"Being a wife is the hardest thing I do every day. I can be so many things to so many people, but I can't be anything to you."
These are awful, hard, messy, true sentences. I said them. Out loud. To my husband.
I can't count the hours I've spent staring at the wall, teeth clenched, angry about something I said that I shouldn't have or angry about something I didn't say that needed saying.
I can't count the hours I've spent wishing I were different or he were different or we were different together.
I can't count the hours I've spent wishing one or the other of us would slam the stupid laptop shut and just say something, even shout something, if it would break the painful, interminable silence.
I can't count the hours I've spent wanting us to be more for our kids, but, more importantly, more for each other.
This is the messy.
"To have and to hold. From this day forward. As long as you both shall live."
These are powerful, difficult, beautiful, empowering words. I said them. Out loud. To my husband. Over 16 years ago.
I can't count the hours we've spent walking the dogs, then pushing the stroller, then pushing the double stroller, then teaching one, then two, then three to ride a bike, and now back to pushing the stroller with our four baby.
I can't count the hours we've played games and laughed and laughed about the time we won at Scattergories because of a highly inappropriate inside joke or turned Trivial Pursuit into a drinking game.
I can't count the hours I've stared in slack-jawed, ugly cry amazement at the four children we created together, in love, and whispered to him, "We did this. Together."
I can't count the hours I've spent memorizing the profile of our new baby, cataloging the eye color, begging the seconds to tick slower just for us, this growing family in this little corner of the big, beautiful, horrible world.
This is the beautiful.
Those powerful, difficult, beautiful, empowering words naive, little 20-year-old me spoke 16 years ago? I still mean them today. In spite of me and my flaws and my baggage and the hurt I brought with me to our marriage and the hurt I've felt and the hurt I've doled out, I still mean them. I still cling to them. They still matter. They're still true.
This is the messy beautiful of life.
This essay was written as part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project. Can't we all relate to the messy, beautiful pieces that make up a life? — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!