15 years today, my Love,
we stood under that Lysiloma tree
at the Hermosa Inn
and it rained pungent yellow puff balls
down on us.
You with your fever caused by that exotic illness
lurking in you–
and then on top of that–
105 degrees that day.
And me in my little glasses
and my 89 dollar white dress.
We walked down the aisle
to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue
coming from a boom box–
tinny and soft–
too quiet to fill the space.
And it was perfect.
We made those vows that we would later break–
I vowed that I would be the raft if ever one of us was sinking–
and much later we would sink. And I wasn’t the raft.
I wasn’t ready to surrender or to be a woman just yet–
but I knew one thing:
I loved you.
Then. And now.
And you weren’t quite ready to be a man–
but you would do.
And here you are.
And look at you now.
We grew up together–
in the Arizona desert
for the past 20 years.
The first decade was just us…
Waiting, in a sense, for our parents to come home.
But they never did.
And so we became the parents.
Our son came in and forever changed us–
and we no longer orbited each other.
We orbited him.
And then he got sick–
and you vanished behind the wallpaper–
I grew up enough for both of us.
And then he got well.
But your dad didn’t.
But then, our baby girl came into the world.
So ready. Just in time.
And then I lost you–
for the first time.
And you broke my heart.
And, come to find out, I had unwittingly
broken yours years before.
I’m still sorry for that.
We broke our vows, perhaps.
But not on purpose.
Because since the day I met you–
and turned around in line to see the
beauty of you smile at me–
you have been my home.
And even this year, I have wanted
to tear down the walls
of you and us.
But, there we are again,
Remember when Pat said she had never
seen two people muscle test stronger together
than they were apart?
We probably test stronger apart now–
15 years later.
Stronger as individuals–
maybe–but so very strong together.
We did it.
I am more proud of you
than I have ever been.
You have stepped into the fullness of you
and it is beautiful to witness–
if hard to endure the fourth year of school.
It was worth it.
Your compassion, intelligence and unflappability
are my bedrock.
And if I could write my vows again
I’d say this:
I vow to honor you and treat you as gently
as the beautiful little boy you once were–
to stare into your eyes as often as possible–
to listen more and talk less–
to remember the Us that used to wait around–
for days and hours for our parents to come home–
just enjoying each other–
I love you.