Wow. It feels a little weird saying that, me here in the future and you back in the past.
This kind of letter is all the rage these days, but usually it’s parents writing to their unborn babies or their toddlers on their birthdays or something, you know? They’re mostly tender and sweet, fluffy, safe, and fairly predictable.
I’ve written a few. I like them.
Anyway, me and my big ideas: I wanted to take things in a different direction and, well, here we are. I hope it isn’t super weird for you, either.
Oh who am I kidding…it’s CRAZY STRANGE!
I’m a full-grown man writing to a baby in a womb 36 years ago!
But whatever. I’m doing this; we’re doing this! Oh, and by the way, I guess you’re wondering by now who in the hell I am, huh? Fair enough; I’m the guy you’re gonna marry someday in about 27 years or so. Not your second or third marriage either. I’m your first one. And you’re mine.
I’m the guy.
Let me let that sink into your cute little unborn head, kid.
Crazy, right?! I know, but it’s true too. We are going to get married and have rug-rats and grow tomatoes and watch TV together and we are going to have dogs and pots and pans and cats and cars and move across the USA a couple times and share a record collection, among other things.
Don’t worry though, Monica. See, I have a feeling that you will forget most of this, so I am not too worried about messing up all of the impending life and romances and experiences you’re going to bask in and feast upon before you meet me in 2004. I mean c’mon, it would totally suck to go through life knowing the exact details of when you’re supposed to meet your Prince Charming, right?!
(‘Prince Charming’…Hahaha…You’re gonna laugh at that one down the road. I promise.)
So, hopefully you forget all about me after you read this. What I’m hoping happens is that I just become like this subconscious idea that lives down in the deep nooks and crannies of your lifelong dream factory. And without giving away too much, I know that’s a real stretch given the twists and turns our marriage will end up taking, Monica, but who knows, right?
I guess we’ll just both have to wait and see.
Anyway, later on when we meet and kiss and hold hands and talk for endless hours and wait impatiently for each other at airport exit gates, our relatively young hearts smashing against our ribs like locomotives in our chests, I want you to know that it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. Later on, that sentiment will be slightly compromised by the birth of our three kids – I won’t ruin everything and name any names – but still… THREE KIDS!
Our days and nights together will sometimes seem like a dream, too. Looking back, I kind of like that, too. In a way, I think love should be that way. So much happened so fast between us that we ended up taking these gargantuan blind leaps before we even knew each other. (Ahem) You’ll point this out to me a bunch of times down through the years, but for better or for worse, I never pay it much attention. Don’t get mad at me for that if you can help it; I never hesitated for even a second when it came to marrying you.
Not even a second.
I don’t know how to describe why I felt so sure it was the thing to do…I just did.
It just was.
Unfortunately, I will piss you off something fierce down the road, kiddo. My chaotic lifestyle (lucky you: you marry a penniless rock-n-roll guitarist) and your professional one will collide like a couple of summertime air show tragedies, thick black billowing souls of smoke and fire snaking over a field of our own screams and finger-pointing.
I will often feel like I married way out of my league too, and combined with the rest of my Greek Diner menu of neurosis and my Fat-Kid Complex that I have carried around with me since I was a seven-year-old Dom Deluise hooked on microwave mozzarella sticks, I think that it is safe for me to let you know that eventually all of that gets you pretty ticked off.
But what are you gonna do?
Also, later on it will really make you angry when I say that one thing, that you were ”out of my league.”
Well, you probably won’t even believe it, but I think a lot of guys honestly feel that way about the once-in-a-lifetime girl who barges in on their puny life and sweeps them off of their proverbial feet. Listen: you become such a beautiful blue-eyed woman, some kind of weird/insane Scandinavian-ish Winter Angel who slips into my life like a hallucination, like some kind of vision. Many times when we end up kissing, or when you touch my arm when you’re laughing at something funny I said, or even when we’re just sitting together in places where people are seeing me with you, I have to pinch myself because I can hardly believe it.
It ends up being a nice problem for me to have, don’t get me wrong, but it also takes its toll on the silly dialogue that I have always kept playing inside my giant coconut of a head, ever since I was old enough to even think any thoughts up there, really.
Then there is the fact (spoiler alert) that from a really young age you are going to become this pretty damn amazing thinker. See, not to spill to many of the beans here, Monica, but you come from a remote and strange land called Utah. It’s a place unlike many of the lands surrounding it and it can heavily shape a young woman into a conservative certain mold, if you know what I’m saying. Yet by the time that you cross my path you are this absolutely inspiring and spirited woman whose eyes shimmer with the dazzling glint of some sort of wild dare.
It was almost as if from the moment I laid eyes on you you were constantly daring me to talk to you, to get to know you. Funny enough, that never really ends for me, for us. At least it hasn’t as of this morning while I’m writing this letter to you.
From the very first few moments of us knowing each other in this life I was hit by some heavy city bus you call your spirit.
And check it out, this may sound like a gratuitous thing to say to someone long after I marry her (or in this case: decades before I will ever meet her) but I can say, in all honesty, that of all of the people I will have met in my life up until the day you and I end up in the same small barroom in Salt Lake City, no one ever steals my heart, my big fat dumb-ass heart, anywhere even within the same galaxy as you do.
But still. I hate saying this to you, but things get so messy so often, I’m afraid.
We will fight and argue, sometimes a lot.
We smash our hot iron wills together like barbarians and what we seriously want to be love ends up just a couple of rattling sabres on more nights than we could ever expect. That’s what happens though, I think, when lovers are so well pitted/so squarely matched. Love is way more than most people ever want to admit.
We are raised to think that matters of the heart should be fluffy and gentle, like a damn kitten rolling around on top of our belly or something, but in reality they’re usually not, Monica. There are also lots of times when things are so dialed in that love seems fluid, of course, and we will experience that.
But there are lots of other times, too, when love is just two mountain bighorn sheep, standing on a cold, thin Triscuit of a ridge, bashing each other’s brains out over who-the-hell-knows what.
We will storm that ridge, for better or worse, my love. And we will live up there for brutal stretches of time. Don’t let all of this scare you though, okay?! I know that sounds kind of hard now, but that’s really not why I’m writing you this stuff! In fact, the real reason I’m making sure that you get a chance to read this before you are even born into this madding crowd is to beg you to hang in there with me.
I will be such an asshole, Monica!
I really will!
But I think that you’re going to somehow see past that. I honestly do. At least, from the basement of my heart, I really hope that you do. All of my old hurts and old pains will roll themselves down new dark alleys of mid-level insanity that I will whip up and all of that will combine to make loving me a giant pain in your pretty little ass, but please please please…seriously…don’t let me go.
Don’t close your eyes and sigh and let me wander away off into the darkness if you can ever help it. And please don’t ever get to thinking that you could be happier or better off without me because I don’t honestly think that you could be. At least, that’s what I will tell myself …and you.
It will take years. Years, I tell ya.
But I will show you this letter someday, kid, some night a long ways off when you’re all grown up and probably exhausted from the three little monsters and you’re just sipping your glass of red wine down at your end of the couch as we watch some dumb reality show on the TV.
Maybe in 2013. Maybe 2014. Who knows.
And it’s just a hunch, but I think you’re going to cry when you read it, too.
Me and you, husband and wife, I think we’re both going to sit there and cry fat tears of salty affirmation because you’re gonna know that we were both right about all of this…even before we were freaking born.
PS …(Spoiler Alert)…. Here’s a few photos to help you remember everything that hasn’t happened yet.
Brooklyn 1 of 15
Once upon a time in Brooklyn, our field of dreams.
Empire State of Mind 2 of 15
Up on our favorite skyscraper, we scraped some sky.
Where the Streets Have No Name 3 of 15
Wandering city streets was something I always loved doing alone. Then along came you.
We Dreamed You Up 4 of 15
Remember how we dreamed up a kid? And then remember how she actually came true? Can you imagine if we hadn't done that together? I can't.
Violet 5 of 15
There are no words in any language to even begin to tell of how our little baby girl, Violet, changed our lives for the better.
Italia 6 of 15
We've always managed to laugh, even along the roughest trails. I think that counts for a lot.
Brave New World 7 of 15
We had no idea what we had created together until she showed up in our arms. Then we had no idea how we ever existed before her.
Colors/B&W 8 of 15
Our ride is often madness one second and joy the next. I think it's because we both have big hearts, concrete heads, and epic tolerances for both happiness and sorrow.
Traveling On 9 of 15
I like that we have often found ourselves barreling across the American prairies, heading towards some new life somewhere. Together.
Family 10 of 15
As parents, we jumped at the chance to love like we had never loved before. I think we were both made for that.
Henry 11 of 15
When Henry first arrived and I watched him begin to cry in your arms as the hospital lights filled his tiny eyes I knew that nothing would ever be the same again. And it hasn't been. It's been better.
Plans 12 of 15
You never stop making big plans, beautiful plans. And I never stop following them to something better than I had even imagined. Thanks for that.
Amore 13 of 15
People rarely stop to think about how lucky they are. Mostly, they think about what went wrong, where they missed opportunity. I never think that stuff when it comes to us. Ever.
Pioneers 14 of 15
You and me, we have blazed all kinds of trails in pursuit of love, in making love last. We're like a couple of pioneers standing out in the middle of our wide-open destiny, huh? I dig that.
Down the Road 15 of 15
Well, it sure looks like we've got a lot more work to do together. And I'm ready if you are.
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