A few weeks ago I pulled up a slow song on my phone and hit play. I coaxed David up off the couch and asked him to dance with me. We revolved slowly in the center of the living room, amid a sea of baby toys and burp cloths, in pajamas and unwashed hair while Penny napped in the next room. And in the beginning it felt goofy and we grinned. But as the music went on we relaxed into each other’s arms and slowed to a sway. By the time the song ended I had my eyes closed and my face nestled into David’s shoulder, and I felt the same wild, quiet joy I felt during the last dance of the night on our wedding day.
Our lives have changed so much, even in the last year. We are parents, and the birth of our daughter transformed our lives. We do a lot of negotiating, a lot of planning, a lot of cleaning (and yet–never, ever enough cleaning). Every day is a delicate balancing act as we learn how to care for our daughter, care for each other, and care for ourselves. A friend describes the first few years with young children as the “business years” of marriage, and I can see the truth in that. There is a lot more responsibility, now. A lot more to manage, and a lot less time.
But the romance is not gone from our lives. We snuggle up on the couch and binge-watch Orphan Black together. We sit on our small balcony with cold beer and blow bubbles, watching them float over the railing and burst on the tree branches below. We sit at bars and lean in close together over a plate of calamari, our knees touching, our faces flushed with wine. Thank god for babysitters. We send saucy text messages and leave little love notes on the fridge and the bathroom mirror. We kiss every single day.
Marriage is a choice, and I always choose David. I choose him when I am tired. I choose him when the week has been long and my temper is short. I choose him when I am jealous and scared and annoyed. I choose him when I need someone to talk to, or someone to make me laugh. I choose him, always, to be my partner. To be the person with whom I pay the bills and fold the laundry, and share in all the other minutiae of my daily life. He is my partner, my co-parent, my love. He is–quite simply–my most favorite person.
His generosity and depth of feeling impress me every single day. He makes me want to be the best version of myself, and loves me even when I am the very worst. He encourages me to take care of myself, to find and pursue new challenges and passions, to stake my claim. His support is such a precious gift; I try to be aware always of its worth.
Everyday after work I drive into downtown Saint Paul to pick Penny up from daycare. We wait outside in the sun for David to leave the office and walk over to meet us before we all get in the car and drive home. When Penny first sees her Papa, her face beams. I can almost see her heart thumping as her whole tiny body wriggles and radiates with joy. As he gets closer, she stretched out her arms and kicks her little legs until he takes her up and holds her at last.
I know exactly how she feels.
All photos in this post were taken by our stellar wedding photographer, Kate, of KNG Sommers Photography. I cannot recommend her enough; she is magnificent. If you’d like to see more of our wedding photos, I have a ton shared on FB, or you can search Instagram hashtag #vansantwedding.