My eyes met the translucent blue waters that surround his pupils over our lunch of fast-casual Mexi-American and dove in deep. I found calm and strength in their tides for over ten years no matter how stormy the sea of our lives together. I longed for more moments where I could catch his gaze again and hold it, just the two of us, even if it was surrounded by the shuffle of feet on tacky soda-stick floors and air heavy laden with the smell of fry-o-lator tortilla chips.
The pace of life for us is like the lunch rush at that fast-casual restaurant. It is chaotic, noisy, and impossibly straining. Daily operations are assembly-line style and crisis is ever present. Not exactly the metaphor that comes to mind when one thinks of love, marriage, children, and family. Nevertheless, he is mine, I am his, they and this life are ours.
We were young(ish) and dumb(ish), foolish and in love. We shared late nights dreamily staring at the night sky planning the future we were to spend together–our family, our children. I stared deep into the oceans of his eyes and promised to love him for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer. Little did we know what the stars held.
Movements flickered on the screen in the dark of the ultrasound room like stars in the sky when we first heard her diagnosis. He tried to hold my hand as they said she had tumors in her heart and brain, would likely suffer from epilepsy and autism, and rattled off the litany of other potentially devastating effects of her rare disease. Rebuffed, he gave me space, because he knew my stubborn independence required it. I still don’t think he knows how much I needed the gesture; how much I need it every time and how much, no matter how miffed I seem, I appreciate and love him during every crisis.
We negotiated the sale of a house with a baby in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) in heart failure, we had the courage to have another after our first child was born with a devastating deletion in her DNA, we navigated therapies, medications, diagnoses, and medical insurance and still do day by day. We gained gray hairs and the start of wrinkles. Most importantly, we’ve done it together.
When the stormy blue of his eyes whips violent swirled by the latest crisis the earthen-clay of mine grounds him; and when the clay-colored earth of mine rumbles and shakes threatening to break his calming waters soothe me. In a life with no astrolabe to chart a path through such horribly fated stars we lead and follow each other where the journey takes us. Even if that means catching up for a mere 20 minutes over extra-cheesy culturally appropriated cuisine.