Yesterday morning before he left for work, my husband showed me a reminder that had shown up on his phone. “Meet-a-versary,” it said. Eleven years to the day since we’d officially met each other, since a mutual friend of ours organized a trip to the movies. It ended up being just her, her boyfriend, and us, and we capped off the night by going to my future husband’s house to hang out and play video games.
A few days later, he emailed me and asked me out. It’s been eleven years since that day. It seems like yesterday in some ways and it seems like ages ago in others. I remember that it was snowing that night, light flakes that blanketed the theater parking lot and fluttered in the air as I drove down his street. I remember what I was wearing (this actually isn’t a super lame fact, as I have one of those weird memories that tend to focus on stuff like this): a thick pink turtleneck sweater, brown corduroys, and a headband. (I always wore a headband back then, as I was in the thick of the hell known as “growing your bangs out.”) I remember being nervous that this guy was cute and nice, but also not knowing in the slightest how important that night actually was.
We’ve come a long way since then. I’ve come a long way.
Thirteen years ago today, I was in the hospital, waiting for my insurance to approve my first stay in residential treatment.
Twelve years ago today, I was in the hospital again, waiting for approval of my second residential stay.
Eleven years ago, I met my husband-to-be, as I was starting to come into my own for the first time, trying to be strong but still walking on incredibly shaky legs.
Nine years ago today, I was engaged, planning for and counting down the days to our June wedding. I was trying to gain weight for the wedding, the complete opposite of so many brides. I was trudging through my first year in a job I didn’t love, trying to convince myself that it would get better.
Eight years ago today, I was a newlywed, but I was struggling. I’d relapsed and lost weight. I was addicted to exercise. I was unemployed, having quit that job that I hated so much. I proclaimed that I wanted to use this time to write, but my mind was still so focused on my body that I could never quite get the momentum that I needed to actually finish something.
Seven years ago today, I was in graduate school. I’d gone back for library science, and was so excited to be studying something I loved so much. I was still exercising a lot, but nothing extreme. My head was calmer, my life happier.
Five years ago today, I’d just had a miscarriage. I’d cried and sobbed and mourned and felt guilt and fear pressing down on me like a coffin lid. I didn’t punish my body. I knew that it needed to live if it wanted to bring forth new life.
Four years ago today, I had a one-and-a-half month old baby girl. I nursed her and cuddled her and rocked her to sleep. I read her stories and touched her soft skin. I dreaded going back to work, even if I did like my job.
Three years ago today, I was a stay-at-home mom. I started writing again, while my daughter napped. I wrote a book. I found a passion.
Two years ago today, I was a stay-at-home mom of two. It was stressful. I’d lost weight from breastfeeding and started thinking about my body more than I had done in recent years. I worried about what would happen if I got “fat.” (Whatever that meant.) I worried about stuff a lot. I wrote more books. I kept my anxieties inside.
One year ago today, I had a part-time job as a librarian again. I loved it. Juggling two kids was getting easier and it was time to take care of myself and my issues. I went on medication. I gained some weight. I pushed myself to face my fears. I was happy. Really, really happy.
Today, I finally have balance. I think. Or that’s the way it feels sometimes. Other times it still feels crazy. Stressful and exhausting. Love and hug-filled. I love and mother and work and write and talk and listen and sigh with exasperation. I giggle and kiss and yawn and snuggle and blog and write.
I wouldn’t trade any of it. Not what I have now and not what the past years have brought me. Every year matters. Every year has made me “me” and has led me here.
I can’t wait to see what next year holds.