More than that, now.

And although it has only been one year, I am, quite literally, astounded by the goodness and the integrity and the sheer joy that is my husband.  This man is :  loving, patient, kind, witty beyond belief, an incredible debater re: all things politics, a humanitarian to his core, level headed.

He is also:  mine.  I have no idea how that happened.

And let's be honest.  The first year of marriage can teach you a lot about a lot.  I knew that Shoes and I would have some adjusting to do to real life.  The majority of our relationship had been long distance.  You know what happens on the weekends you see each other when you're doing long distance?  Fancy dinners, lovely cocktails, trips to the zoo ... when you see each other only on the weekends, it's a perpetual party.  Real life is not always a party.

I mean, sometimes it is.  Sometimes life is a party.  Sometimes, though, it's more like "I took the dog out at 5:30 this morning so I think it's your turn to take her to the dog park."  Sometimes it's more like, "I know we had sushi last week but we're having it again this week because I'm exhausted and I just can't bear to make one more decision."  Sometimes it's more like, "Babe.  Why is the light fixture still in the closet and not installed in the dining room?"

And, then, sometimes life is like, "Lisa, watch this.  I can totally make Dogs bark now."  And sometimes it's like, "Your nephew just said he has a lucky muscle."  And sometimes it's like, "My best friend's kid is running around town wearing a batman cape."

Our marriage is in the living and my living now happens side by side by a short, brown haired gem of a human being.

We've done life this year.  O, Lord.  Have we done life.  We got a dog.  I got a job.  We got married.  We bought a house.  I quit my job.  I got a different job.  Shoes adjusted to his job (contracts and public records and risk management aren't quite the same as being a deputy prosecuting attorney).  Shoes and I, we've had some moments.  Some misunderstandings.  I think Rosie and I have taken him to depths of his patience he didn't know existed.  But more than that ... more than the dialogues and the life that had to be lived and the dog that's eaten just about everything under the sun ... more than that, there is a deep well of commitment, respect, and complete and consuming love for each other.

See, here's the thing.  When Shoes and I said our vows last year, we didn't commit to just a marriage.  We committed to a lifelong endeavor of supporting the other person and growing with the other person.  We didn't commit to "husband and wife."  Moreso, we committed to "human being and human being."

We committed to the entire sum of the other person:  the love, the strength, the humor, the fears, the insecurities.  We committed also to the commitment.

To celebrate one year of marriage, we headed north to a mountain lake and rented jet skis.  We chased each other around and raced each other and got deliciously sun burned.   We drank wine in the mountain town and ate delicious Italian food.  We took naps.  We laughed.  We hugged.  We talked about our wedding.  We talked about our upcoming year.

On the Sunday of our anniversary weekend, we took a walk in a large, nearby city park, where, on our actual anniversary, we watched from a distance another couple saying their vows.  And we saw how happy their loved ones were.  And we watched them celebrate.  And I cried.  Because that's what I do: Professional Crier.  And Shoes said, "Wife, stop."  Because that's what he does.  And I hoped for this couple what I hope for Shoes and I:  that even when life is hard and circumstances are terrible, you can still celebrate the union and the relationship and the other person.

Man.  A year goes by so quickly...

I have not been here much, on understanding (n.).  I have been working 60 hour weeks and celebrating a year of marriage and keeping up with dogs, who has decided she is entirely co-dependent and unable to be by herself.

Ever.  At all.

I am flexing today off.  I am flexing today off because I worked 55 hours last week, being with families, coming together with them in an effort to prevent placement of their children.  I am the live in therapist.  Only, I don't live there.  It just feels like I do.

I have had yay moments and oh no moments and this isn't safe at all moments.  I have had healing moments and scary moments and I have witnessed, in the last week alone, four drug deals.  I have called the Vet School, where we take our darling Rosie, to make sure I cannot bring home the Parvo virus because one of the apartment complexes I am in so often is infested and dogs are dying left and right.  It is truly heart breaking.

{It is highly unlikely I will bring home the Parvo virus.  I knew that, but I had to make sure.  This might be the reason my darling Rosie is co-dependent.  In any case, the Public Information Officer I spoke with gently suggested euthanizing the dogs that are there.  It is so very sad.  And more than that, this is the environment in which young children live.}

In flexing today off, I get to turn off my work phone.  I get to not read my work email.  I get to have lunch with my mother in law.  I do have to catch up on paperwork, maybe an hour's worth?, but that's it.

And tomorrow I will be up bright and early for another 13 hour day.  And I will work Saturday morning.  Part of the issue here is that we're still working on generating local referrals.  Until that happens, I have to take families in a town an hour and a half away.  That's a lot of driving.  That's 15 extra hours to my work week right there.

It's a juggling act.  But, in the end, when one counts all the benefits and costs, this is still a better deal than the last agency I was in.

It's amazing how much of a factor professionalism, professional growth and clinical support mean to a social worker / therapist.

So, onward.  On to catch up on this paperwork and go drink wine at the golf course with MIL.  On to an afternoon nap.  On to a mission to find clearance patio furniture for the deck.