This is a thank you note to my husband, Mark.
You took me for a ride on your motorcycle. You knew I was terrified, yet I knew I was safe. We just went around a few blocks, but during that time, my emotions swirled between excitement, hatred, happiness, self doubt, contentment, fear, guilt, and above all else, love.
Those minutes, hanging on for dear life, gave me a sense of clarity, a voice to articulate how far we’ve come, how far I’ve come, and the confidence to share it not only with you, but to share my love for you with the world.
As you know, my last marriage wasn’t full of kindness. And, although it’s been almost a decade since I’ve been out of that marriage, there are a lot of things that never disappear. I remember, very clearly, certain things that were said to me, times and places where I was in danger, and the constant need to walk on eggshells to protect myself, and my children.
Although it seems odd to remember, one of the things my ex-husband said to me was, “You’re too fat to ride on a motorcycle with me. You’ll make us crash.” I never forgot those words, and I never rode on a motorcycle, with anyone, because I was afraid I’d be the reason for the demise.
There are days when I feel excitement, awe, and true wonder at being your wife. There are moments I hate my ex-husband for all that I experienced, and continue to experience. There are so, so many moments of happiness. Being your wife, being a mama, being together as a family brings me tremendous joy.
Self doubt sucks. It happens a lot, much more than I ever share with you. Ah, contentment. Being content and comfortable doesn’t come easy for me. But, when our family is home, and I hear video games, laughter, and movies playing much too loud, I feel like I finally belong.
Fear is my worst enemy. I have nightmares my ex-husband is coming after me. And, then I have nightmares you’re leaving me. My fears are heightened with loud noises, and I triple check the locks multiples times a night before I can finally rest my head.
I feel guilty, often. As a mama, I feel guilty for not being able to be a better mom for the first many years of my children’s lives because I was too busy protecting them. It’s hard to discipline and set boundaries when you have an emergency kit in your trunk, ready to go at the first sign of trouble. And, yet, for the first many years I was with you, I still kept that kit ready. I’m so sorry for that. I’m sorry I ran every time I started to feel settled. I still feel the guilt that comes with how much I hurt you while you were trying to help me.
Please know that with each day you wake me with kisses, you’re helping me heal. Each day you send me messages asking about my day, and telling me you love me, you’re helping me heal. When you pat me on the butt, and tell me about your day, you’re helping me heal. As you listen to me cry, even when you don’t understand, you’re helping me heal. You’ll never know what it feels like to me, to fall asleep not fearing for my safety. When you hold me every night before we drift off to sleep, you’re helping me heal. Thank you for all of those things.
When you offered me a ride on your motorcycle, you were full of confidence, assuring me, promising me, several times over, I wouldn’t cause us to crash. You told me to climb on, hold on tight to you, and just enjoy the experience.
So, I try. I’m here, holding on to you with everything I have, and I’m doing my damndest not to cause us to crash. Thank you for holding on so tightly to me.
I love you,