Six years and two days (sorry!) ago, you and I went on our first date. I was half an hour late and I had your cell phone number, but I didn't call to say I would be late because I thought it would be awkward to talk on the phone before we'd ever met (I've always been the epitome of smoothness, clearly--though in my defense I also didn't call because I didn't realize how far away the restaurant was and kept thinking I'd be there any second). I found out later that I showed up literally right before you were going to walk out. So that was a near-miss, huh?
For the first time in a few years, I'm not going to say that this last year was a huge year for us in terms of life changes. Because there weren't really a whole lot. Things are sort of stable for us right now. We've both been in our "new" jobs for over a year. We have pretty much settled into this parenting thing. We've been in our house for three and a half years now. Though, we did replace the siding on our house this year. That was a pretty major event.
(This picture features the old siding. Just in case you were wondering why we replaced it.)
Basically, it feels like we've sort of moved into the next phase of our life, the domestic-routine-with-kids phase, the one that will last until any and all offspring have vacated the premises. There aren't major shakeups and new things happening all the time recently. This isn't to say that those things won't happen again, because of course at some point they will--but this way isn't so bad either. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's downright good.
It doesn't feel routine at all. All the little things that happen to us feel fresh and exciting and momentous, and you are a big part of why they feel that way. You are so excited that Callum can build Legos with you now, that he's spouting off words in German, that he actually listens to and complies with our requests. You are bubbling over with your love for this child. You are amazed by everything he does, and you share that amazement with me and anyone else who will listen.
Your new job has worked out fantastically, and you have been as successful at it as I always thought you would be. It's so nice to see you happy in a job, doing exactly what you've always dreamed of doing and talking passionately about your latest project and how excited you are about it. Even if I am sometimes hard-pressed to keep my eyes from crossing when you begin elaborating on some of the more technical aspects of your work, I'm just so delighted to see you in a career that you are so enthusiastic about.
You've worked really hard this year on not letting your natural worrier tendencies dominate your life, and you've made amazing progress. I am so impressed with how self-aware you've been, how thoughtfully and thoroughly you've tried to improve this aspect of yourself, and how successful you've been. Last week at my parents' house Callum fell down the stairs and rolled head over heels from the top step all the way down to the landing while you and I watched helplessly. It was a sickening feeling, and while we both sprinted to pick him up and check him out and soothe him and make sure he was OK, you did not spend the rest of the week asking worriedly if maybe we'd overlooked a concussion and should we just stop by the ER to be sure. That was the clearest sign yet that things have really changed around here.
A lot of people say that things happen for a reason, that everything will work itself out. I always have a hard time believing that because I've seen many people experience truly atrocious life events, things so awful that they make it feel like an insult to airily announce that in MY perfect life, everything always works out. But things really are wonderful for us, and it's really tempting to ease into that mindset of assuming that they always will be. When in reality, things are so great that sometimes I find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop, wondering when something awful will happen to us. It's a lovely train of thought, isn't it? But the thing is that I've come a long way as far as these types of worries. Maybe something awful will happen to us eventually. Maybe we'll be lucky enough to only have to deal with the regular kinds of tough things. But either way, as long as you're here with me I know I'll be able to handle it. And I hope you feel the same about me, because I'll always be here for you too.