whole but dissected
All the same.

Distance is a Myth and This Too Will Become a Tale Someday

Poseidon in his watery prison has loved Selene from afar, turning his tides to draw her gaze upon him.
And Selene hung upon the velvet canvas of night unable to sink into the salty waves from her lofty height blinks slowly with regret, filling her vision with the peaked foam depths.
I love you like the ocean loves the moon, the sight of her in the night sky roiling the ocean into tidal frenzies.
I love you with the eternal pattern of nature, unwavering and confident in the reassurance of return.
I love you with the eternal intent of gods and the immortal imperviousness of our souls.
I love you as I have always and will always love you, in lives since passed and lives to come, and in that space of afterlife, our Heaven ensnared in each other’s eyes.
And long before the goddess took up residence beside the empty cratered lake to stand guard over far off blue green seas and long after those seas have ebbed eternally too heavy and ancient with geological burden I have, I will, love you.

Building Castles in the Air

Slats of sunlight dapple

the edges of my memories

of you

of us

twirling in the kitchen

laying sideways in our bed

blinding our view of the television

where we curled up each evening

the warming Spring days meant open

windows, wafting

breezes, evening

strolls across the railroad tracks

during lengthening evening twilight

holding hands

holding hands, our breaths

as we wait for separation

a year long pacing back and forth

agitated

afraid

savoring

slowly becoming numb

with every creeping day.

I Needed You Today

Today was hard. I wish every letter or poem I wrote to you could be full of encouragement and hope for the day you come home and most days I do feel those things. But not today. Today I cried. Today I broke down. Today I was weak. Today I needed you.
Our daughter is teething and the rice cereal the doctor recommended gave her gas. She fought sleep, she refused to breastfeed, I felt like a failure of a mother. I thought, if only you were home, maybe something you would have done could have helped her.
I always believed you would be a better parent than me. And now you are thousands of miles away, the more nurturing of the two of us, and I am the one solo parenting. I don’t know what I’m doing but I do it because there is no alternative. Our daughter needs me to forge on. So I push past the tears, the stress, the doubt, the loneliness and I find myself at the close of yet another day without you by my side.
I am tired today. My back aches from rocking her for hours. My head is pounding from the screaming. And my heart is heavy with the awakened ache for my partner, my help mate, my refuge.
Today I failed you, this deployment, and our daughter. But tomorrow is a new day and I will try, try, and try to do better, to be the strong woman you both need me to be. Because I know a strong support system at home can keep you safe.
I miss you a thousand times over. I just can’t wait until you are home again.
A Soldier’s Wife

335 Proof

Let every day

you are away

serve as testament

to my sentiment.

Everyday I wait

reinvigorates

the love we share,

the vows we swear.