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A familiar love: Missives from one side of the bed to the other


Dear V,

While reading through some of our first conversations on the Internet, I was jolted into the realization that I’ve known you for 10 years now. Wow, it’s been a while! And although I’ve been your wife for only nine years of those 10, and perhaps do not qualify to be called an old wife, I certainly feel like one. But by old wife, I do not mean by way of sagging boobs or flagging sex drives; I refer to the feeling of an eternity by your side. We’ve often wondered if our relationship feels new or old, exciting or comfortable, and almost always have decided that it feels like both. But since the birth of J, our relationship feels more old than new, more comfortable than exciting. We are more mother-father than man-woman. Passion has taken a complacent second spot, even as familiar love rules the roost.

But re-reading those letters from five years ago reminded me of the person you really are, the person I married, and the person I had almost forgotten about, amidst diaper changes and midnight feeds. He, who earned my respect from the first word uttered; he, who stood tall enough for me to look up to even with my head in the clouds; he, who earned so much regard that I believed I could spend the rest of my life with him, you are. You are the same man, who awed me with his mind, tickled me with his words, and humbled me with his self assuredness. You are the same one, who I so excitedly turned over a new leaf with. Yet in sharing the same house, same bed, same food, same people and same life with you day after day, everyday, I forgot the exhilarating beginnings of that sameness. Waking up next to you every morning, I had forgotten the privilege of getting to sleep with a man like you.

We have been through that difficult time most new parents go through, and sometimes it seemed we had drifted too far to ever be able to match wavelengths again. I snapped at you, raged, vented, and sometimes accused you of things you had never done, dumping ever so often my emotional excesses on you. You took it calmly – as I could never have, if our places were to be changed. You remained my bedrock, and I began to imagine you were obliged to be so.


But these old letters reminded me of that singular person you were, before you gave away so much of yourself to our family. You didn’t have to be kind, or loving, or understanding, or helpful, or supportive. A man with a mind as strong as yours, you could be the opposing force. But you lay low, played the good husband and an even better father, and you waited while I fought fatigue, sorted priorities, and found myself again. We stopped talking. I was always too tired. You sought refuge in your hobbies; I in my books. We sang this wordless duet for a while. I forgot how wonderful your voice was. But then I read those letters again, and realized what I have been missing.

I haven’t written a letter to you in a long time. I haven’t told you how much you mean to me in a long time. I haven’t expressed my love in a sincere voice in a long time. So, this.

U.

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