32 years ago today I met Kelley and fell stone in love. That love grows wider, deeper, and more richly textured every day. Along the way we have changed each other, and between us we have made a third thing into which we have put a large part of ourselves: we have made Us. There are things I will do for myself, things I will do for Kelley, and things I will do for Us. They are not always the same things.
What is Us? Us is indefinable; I will say, rather, what Us includes. It includes me, and Kelley, our families, our shared history, our shared joys and jokes and sorrows; it includes the home we have built and the disagreements we had over this painting or that carpet or those mugs. Us includes our kitties—not just Charlie and George, but all the kitties before, and all the tiny things they have killed and we’ve buried, or half-killed and we’ve dispatched for mercy’s sake. It includes our garden—the flowers we plant and tend (and neglect, and sigh over), the trees we must prune and the railings we must erect even though they are not beautiful. It includes the tidying up after every snack, so the other doesn’t walk into a messy and miserable kitchen when she needs a moment of peace; it includes remembering to put an extra beer in the fridge because we know our beloved is having an extra tough meeting this afternoon and will need it. Us includes our work—the long conversations over wine, the digging deep and bracing against disappointment when we can’t say, immediately, Brilliant, best book! but, for the sake of love, must say, Oh, it will be beautiful my beloved—only not yet, not quite yet. Us is care and kindness, but it is also ruthlessness and clarity: it is truth when necessary but not honesty as a weapon. Us includes—often—doing something inconvenient, or tedious, something we just don’t want to do. And always—yes, always—being open, being vulnerable, being willing to listen and improve. But, oh, Us is so much joy! It is glee and excitement and thrill; it is delight; it is contentment. Us is where we live. Us is the home we have built.
This is all I want to say about it today. But someone always has questions. So you can find out more starting with a brief excerpt from my memoir about the moment we met. Or read our very first collaboration, As We Mean To Go On, about how books built the bridge for us to meet on. Or just go look at 30 Years: A Love Story in Photos. I’m going to go spend the day with my sweetie, and revel in Us. May your day be as fine.