Really. Truly.

What is love but loving?
Learning and laughing,
Risking and sharing,
Fearing and fearing some more,
But having the courage to overcome it all.
Love is jumping into a fast flowing stream and not knowing where it will take you.
It is someone who you can discuss both the price of coffee and the deepest yearnings of your soul,
Loving is knowing to trust the unknown and rejoice in the cycles of familiarity.
Loving is having the courage to hold a mirror up to your own face,
And not be too proud to admit your failings.
The stuff all life is made of.

Love is having a hand to hold as you dive into your dreams,
A hand to guide you and a hand to let you go.

(Words I wrote for our wedding ceremony)

Today is our eighth wedding anniversary.

When I think back to us then, I had just turned 24. “Too young” said many. “Are you sure?”

For most around us we were a done deal since we first met. And it was. It has always felt inevitable. Meant to be. It was like the heavens said “Here, here is your life partner, he is a gentle, kind, loving, compassionate man, someone who will be devoted to you in your darkest hour, your only task is just not to fuck it up – don’t get impatient, don’t run off looking for thrills, don’t get bored – if you are willing to learn the lesson of commitment, then this is our gift to you.”

And I have nearly fucked it up. Many times in 14 years.  The heavens know me too well. Mainly over sex – not wanting it, not really enjoying it, of wanting it with other people; over wanting to live apart; over my academic ambitions; over domestic chores; over general frustration; through maternal despair and exhaustion. And I’m sure I’ve got plenty more opportunities to fuck it up lying straight ahead. In fact, that’s something I can guarantee.

But he has never once nearly thrown in the towel on us (at least that I know of!) And believe me it’s not that I’m easy to live with. That shows you the kind of man he is!

Let me share what I said that day we married in the tea house:

“Relationships have always been the most integral and important part of my life, and the central relationship for me is my partnership with Patrick. I am not a half-hearted sort of person. I only do things which I am passionate about, and this and he is something I am truly passionate about. I feel so blessed to have him in my life. Today is another important step for me, for us: the chance for me to put my full and public commitment behind our relationship. In recognition of our life together, and our unity when heading into the future.

I see our relationship as a ground for challenge and adventure, both individually and together- a place to learn more about ourselves and relationships in all areas of our lives. To open ourselves out rather than to close ourselves off. To me this celebration is my own true acknowledgement of what is. That is my partnership with a wonderful man who loves and cares for me often more than I am capable of myself, who believes in me totally and doesn’t let me sell myself short. 

Patrick is a man of true integrity, justice and immense loyalty, as all of you who are close to him will know. He, even more than me, isn’t one for show- what you see is what you get. He is a man of high principles which he lives, and of lofty dreams which he doesn’t surrender to cynicism. His intellectual abilities go without saying, but his capacity for reflection, for true appreciation of beauty and the wonder of nature and human skill is humbling. But most of all, as many of you will testify he is the best friend one could hope for- in sickness and health, for better for worse he is there- I haven’t tried the richer and poorer bit- but here’s hoping! I have such deep respect for him, though I don’t show it nearly enough. I love the life we share and I look forward to continuing on our journey together and all that our futures may hold.”

This has been the year, due to circumstances and conscious decisions, that we became a truly solid partnership, rather than a couple – when we really found our groove and each other in all our depths and complications. And truly, this has been our best year. Really. And for that I am delighted. Amazed. Grateful.

It took the madness of parenting three young kids. Of really struggling to keep our sanity and values with the parenting of our most challenging child. Of deciding to follow our hearts with work. Of having almost no money. Of deep support through mental disintegration. Of truly finding each other intimately, tenderly, passionately.

This year we have truly seen each others strengths and weaknesses in action. Learning better when to give space, when to give support, when to take over and when to kick ass. 

He is slow, I am speedy. He is thorough, I am slapdash. He chokes almost every time he has a drink and I get hiccups when I eat mashed potato. He gets addicted to long running American drama series and I have a serious Pinterest habit.

We know each other through and through at this stage.

He teaches me commitment, about giving myself wholly and mindfully to the task in hand and doing it thoroughly. He gives me perspective and shows me how to talk myself down from insanity, despair and emotional meltdown. He teaches me truly about giving myself to the moment.

I teach him how to unleash his creativity and sensuality, how to talk from the heart and share feelings, how to keep on trying to find his passion and live it out, to take risks and be impetuous, how to go easy on himself.

We agree to disagree on the relative merits of opera versus Eva Cassidy. But there is so much we share: our  love of travel, good food, stand up comedy, The Cat Empire and Thai rock, a glass of wine, bonfires, mornings in bed, and our three precious, quirky children…

And each other.

I love you PT.

Really. Truly.

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