This morning was the first chance I’ve had in ages to sleep in but I was too excited and crawled out of bed a little after 6 a.m. In the pitch dark, I could barely make out your chest rising and falling with the comforting sounds of your breathing. I grinned because I couldn’t see your hair but was positive it’s at 1.21 GIGAWATTS. I tease you because ever since chemo, it’s stubbornly straight on the sides and in the mornings, sticks out like Christopher Lloyd’s did in Back to the Future.
This peace I feel is in stark contrast to the more fearful moments we faced during our first year of marriage. On Friday at work, I was filling up my water bottle at the water fountain and out of the blue, flashed back to the moment right before you were intubated in June. Your voice was weak but you told me not to worry and promised me we’d have a long future together. I felt swallowed up by desperation and doubt, knowing how dire your condition was. We held hands and said the Serenity Prayer, which was never more fitting – the wisdom to know the difference. On Friday, I barely made it back to my office with my water bottle before tears ran down my face. I know you’re OK now but I sometimes still feel torn apart by what you've endured.
But Hold On Pain Ends - there is so much hope! You’re in remission, doing well, and setting inspiring goals for the future. What a gift it is to be here today with you on our first wedding anniversary! Every day, I’m amazed by you. And as is true with all relationships, sometimes frustrated with you, too. But I’m aware that even that is something to be thankful for. I’ve been nothing short of floored by the rollercoaster ride our first year married has been. Time and again, I’ve been humbled by the abiding, consistent way you love me. It’s how I knew exactly what I wanted to do for this first anniversary. Before we got married, I thought a lot about whether or not to change my last name. I worried it might make me a bad feminist or somehow contribute to women’s subjugation. You weren’t pushy or insistent and even offered to change your last name. We joked that we’d use the goofy amalgam, FraPol. The freedom you’ve allowed me has made it perfectly clear that I’m a Polstra. And after the year we’ve had, I'm certain we belong under the same last name.
I love you. Every day. One day at a time.