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  • Kristen Kehoe

Nine Years: That Real Life Romance


Once upon a time, not long after we got married, I asked Old Man River to live in a romance novel with me. I wanted our days to be filled with clever moments and smoldering looks; our nights to be filled with passion and declarations of love in the moonlight. I wanted my reality to be like that of those pages I read and write--easy and heart-wrenching and sexy and silly and fun, all with the promise of happily ever after.

I have learned, however, that reality is more than a romance novel, if only because it asks that much more of our relationship.

We do have clever moments throughout the day, but more often than not they come from teasing one another or our daughter--or standing by while she roasts one of us. While there is passion in our marriage, it often comes with less spontaneity than it might in the pages, one or both of us deciding yes or no based on what we've eaten and how much..because heartburn and bloat are two very real things, and physical activities after an undisclosed amount of beer and a large pizza is never wise.

The above paragraph makes us look lazy--maybe even sad. In truth, I've learned over these nine years that what it makes us is real. We are so very real, Old Man River. We are in love, but we understand that with being in love and growing together there are those moments of miscommunication--or no communication whatsoever. There are those moments of disagreement, and others of just downright annoyance that may or may not have anything to do with the actual people in the room with us.

And, continuing with our learning curve of nine years, with all of this knowledge, we have also come to understand that real life is a romance novel, we're simply living the epilogue right now. We've moved past the first three hundred pages of meet-and-greet and get to know each other; we aren't in the early stages of love where we wonder what will happen and if it will be forever; we know it's forever because we are in the throes of it, the place that is far more intense than those first stages because it requires us to know everything about one another and still make discoveries.

Like last night, when you could see I was melting, and rather than ask a question, you came into the bathroom where I was getting Livvy ready for bed, you put your hand on my shoulder, and you told me to go make a cup of coffee, that you would do bedtime. I argued, naturally, because it was my night, but you just shook your head, gave me a look and said, "you help no one when you miss your caffeiene intake."

Exciting? Maybe not, but it nearly brought me to tears because you got it. Just like you get me, Old Man River. I get you, too. And I love you to the moon...or at least enough to fly our family across the country and spend 10 days with other people ;)

Happy nine year anniversary, Jan. Here's to the rest of our chapters. xoxo


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