My husband and I have been official now for 728 days, but our love has always been legit, even when it wasn't recognized by the government. Getting hitched just cemented our private commitment in public. We didn't do things the traditional way, welcoming a baby before we strolled down the aisle, but it only brought us closer together as a couple. Having our love child witness our love story in that way meant the world to us.
She is in our wedding pictures. Decked out in a miniature white dress, she's wearing a bow in her hair and ruffled socks. In one shot she is blissfully drinking from her bottle while being cradled in her grandmother's arms.
That day two years ago seems so far away—and like yesterday. I remember the tears in my husband's eyes when he read out the vows he'd written beforehand. I recall the catch is his voice, the pause he took before he continued on. It let me know that I'd definitely made the right choice.
I remember us in our finery. His dapper, light-grey suit; my blush-coloured trumpet gown. It's a far cry from the mismatched pajamas, mutual bedhead and morning breath that has accompanied every other day of our lives before and since.
But deep down, the love is the same. Our pledge to each other remains. Forever is still the end goal.
That doesn't mean the interim is easy, however. When the honeymoon is over, real life begins. How you handle it is everything.
Love is the calm that comes over me when I hear my husband singing. Love is sticking it out when my person's best self disappears during his worst moments. Love is learning to accept all my partner's peccadilloes and pretending they're no longer my pet peeves.
Love is sometimes impatient; it can often be unkind. Marriage can be the loveliest, longest date with your soulmate, but it's also a lifelong marathon filled with mundane minutiae. You sign up for it thinking you know what's in store. You figure that if you've trained hard and practiced at playing house and being parents together, you've probably got a head start on happiness. You don't.
It will wear you down, this marriage, even as it props you up. The everyday drudgery will eat away at the romance that used to come so naturally. You will find yourself keeping mental score of whose turn it is to clear the dishes or do the laundry. The petty will often threaten to overwhelm the poignant, but it is possible to keep the poetic magic alive. It will just look different, and you have to accept that.
It may include a tiny human or two hanging off your ankle, pulling you away from your partner and that hand you used to hold. It may move houses with you and sometimes sleep in different rooms. It also will seek solace and space to grow, for you both need time apart to tend your individual paths.
If you're lucky, love will persist and transform into something even more powerful as time goes on. It won't always be easy to hang on to, but you will find it waiting, hiding in unexpected moments amidst the chaos of the day.
So two years later, I'm marking time by remembering all the highs and lows of marriage and saying YES. I STILL DO. I'd take it all again, this eternal promise to love and support my best friend. He's not perfect, and neither am I, but all we know is that we want to do this thing we do until the universe ends, or until we die.