Anyone that knows me knows I have an obsession with the subject of the passage of time. I could reflect on this topic endlessly, and Brendan doesn't share the fascination.
Perhaps that's why we took this photo in front of "The Watch Man" in Las Vegas, NV back in 2010. I don't know. What I do remember is that we were 24 and 28, newly dating, and very much in love. It had been little more than a month since I'd invited Brendan inside my apartment for Blue Bell fudge pops after a walk and we'd shared our first kiss on my couch. Time wasn't on our side: we had about seven months until graduation; neither of us would have a job in Lake Charles, LA, where we had been attending graduate school at McNeese, so we'd both have to figure out new jobs and new places to live. In the car on the way to school a few weeks after our first kiss, Brendan said he worried about the future. Wasn't it crazy to let ourselves fall in love if we weren't sure we were going to be able to stay together? He was about to drop me off at the library. I looked at him and said, "then we'll just stay together." In a role reversal that was (and is) completely uncharacteristic for our relationship, I wasn't at all worried.
I didn't worry because the time that mattered most was the time spent with him. I didn't worry because the world, everything difficult and hard, seemed to pause as we fell in love. I didn't worry because I knew staying together was the right choice and the only one that made sense.
I guess Brendan decided not to worry either. In the spring, our families met at graduation, and we found ourselves making frequent trips to that same library to prepare our CVs and cover letters as we applied to over eighty jobs. We moved to Midland, TX in August of 2011, and though it took some time, we eventually both had teaching careers underway.
Everything worked out.
9 years (3,288 days) later, I think about my simple proclamation on the way to the library: "we'll just stay together." I'm prone to overthinking and have a reputation with my friends for being meticulously careful and slow in my decision making. And yet, those words changed our lives in a mere instant.
Maybe I was simply possessed by love, or maybe at 24, I already understood that all we can do is choose who it is we want to spend our minutes and hours and days with, and a few weeks was simply all I needed to know I wanted to spend my life with Brendan.
Today, we are 33 and 37. We never sleep past 5:30AM. Time hardly belongs to us: we get our daughter and ourselves ready, go to work, do our daughter's dinner and bedtime routine, feed ourselves, clean up, grade and write, and sometimes, we manage to watch an episode of TV or read in bed before falling asleep around 10PM.
If Brendan was wasn't so opposed to my long musings on the subject, I'd tell him that time still seems to pause with him...but also that it's moving at lightening speed. "It must be, right?" I'd say. "There's no way 9 years has gone by...that's so long."
He would remind me that so much has happened though. We've written thousands of words, traveled the world, started new jobs, taught close to a hundred courses each, decided to spend the rest of our lives together, married surrounded by our family and friends, built and purchased our first home, replaced furniture, replaced appliances, mourned losses, welcomed a daughter, watched hundreds of movies, had too many adventures to list, had exceptionally few arguments, and joyfully anticipated our son's arrival...
He would be right, but so would I.
Time definitely pauses with him. But it moves so quickly too...
And, somehow, it's been this long: 9 years. And though I know I'm different, that time has changed me, I still feel like the same person: the one who always takes her time, except in those few seconds when it mattered the most. In that moment, I'd shrugged and implied, a few weeks in to our relationship, we'll just make it a lifetime then.
I'm thankful for every single second we've had and all those to come. May time stand still for us some. May it treat us kindly. May we not take a moment for granted.