Thirty-three Days Shy of Ten Years

June 17th has served as the anniversary for me and the ALT for coming up on ten years.  In June of 2005, she and I encountered each other on the then simplistic MySpace.  This was when you needed to know a bit of HTML to create custom profile splash pages.  She reached out to me, announcing only her first name.  It had been some seven years since last we'd spoke from high, I had an inkling, but she had no profile picture and I had to embarrass myself and be reminded of who she was.  We wrote back and forth and agreed to meet up to go out to dinner and catch-up.

Our first date was at the then newly constructed Carrabba's on Yale near I-44.  The following week I went on a vacation with my Dad, reliving a family trip from my youth.  That first date was really just two friends catching up.  But there was something there.  I wanted to see her again, I hoped she did, too.

Note, I was 25 at the time.  I was coming off some tumultuous, on-again/off-again relationships that had no future.  I'm not fond of recalling them, there's some regrets there, but they were valuable for the lessons I learned through them.  We grow through our mistakes and I only mention these because, if not for those experiences, I would not have been ready for what was to come.  That is to say, the rest of my life.

Now, I won't bore you here with a personal history.  There's ten years of it, a bit much for a blog entry.  Our relationship, like every other, has had its ups and downs.  Everyone stretches and recoils.  Early on, and to this day, the ALT was fiercely independent.  She was a single mother with her own house, holding down a significant job with a lot of overtime and call to ensure her and her daughter's security and education, putting them both through premium schooling.  I was kind of in a band and working retail (I made a decent amount, though).  In our coming together, however, she relaxed and trusted in someone else, trusted someone else with her daughter and her own wellbeing, and I accepted adulthood (though still wildly immature to this day, I assure you) and responsibility.

I should also note, that in the time I've been with the ALT, I have managed to prioritize my aspirations.  I still love music and art, but my most reliable talent, writing, is what I have focused on.  In being with her, I have written so much more than I had in the ten years previous to that first date.

It was through trials between us, our families, friends, through health, through employment woes, through uncontrollable circumstances, through periods of holding on too tightly or even not tightly enough, that no matter how far we might fall down, crack, and splinter, each of the stumbles were a sign to step up.  Our relationship has been a constant progress.  It is most certainly work, for all three of us.  But though all those trials, we have become a family unto ourselves.  Our place of residence is most certainly a home, because our hearts are in it together.

So, those bonds that we forged, the ALT and I made vows of them, on May 15th 2015, just a bit over a month ahead of what would have been our tenth anniversary.  We wed of course because we love each other, but also because we have stuck it out through these years and the events that encompass them.  Everything that could be covered by "to have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health," we have lived through already.  Adding "I do" while looking into each other's eyes and holding hands in front of a judge I barely managed to schedule the day of because I'm a dummy and nearly screwed up our wedding day by not having him scheduled beforehand, was simple.

Stuff comes and goes, things change.  MySpace.  That Carrabba's.  Gone.  But we've remained, grown and strengthened.

To my ALT and our daughter the ANT, I look forward to many more decades with you.  To fans, friends, and family, thank you so much for your support through the years as you've seen us through them.

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