In 2011, Barack Obama was a president I couldn’t vote for, “Party Rock Anthem” played everywhere on the radio, and I was a junior in high school. I was taking anatomy and physiology, precalculus, and AP literature. I had the best season of my softball career, leading my team to the state tournament as our pitcher and hitting with a .645 batting average. I was living in my childhood home in Gunnison, my parents adopted a puppy, and I got an Xbox for Christmas.
That was also the year I fell in love.
In the years since, nearly everything has changed. I’ve now voted in three presidential elections since, LMFAO is on an indefinite hiatus, I’ve been out of school for twice as long as I was in it, and I’ve switched from player to coach (for a rivalling team, nonetheless). I live in my own home in New Castle, with a one-year old pup. We still own that Xbox, though it’s primarily used to play our dust-gathering DVD collection.
One thing has remained the same: once I fell in love, I never fell out of it.
What I knew, what I learned
When Chad asked me to be his girlfriend (you know the story), I had no idea what our future would hold. I didn’t know I’d start falling and never stop, that we’d forever be connected, or that Chad would have the glow up of the century.
Instead, I just had a collection of fun facts about Chad: I knew that he was a nice guy, incredibly smart, a baseball player, my best friend’s cousin, a cat person, and that he drove the same kind of car I did.
Over time I became a Chad expert, fluent in his nuances and a resident expert in his personhood. I envied his early riser status, rolled my eyes at his internal database for professional athletes, swooned at his mathematical prowess while scoffing at his spelling level, and found comfort in the way his hands could always warm up my own. I learned things about his life, like how he played card games at dinnertime with his parents, the food he liked to make himself for breakfast, and what kind of conversations stressed him out. Likewise, I learned about him as a person—his dreams, plans, pet peeves, quirks, expectations, speech patterns, and expressions. I fell in step with how he viewed himself and me and the world.
And as we grew up together, I saw and experienced more changes and learned how many more things I could love about Chad. I saw reluctance to change dissolve, a mind continually open and flourish, and dreams expand. A partner emerged from tough times and hard conversations and I learned that the level-headed boy I used to know could grow into a loving, evolving, goofy man and my very best friend.
The rest, I guess, is a history that’s still being written.
More and more
I’ll never get over how impressive time is: our relationship feels both quick and studied; just a couple handfuls of yesterdays and also infinite eons and eras. My favorite part of the past decade is knowing, on a fundamental level, that we can accomplish anything, get through everything, and manage to have some fun along the way.
Here’s the best summary I can offer: since 2011, I’ve been lucky enough to exist in a world where I get to be loved by Chad. I’m looking forward to another ten years, when I can compare tomorrow’s trends with today’s, marveling at a life-long romance and a man I’ll never stop loving. At the very least, I’m glad we outlasted LMFAO.
In turn: I loved Chad then, but I love him much more now. My heart is impossibly full, operating at max capacity. And yet—I know I’ll love him even more tomorrow, and more the next. I’m looking forward to another ten years, when I can compare tomorrow’s trends with today’s, marveling at a life-long romance and a husband I’ll never stop loving.
Happy ten years, Chad. 5ever to go. 🖤