I have this memory of Gav when we were just starting to get to know each other at the beginning of 2009. He came round to my flat one day when he had a day off from work, and I remember him sitting on the edge of my bed while we chatted. He was wearing white converse trainers and jeans, and I thought he was just the loveliest thing I had ever seen. Something about the way he sat, what he wore and his whole aura. We were just friends then, and it would be another few months before we got together. I liked him so much, but I was so nervous to ruin this connection we had that was so innocent. Just two people who so badly wanted to be in each other's company, without any agenda.
I was looking at these photos that Rebecca took of us back in November last year, thinking how happy we look, how happy we are, but also how easy it is for other people to see a picture of a happy couple and assume that's all they ever are. That it's easy for them to be that way. That's not at all what I see when I look at these photos. I see eight years of ups and downs, of all the things that we've been through both separately and together. I see the tough times, the disagreements, the moments we almost decided to give up. Moments that every other couple has, and we're certainly no different. But I also see two people who so badly wanted to be together eight years ago, and who still love each other's company just as much as we did back then. Two people who work so hard to better for each other, to work through the times we struggle to get along and most of all to provide a space for our daughter that is more filled with love, laughter and happiness than she could ever want.
Finding someone to love is the easy bit, compared with the effort you have to put in to keep loving each other year after year. The times you have to admit your faults, give a little more, take a little less and learn what things to let go of and what things to fight your corner on. Loyalty, honesty, humility, empathy...all things that really don't come easy some times. But you have to dig deep, you have to find them and you have to have the faith that you are better together. We know we're better when we work as a team, that we make our best decisions when we meet each other half way, that our polar opposites can be our greatest strength. Occasionally we forget all that, and we struggle for a while until we find our way back. But we always do, and that's what matters. Finding our way back.
Eight years with this guy, who knows my soul is not the same as his. The guy who knows I need to feel free in order to feel safe. The anchor to my little sail boat.