From the beginning I knew Eric was too good for me. He is the ‘tall, dark and handsome,’ come true. We met on a blind date 5 years ago come February. I had just moved back home after a short hiatus in Idaho. Note* Geographic changes do not equal change within.
I was always in the process of ‘quitting.’ Every morning I’d wake up hungover, and swear that today was the day… I was done. I quit. And somedays I would go without a drink. But my usual reward for such behavior was a drink. Or two. Or five. If you’ve ever drank like this I don’t need to go into details, you know the drill. This obviously made for a very tiring relationship. Poor Eric, he never knew who he was going to see that day, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. For those of you who can drink like ladies and gentlemen I tip my hat to you… that’s just not nor will that ever be me. I abstain completely. Have to or I die. Period. It took nearly losing everything that had ever meant anything to realize all this. The last summer we spent apart was hard and long, but fall came, and with it; clarity- I didn’t want to live one more day like a hamster in a wheel. I wasn’t getting anywhere, and I certainly wasn’t happy. I loved Eric, so why was I making it so damn difficult for him to love me back? The answer is long and complicated but this is what we did: We sought counseling, joined a church, and gave ourselves to the mission of saving our marriage. I quit my job at the department store to pursue a life with my husband. My job became taking care of him and our house. I got honest with my self and decided to get some help with my drinking. We read an amazing book, “The Love Dare” and discovered we had it all wrong. This is where the story gets good- Today we have our happily ever after.
Now I believe in miracles. I’m married to one. I am the mother of one. I am one. Eric is my miracle because, his love for me was stronger than my disease of alcoholism. He loved me when I didn’t love myself. (Ok, if you’re doing what I think your doing, rolling your eyes at my cliches’ this is for you.) The funniest most ironic thing about cliches’ is they are usually just old truths. The reason they’re cliches’ is because they’ve been around forever and they apply to most everyone. How have those two qualities turned into something negative? Beats the heck out of me. I like cliches’. They are simple and easy to remember. I need that.
Otto is a miracle because, after Eric’s chemotherapy and surgery the doctors told us that we may never be able to have children. Chemo kills cancer cells but it also kills everything else. I remember crying when the news first broke in that cramped beige room. We had been pregnant 4 mos. earlier and lost that baby. Now I was hearing more loss was to come… the loss of a dream. When we decided we’d try anyways we turned our eyes up to the sky and plead. I bargained with God every morning on the way to work. “If you do this for me, I promise to….” Almost two years to the day of Eric’s cancer diagnosis we learned our dream wasn’t dead. It was alive, fingernails and all.
I am a miracle because, I used to be a falling down drunk and today I’m a sober woman. I have this incredible husband who bakes me cookies when I’m sad, hides love notes in my make-up box, and keeps me grounded in my Higher Power. I have become acutely familiar with acceptance, just as I have come to know peace. I am always ‘working’ on my spiritual health and emotional well being. I am never going to ‘get it’ all here. But I can try. It is in that willingness to try that I can look in the mirror each morning and not have to lower my eyes. I can stare if I want to. I am starting to like what I see. I deserve to be married to Eric. Its not that he’stoo good for me… he’s just right.
The vows said, “For better or worse, in sickness or in health, till death do us part.” Those are no longer just words, we’ve lived them..
The only thing left to say is, Thank You God for picking Eric Lee Smith. If it had been up to me, I’m sure I would’ve short changed myself.
Happy Anniversary Eric Lee. I’ll always be your girl.