Tony and I were married just a little over a year after meeting each other. In that time, we discussed a few things about what we wanted out of our marriage, mostly to do with kids, but even if we had dated for 30 years, I don't think everything that actually has happened with us would come up. Sometimes, we talk about our first kiss, and if somehow we had been able to see then into the future. Would one or both of us have bolted? We didn't see it all coming---the terrifying pregnancies, twice hearing that autism diagnosis, watching Freddy struggle to breath more than once, caring for Tony's increasingly sick parents, seeing friends and family members die, the money struggles that never quite seem to get better, our own illnesses and conditions---the insulin shots, the thyroid woes, the high blood pressure and asthma and on and on, the days where Janey screamed for hours and hours on end while we helplessly tried to make her feel better, the struggles and cares and worries that married life has brought us.
And yet, I think I'd do it again, and I think Tony would say the same. Because for all those moments, there have been moments that were better than we ever guessed life would be. There's the times we all have laughed as a family until we cried. There's the pride we have felt watching our boys grow up to be more than we ever, ever could have dreamed of. There's the joy in our beautiful blond daughter, singing a song that fits the moment exactly. There's the love we still have for each other. Tony looks better to me today than he did that long ago first kiss day. He's grown into a man that I think any woman would be lucky to be married to---a wonderful father, a fantastic cook, a caring husband---a terrific man.
Autism tries a marriage to near the breaking point often. There are days when Janey has been screaming all day and Tony comes home and I lay into him, screaming at him for nothing, because I've held in the screams. There's the times we fight over petty things, when the fights are really pent up frustrations with the limitations autism has put on our lives---the lack of time alone, the lack of relaxed family time, the endless needs of a toddler in a 8 year old's body. Autism and its trials have not always brought out the best in either of us. But despite all that, I don't think I could find someone I'd rather go through all of it with. I hope Tony feels the same way. We need each other, more than most married couples need each other. We literally could not do this alone.
I love you, Tony. Happy Valentine's Day.