[Editor's note: This story is a letter from a woman to her husband. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]
I could easily say I love you, which is true, but somehow that doesn't feel like enough. I could tell you you're my best friend, which you are, but that doesn't quite capture what I'm feeling after five years of marriage—after 12 years on each others' team.
It is not often that I am at a loss for words, so I've been trying to think about why I'm so stumped here.
Instead of telling you about all of the things I could say, let me tell you about all of the things that go unsaid. Let me tell you about the silence—because perhaps the most powerful moments of our marriage so far have been in those quiet moments.
Silence—when our friends and family bowed their heads to pray for us before we said, "I do." There were hundreds of people on the beach that day, but somehow it all faded away at that moment.
Silence—when we sat on a beach in Maui on the last night of our honeymoon. I had just drawn my new last name in the sand. We sat in chairs we had carried from our rental and watched the sun set and the waves roll slowly over my sandy cursive.
Silence—when we tried for eight months to have our first baby. Each month I prayed for that little line on the stick and felt my heart drop when it wasn't there. I didn't know how to find the words to tell you that it hadn't happened yet.
Silence—when you squeezed my hand during my emergency C-section and while we waited to hear our first baby girl cry. The delivery hadn't gone as planned, but maybe that was our first lesson into parenthood.
Silence—when you began quietly heading to work at 11 pm. Your transition to the overnight shift has been difficult in many ways, but you've done what you've needed to do to provide for your family.
Silence—when Netflix stopped playing. The screen read, "Are you still watching, Sophia the First'? Yes, Netflix. Yes, we are.
Silence—when after almost 15 months, our first baby started sleeping through the night. Yes. 15. months.
Silence—when we waited for the ultrasound tech to tell us the gender of our second baby. You were right—another girl!
Silence—when we waited 28 ½ hours for our second baby girl to come out of the special care unit. In the wee hours of the morning, we snuck into hold her and watched the monitors as her oxygen rate increased while she was in our arms.
Silence—when you stayed up all night with our sick toddler so I could take care of our infant.
Silence—when our 2-year-old and 8-month-old finally fell asleep after hours of screaming in the car. Yes, we were the ones who took our two young babes on a road trip to follow the Red Sox to Baltimore and Philadelphia.
Silence —when I battled with some pretty serious anxiety this year. You quietly learned my triggers and adjusted to help avoid them.
Silence—when you lost someone who was like a father to you. I rubbed your knee as we sat side by side in the pew before you delivered the eulogy.
Silence—when we've argued over little things—like getting house projects done or making sure that "cheese" makes it on the grocery list when one of us finishes it.
Silence—when we've argued over big things—like how to balance our hectic lives or how to best raise our children.
Silence—when we've argued over something big or small and you turn over to reach for my hand in bed anyway.
To me, that's what matters.
I know I have a lot to say. I know it might seem like I've always got something we need to talk about. I know our lives are moving at 100 miles per hour—the work grind, the girls, the coaching, the classes—it's a constant buzz.
I know that sometimes the silence isn't even our choice. Sometimes it's a quick kiss as I come in the door and you head out. Sometimes it's after both girls fall asleep and we're too tired for anything else.
Sometimes the silence is hard—loaded and heavy. Sometimes it's freeing and light. And sometimes it's even lonely. But please know the power I've felt in these quiet moments.
What's most important is that I can sit with you in complete silence and be content. Because there are a million little understandings between us. Because sometimes, nothing can be said. Because sometimes, nothing needs to be said.