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tuesday, january 1, 2008

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ten years ago i was tutoring at my college and one of my students came in almost 15 minutes late--halfway into the tutoring session. i actually had my own studying to do, but i decided to take him anyway. hell, it was only 15 minutes, right? within a month we were dating. by the end of the semester, we were engaged. at the end of the year, we were married. last night was our ten year anniversary.

quite a 15 minutes, don't you think?

our first couple of years were rough, which, really, we probably should have expected. we hadn't known each other all that long, there were kids involved including a child who is differently abled, poverty, both of us going to school...the stresses we were under made it all the harder to make a new marriage work. and saxy's issues--the undiagnosed disability and his insecurity--didn't help. we actually split a little over 3 years into our relationship, and i was seriously considering divorce. i'd been a single mom before, i could be a single mom again. i even filed the paperwork.

but i loved him. i love him still. he was a part of me in a way no man had ever been before. i can't even begin to explain the connection we had (and still have). he's like...my other half. as much as i knew he needed to be out of our lives at the time--for me, for my kids--i couldn't let it go completely. divorce had been too easy a word. for months before the split, i made sure he knew i could move on without him if i needed to. i had to remind myself that he had made the choice not to change the things that were tearing us apart--the jealousy, the control, the emotional abuse. they had to stop. i even tried dating again. but, as much as i cared about the man i started seeing, i loved saxy. i knew no one else would ever be as right for me as he was, despite all his faults.

the day before we were to go into court, i gave him a second chance. a last chance.

it hasn't been easy. i had trust issues and kept threatening to divorce him. i made our lives as miserable as he had. i'm not quite sure when i stopped. it was something gradual. he stayed pretty much on track, let go, stopped trying to control me, and struggled to learn how to be with the kids. we got his disability diagnosed in the summer of 2002 (sort of, since hyperlexia wasn't an "official" diagnoses yet). we never went to counseling--we couldn't afford it. but, a little bit at a time, we overcame most of our problems. we grew, as individuals and as a couple. we both had to let go of some things. he had to learn how to be a parent (a task he still struggles with).

we're still struggling financially and we've both had to give up dreams. he wanted to go back to school and was refused. i want my own home, but that's unlikely to happen for us. steady jobs have been almost impossible to come by. he still does things that drive me up the wall, but i no longer threaten to divorce him. we explode (okay, i explode), then we're fine--and we don't explode all that often anymore. i've had to adjust how i do some things, but the diagnoses helped me figure out how, and to learn to be more patient with him. he's trying to learn to be more patient with my memory problems. when we first got back together, he seemed...uncertain, shy, unwilling to step up; but not any more. we plan together, discuss things together, decide things together.

the move to georgia was purely me--he hates change, but mcat said there were jobs and we needed jobs. we didn't know that he would also make our lives miserable, that he would treat saxy like less than the shit on his shoes just because he had helped us move and had employed saxy. we also didn't know that the county had one of the best autism programs in the world. we've struggled, financially and emotionally, with the move, but somehow it's made us closer. it's cemented our relationship in a way that staying in cali couldn't have done. i can't even begin to explain the differences. perhaps getting away from our safety nets--his family, my sure bet on housing and income (as much as they sucked)--helped us to become more reliant on one another.

whatever happened, that connection is stronger than ever. our relationship is adjusting again--don't they always? i'm learning to let go of some of my financial fears and control, he's learning to take care of some of the things that need to be taken care of. we're...mellower, more bonded, but in a less volatile way. the sex is better, and i am always amazed that he still wants me, as big and old as i am and with all my physical limitations.

i wanted to give highlights from the past 10 years as posted in whysper, but how do you sum up 10 years of joy, sorrow, change, growth, pain, love? how can you pick the moments of the most importance when they all, from the smallest and least remembered to those that are seared into your memory, make you who you are. we've been poor in money, but so rich in our love. he supports me as a writer, even when he doesn't understand what i'm doing. i want to help him reach his own dreams, and, somehow, that's enough for him. we love, we fight, we make up, we struggle, we work together. we have become one, yet we are still ourselves. i can't imagine life without him. and i know he can't imagine life without me.

10 years ago, we married in front of a justice of the peace with the plan to hold a "real" ceremony to renew our vows one day. we may never be able to do that, but i don't think we need to. even though we don't say it to each other, we renew our vows in our hearts every day. every love song i adore brings him to mind.

here's to ten more years...and as many tens of years as god will give us. i love you, saxy, with all my being.


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word of the moment: enduring

lasting, durable.

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