There are a lot of evenings in my life now when I sit quietly on the couch–while Ruby is sleeping and Charlie is reading with a flashlight under his sheets, and Jess is getting ready for bed–and I feel happy. It’s a gentle happiness — not the ecstatic joy one feels upon hearing especially good news, or the excitement one feels while visiting new and beautiful places — just a slow steady contentment that adds to itself a little bit more each day and, once it gets inside of you, it feels like it’s going to stick around for a while.
What a life. I doubt there is any value in comparing it to the lives of others, but it’s the one I have been given to live and, these days, I’m overwhelmingly grateful for it. And so I sit on the couch with my feet up and the cat dozing on the armrest (her nose pressed into the cushion and her paws curled in that way only sleeping cats can curl their paws), and I embrace the happiness, the peace, and the contentment. What a different world I live in now. What a different person I am.
Two years ago, Jess moved in with the kids and I and, since then, we have become a family. We all belong together. We all welcome one another home. We all rely on each other. We all love and play and excite and exhaust each other. At the quantum level, we have become inextricably entangled. We transform each other. We become more wonderful together and, as a whole, we are exponentially more than the sum of our parts.
A loving family. A safe home for children to grow in. A safe home for adults to partner in. Do we realize how amazing these things are? Because I can’t stop saying thank you. Thank you to Jess. Thank you to Charlie and Ruby. Thank you to the everything of which this is a part. Thank you.
Five years ago, Jess and I found each other and for me it was like the sun rising and for her it was like the moon coming out from behind the clouds. I have changed irrevocably. And the everything has changed, too. The world is not the same.
When we first started spending time together, I dreamed that the trees were looking in our window while we slept and they were saying, “Look, this is the big love we heard about! The kind our grandparents say they once saw. Here it is again!” And they whispered to one another — branch to branch, root to root, they whispered and giggled and shushed themselves, and rejoiced.
And sometimes I wonder if Jess and I are so well suited for each other because we are dust from the same star, iron and phosphorus and calcium that have cycled endlessly through the air and water and soil and countless other life forms — until taking shape in our bodies and being united again when we found each other. Or maybe we have always cycled through life together and she was the glacier and I was the mountain. She was the little bird and I was the old oak tree. And before that, perhaps she was the prokaryote and I was the mitochondria. She was the algae and I was the fungus. Because when prokaryotes and mitochondria come together, they make entirely new life forms (eukaryotes!), and when algae and fungus come together, they do the same (lichens!), and when Jess and I and Charlie and Ruby come together we, too, make an entirely new life form (family!). And while I’m constantly amazed by the diversity and abundance of life, this life form is my favourite one.
And, Jess, it is now five years since we came together, gasping and wounded and lonely and sad, and would you look at us now? You are a miracle to me and I am a miracle to you and together we are a miracle for Charlie and Ruby. I am the father I am now, in large part, because of you. I am the man I am now, in large part, because of you. And not only am I grateful to you for loving Charlie and Ruby and I, but I am grateful to you because, more than anything and everyone else, you have helped transform me into a safe and loving father who will always be there for his children. According to some quantum physicists, this transformation in me has a ripple effect both forward and backward in time. According to some much older ways of knowing, it could be said that you have helped me to heal the spirits of my ancestors and teach them another way of being. How ’bout that, eh?
And, Jess, how can I really put this love into words when this love is everything and everywhere and all of us? I love you, I thank you, I honour you, I lift my hands to you. I used to take the long way home. Now I don’t. Because I can hardly wait until I am with you again.