In spite of it all, love grows

Dear Otto,

Happy anniversary, darling! I know I’m a few days late. I’m sorry. This is rather representative of our entire relationship, though, that it somehow just doesn’t work out the way we thought it would, timing-wise. This is not to say that it doesn’t work out, just that planning has become something of a farce ’round here.

Nevertheless, we’ve made it an entire year. It’s official and everything—even our alumni magazine announced the news in its latest issue, so I guess you’re stuck with me now. Nineteen years behind us, one of them married, and do you know what? I still think it was the very smartest thing you ever did. (It was also the smartest thing that I ever did, but I have done so very many stupid things it really wasn’t much of a contest.)

When Chickadee had her first birthday, my closest friend at the time—a more seasoned mother than I—came to the house with a wrapped present for her and a potted violet, for me. “Congratulations!” she said, with a big grin. “You’ve kept a human being alive for an ENTIRE YEAR! You’re now ready to take care of a plant.” Legends of my black thumb preceded me, and while it seemed ridiculous to compare a violet to a baby, it had a certain poetic rightness to it.

(Chickadee is still very much alive, but I killed the violet shortly before I got divorced. Let’s not read too much into that, even if it is completely prophetic.)

I have spent this year continually humbled at how you, who’ve never done this before—and by THIS I mean not only marriage, but cohabitation, parenthood, and enduring my propensity to leave a heap of laundry in the bathroom—have managed to show me the way, time and time again. I’m supposed to know how this works, and of course if I actually KNEW I might still be married to someone else, so perhaps the reality is that starting with a clean slate is almost easier. I am still unlearning bad habits. I am still nursing old wounds. And you have just loved me, loved US, without prodding, without fanfare, with infinite patience and a quiet tenderness.

Congratulations, Otto. You’ve kept our marriage alive for an entire year. You are now ready to get everything you deserve in this life, and I hope that I can help make that happen.

You make me believe in happy endings. Not the insipid, instantaneous kind, but the hard-won, fought-for kind. The kind worth having.

This year has not been without challenges. This last month, in particular, has been so difficult for me, and even more difficult because it’s not your fault and I have grieved my inability to be the wife I want to be, during this time, in the midst of everything else. You deserve more. We deserve more. I need to learn how to weather these storms without fearing that I will drown, again. I need to learn how to be okay with holding on to you for support without pulling you down with me.

And so I’ve already given you one anniversary present—we’ll go have professional massages as soon as we can get it scheduled—but I actually have another one for you, too. Guess what! I’m going back to therapy, because I can’t settle for being kind of okay, anymore. I’m tired of letting this other stuff get in our way. You deserve better. We deserve better. You taught me that I deserve better.

I told you years ago that I wasn’t looking for a savior but a partner. You have exceeded my expectations; this next year I hope I can exceed yours. Because I need to thank you: thank you for being patient; thank you for loving me; thank you for loving them; thank you for never doing anything partway.

Also, thank you for the chocolate.

Mmmmmm... chocolatey goodness!

Me too, baby. Me too.


(Happy Love Thursday, everyone.)

85 Responses to “In spite of it all, love grows”

  1. 1
    Jess May 15, 2008 at 8:38 am #

    Aww! The M&Ms are so CUTE! Happy anniversary, guys, albeit belated. :)

  2. 2
    Stacia May 15, 2008 at 8:39 am #

    Congratulations on making it year! And you deserve props for going back to therapy. Our stories are very similar (I met my husband in high school, married for two years) and I too decided to go back to therapy after we got married. It was the best thing I could have done. Here’s to many, many more years of happiness and lots more chocolate!

  3. 3
    Dawn @ Coming to a Nursery Near You May 15, 2008 at 8:47 am #

    Congratulations :)

  4. 4
    Dani May 15, 2008 at 8:49 am #

    Aww. You made me all weepy!

    Happy Anniversary. xoxo

  5. 5
    Beachgal May 15, 2008 at 8:51 am #

    Awww…the chocolate pic topped off this entry and made me cry. So incredibly happy for you.

  6. 6
    Shash May 15, 2008 at 8:55 am #

    Happy Anniversary, Mir and Otto!

    You guys deserve all the best and more. Mazel tov! :)


  7. 7
    prophet May 15, 2008 at 9:00 am #


  8. 8
    Teresa May 15, 2008 at 9:13 am #


  9. 9
    Nichole May 15, 2008 at 9:16 am #

    Happy anniversary! You made me cry!

  10. 10
    suburbancorrespondent May 15, 2008 at 9:16 am #

    Um….you’re not going to eat all of those by yourself, are you?

    And I’ve raised 6 kids, but I still kill plants. Stupid things don’t have the sense to cry when they’re thirsty, you know…

  11. 11
    Jenny May 15, 2008 at 9:26 am #

    Happy anniversary!!!

  12. 12
    Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah May 15, 2008 at 9:28 am #

    Happy Anniversary guys!

  13. 13
    Tammy May 15, 2008 at 9:33 am #

    Congratulations & Happy Anniversary!

  14. 14
    Beth May 15, 2008 at 9:40 am #

    Thank you for sharing your joy with us. Congratulations to both of you for being committed to each other!

    (And thank you for giving me a little kick to get back into therapy, too. I’m calling my new health insurance company right now.)

    Hugs and good wishes to the Mir-Otto-Chickadee-Monkey Clan! I’d love to see the clan banner for that one!

  15. 15
    Jennifer May 15, 2008 at 9:44 am #

    Congratulations to all four of you! Happy Anniversary, Otto and Mir!

  16. 16
    jenn May 15, 2008 at 9:53 am #

    At 27 I have gone from the sort of person who just expected marriages to work, to being incredibly marriage and lifetime-partner cynical, to being in a relationship which has been proving to me time and time again that love and partnership can be so much more than I ever expected … and more vibrant and exciting that I ever dreamed possible (and we are getting married next month!). From what you describe It sounds like you are experiencing something similar. I am very happy for you and hope that your relationship only gets better from here.

  17. 17
    Jamie May 15, 2008 at 9:54 am #

    Happy Anniversary, Mir and Otto, and may you be blessed with many more. :)

  18. 18
    Caution May 15, 2008 at 9:55 am #

    Gosh! I think I love Otto, too, now :)

    Congrats on the anniversary and the therapy decision!

  19. 19
    Flea May 15, 2008 at 10:01 am #

    That was beautiful, Mir. It can only get better from here. :D

  20. 20
    judy May 15, 2008 at 10:03 am #

    Congrats to you both! I found one a lot like Otto and was blessed to find him early in life. He helped me become the person I never knew I could be. I am confident that when you two have 18 years under the bridge, as we do, you will say the same about your precious Otto. Here’s to another year of positive growth. (in mental health and plants alike).

  21. 21
    Sheila May 15, 2008 at 10:03 am #

    I think you BOTH make us believe in happy endings.

    Happy anniversary!

  22. 22
    Sara May 15, 2008 at 10:04 am #

    Happy anniversary. Love rules.

  23. 23
    All Adither May 15, 2008 at 10:15 am #

    Aw. Yay! A year.

    My husband and I are approached number 7. It’s great. It’s hard. It’s lovely. It sucks. It’s amazing.

  24. 24
    Astrogirl426 May 15, 2008 at 10:17 am #

    Happy Anniversary, Mir and Otto! Here’s to many, many more (lifting champagne glass and toasting you).

    What, 10am is too early to start drinking? Pish posh, it’s never to early to celebrate!

    And good for you on the therapy thing – it took me 15 years to finally pull up my big girl pants and start therapy, and it’s the best thing I could have done for me and for Bunker Hubby.

    Yay for love!

  25. 25
    Heather May 15, 2008 at 10:24 am #

    *Sniffle* Happy Anniversary!

  26. 26
    wafelenbak May 15, 2008 at 10:29 am #

    Awwww, I’m welling up a bit too. Congratulations you two!!

  27. 27
    Aimee May 15, 2008 at 10:41 am #

    Yay Mir! Yay Otto! Yay love!

    Happy Anniversary, you two.

  28. 28
    Holly May 15, 2008 at 10:43 am #

    Congratulations! May you have many, many years with this incredible man!

  29. 29
    erma May 15, 2008 at 10:46 am #

    Sitting here all teary-eyed…congratulations to you and Otto!

  30. 30
    Rebecca May 15, 2008 at 10:49 am #

    Happy Anniversary! That was beautiful, and now I’m all teary.

  31. 31
    StephLove May 15, 2008 at 10:52 am #

    Happy Anniversary, Mir & Otto. Here’s to many more.

  32. 32
    StephLove May 15, 2008 at 10:52 am #

    p.s. The entry’s not late–you were just waiting for Thursday, right?

  33. 33
    steve May 15, 2008 at 11:09 am #

    Best wishes from all of Otto’s home-townies.

    We hope to raise a glass or two with you over mounds of BBQd flesh this summer!

  34. 34
    donna May 15, 2008 at 11:26 am #

    happy anniversary

  35. 35
    Mysh May 15, 2008 at 11:41 am #

    Your love for each other is inspiring. Congratulations and many blessings for all of you!

  36. 36
    Cheryl May 15, 2008 at 11:44 am #

    Happy Anniversary!

    And good for realizing you need some help. That’s such a major step. I’ve been there. It’s easy to think that things will be “okay” – but those around us affected so much by what we do and how we think.

  37. 37
    E May 15, 2008 at 11:44 am #

    Oh my, how beautiful. I wonder if you’d be willing to write a letter to my husband in August, because your letter was so sweet and heartfelt.

    Happy Anniversary.

  38. 38
    jess May 15, 2008 at 11:45 am #

    I can understand everything you’ve said. I married an Otto type of guy. My husband is the most caring and (very importantly) most FORGIVING guy I’ve ever met. He’s put up with me, baggage and all, and has only continued to love and support me as I struggle to become a better wife. He makes the desire to be better stronger every day, just by being caring and loving and kind. I am truly blessed by having this wonderful man in my life (even if he, too, might have made a few mistakes during our friendship prior to dating/marriage).

    Thank you for writing this. I’m forwarding it to my husband. (And he’ll recognize the part about a heap of my clothing in the bathroom as well. Well…that’s where I take my clothes off usually, so it makes sense that they should be there! *laughs*)

  39. 39
    jess May 15, 2008 at 11:47 am #

    Oh, and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to you two!

    (Ours is coming up in a little over a week, so this was definitely timely for me, too. Two years of marriage! Whoo!)

  40. 40
    jen May 15, 2008 at 11:51 am #

    THIS is love. Hard-earned, worked-for, appreciated. Happy Anniversary to the both of you!

  41. 41
    Lisa- Domestic Accident May 15, 2008 at 12:07 pm #

    OMG, that was the sweetest thing ever.

  42. 42
    Sarah - Ji May 15, 2008 at 12:10 pm #

    Happy Anniversary to you both! It takes a lot of honesty and courage and love to do what you’re doing.

  43. 43
    The Other Leanne May 15, 2008 at 12:17 pm #

    Mazel tov!
    (and good for you for going for the tune-up)

  44. 44
    Heidi May 15, 2008 at 12:18 pm #

    Yay Mir! Yay Otto!

  45. 45
    Sarah May 15, 2008 at 12:31 pm #

    I’ve lurked for awhile but I just wanted to say congratulations on the anniversary and the decision to return to therapy. The best gift you can give to a partner is to take good care of yourself.

  46. 46
    themuttprincess May 15, 2008 at 12:33 pm #

    You gave me goosebumps!

    Congrats at One Year!!!

  47. 47
    Crisanne May 15, 2008 at 12:41 pm #

    Happy Anniversary, Mir and clan! Here’s to a wonderful second year with more healing and less pain.

  48. 48
    elizabeth May 15, 2008 at 12:43 pm #

    that was beautiful. every time you write to Otto like this you say everything I would to say to my husband. he is also a trade-up and everything I could ever hope for.

    so, yeah for Mr and Mrs Otto! and many more.

    but is it still cheaper than therapy if you are also in therapy? (sorry, couldn’t resist)

  49. 49
    Deb May 15, 2008 at 1:02 pm #

    Happy belated Anniversary and Happy Love Thursday. That was just beautiful.

  50. 50
    arduous May 15, 2008 at 1:08 pm #

    Aw, happy anniversary & congrats.

  51. 51
    Laurie May 15, 2008 at 1:16 pm #

    ok…that made me cry.

  52. 52
    Procrastamom May 15, 2008 at 1:26 pm #

    Bee-U-tee-full! Happy Anniversary Mir & Otto.

  53. 53
    Sue May 15, 2008 at 1:48 pm #

    Happy Anniversary! You need to put a tissue alert on this because I just had to wipe my nose on some looseleaf. You are a lucky gal, Mir. And, Otto is a lucky guy too!

  54. 54
    Melissa May 15, 2008 at 2:40 pm #

    Congratulations and wishing you many many more wonderful years (that you will please continue to share with us!)

  55. 55
    Vane May 15, 2008 at 2:52 pm #

    See, you are not supposed to make me cry at work …

    Happy Anniversary to the two of you, may many years of happiness come your way :)

  56. 56
    dad May 15, 2008 at 3:42 pm #

    You never cease to amaze me.

    You’ve made a whole series of good moves this year and Thursday remains my favoite day of the week.

  57. 57
    zeghsy May 15, 2008 at 4:02 pm #

    congratulations. i hate it when posts make me cry at work.

  58. 58
    RubiaLala May 15, 2008 at 4:05 pm #

    That is sweet. Happy anniversary.

  59. 59
    saucygrrl May 15, 2008 at 4:24 pm #

    Ah, therapy. I like to call it “the gift that keeps on giving.” Seriously. :)

    Happy Anniversary Mir and Otto! May there be many more…

  60. 60
    Carrie May 15, 2008 at 4:26 pm #

    So sweet. Happy Anniversary.

  61. 61
    Libby May 15, 2008 at 4:35 pm #

    That was very sweet. It made me all weepy. Congratulations!

  62. 62
    Im No Clair May 15, 2008 at 5:07 pm #

    Congratulations on your marriage, family and anniversary.

  63. 63
    Fold My Laundry Please May 15, 2008 at 5:30 pm #

    His and her massages for an anniversary gift? Hmmmm…Father’s Day is coming up. Maybe I’ll get my husband his and her manicures. Wait! No! Pedicures! Pedicures are more manly.

  64. 64
    Fold My Laundry Please May 15, 2008 at 5:32 pm #

    And to think I almost forgot to say, “Happy Anniversary!” Isn’t it good to know you’ve found your Happily Ever After?

  65. 65
    The Other Other Dawn May 15, 2008 at 5:59 pm #

    I gotta get me one o’ them Ottos.

    Congrats on the first anniversary. You do give one reason to hope, if only just a little.

  66. 66
    jennielynn May 15, 2008 at 6:39 pm #

    I’m all weepy. It must be the chocolate.

  67. 67
    Jaime May 15, 2008 at 7:48 pm #

    that was an incredibly sweet post!! congrats on reaching your first anniversary!

  68. 68
    David May 15, 2008 at 8:52 pm #

    Awww. Lovely post, Mir. Congrats and Happy Anniverary to you both.

  69. 69
    Mom101 May 15, 2008 at 9:02 pm #

    Aw look at you all sentimental and mushy. I love it. Happy happy to you both.

  70. 70
    stew May 15, 2008 at 9:02 pm #

    What a beautiful tribute, dear Mir. Congratulations to you both!

  71. 71
    emily May 15, 2008 at 10:04 pm #


    And gorgeous chocolate, too.

  72. 72
    Kira May 15, 2008 at 10:50 pm #

    See, now, I thought therapy was the traditional 7th anniversary gift, while #1 was usually celebrated with paper or oral sex.
    HEY! Guess which one we went for?
    Whoops. Did I say that out loud?
    Happy anniversary, guys. And Otto? Thank you for loving my friend so well.

  73. 73
    becky May 15, 2008 at 11:05 pm #

    happy anniversary! this made me sniffle (of course, i cry at commercials right now, too. damn hormones.).

    but even w/o the crazy hormones, this would make me sniffle. so glad you found someone worth all the good & all the bad.

  74. 74
    Nancy R May 15, 2008 at 11:51 pm #

    Happy Anniversary! Wishing you many, many more.

  75. 75
    carrien May 16, 2008 at 4:46 am #

    It’s really quite wonderful to be with someone who makes you want to be a better wife just because they are a remarkable husband.

    Happy Anniversary

  76. 76
    Emma May 16, 2008 at 5:46 am #

    So Cute! Happy Anniversary.

  77. 77
    Spice May 16, 2008 at 9:00 am #

    That is SO sweet! I got chills reading it. Happy Anniversary!

  78. 78
    Emily May 16, 2008 at 11:29 am #

    This brought tears to my eyes. Happy anniversary, and may you have many more rich years of burning things down together.

  79. 79
    Megan May 16, 2008 at 12:39 pm #

    Lovely. And lovely to share it

  80. 80
    Susan Getgood May 16, 2008 at 1:27 pm #

    Happy Anniversary to you both. I wish you many many more happy years ahead.

    and BTW on the plant thing, I’m okay with the outdoor plants — rain helps — but I can even kill CACTUS indoors.

  81. 81
    ramblin' red May 16, 2008 at 4:20 pm #


    You guys deserve this kind of love.

    Happy for you Mir – loved seeing you on Today, love that you’re in a book and that life is going up for you. Now, please pass some of it my way, okay? Please pretty Mir?

  82. 82
    J from Ireland May 16, 2008 at 7:43 pm #

    Crying my eyes out over here, that is just lovely. Happy Anniversary.

  83. 83
    Jamie AZ May 16, 2008 at 8:02 pm #

    Happy anniversary! Those M&Ms are great!!

  84. 84
    SheilaC May 18, 2008 at 3:44 am #

    Congratulations, Mir and Otto. Happy anniversary, and many more to come!


  1. 23 sleeps! « Random pieces of Me - May 15, 2008

    […] Today started with a in incredibly touching and uplifting and hopeful post by Mir at Woulda Coulda Shoulda. It has me ready to go and seize the day so in the words of Kal Barteski Go! […]

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