J and I have been together now, a daily part of each other’s lives, for nearly 17 years. We’ve talked every day since the day we met. When we’d been together for four months, J moved in with me, and since then, except for the Women’s March in January of 2017, and a few business trips and motorcycle outings with J’s old friends, we’ve never been apart. And even when we were apart those times? We still talked every day and saw each other almost every day…even when J was in China with a huge time difference and online communication restriction.
We own a home together (this is our second home together…so we’ve sold a home together too…a home I bought alone). We have an amazing nearly-thirteen-year-old son together, and we lost a pregnancy before him together. We’re working on our second dog together. We’ve gone places and done things together I’ve always dreamed of (and I think J has too). We’ve helped each other through hard times and loss, even the ones we created for ourselves.
We’ve both worked hard to build a stable, happy family and life together for almost two decades now.
And the world has obviously changed a lot in those 17 years too. Technology. Forward progress and regression. Personal tragedies and global ones. Personal triumphs and global ones. And all the triumphs and tragedies in between personal and global ones. We’re living in these strange and chaotic times right now, and doing our best to roll with the incessant punches and help as many people as we safely can.
And we’ve grown a lot as people. I know I’m a better wife and a better mom and a better friend and a better person than I was when I met J in late 2003. And while he’s always been pretty bad ass, I think J is a better husband and a better father and a better friend and a better man than he was back then too. I look pretty much the same, but I’ve been through some different haircuts and I gained weight and then lost weight and then put some of it back on again to where I’m back to pretty much the same as when we met. J’s changed the style of glasses he wears a couple of times and grown and shaved beards and his hair’s gone gray (I personally think he’s just gotten more handsome, but I admit I’m dreadfully biased). We’re homeowners now. We’re parents. We’ve traveled. We’ve loved and lived and lost and grown.
But we’re still the same. I know this because (I know…weird) CSI (the original show in Las Vegas) became available to stream in the past month. The OLD ones. (Hard to believe that show started up 20 years ago…pre-9/11…but it did). And J and I used to watch it together when we were dating. Sometimes sitting on the same couch next to each other…and sometimes on dial up internet chat from individual dwellings separated by 50 miles or so. And we started watching them together again…an episode in the morning before J leaves for work and one as we’re hoping The Boy and Little G settle down and go to sleep so WE can settle down and go to sleep at night.
I still like watching that old show with J and talking about the plots and characters with him. I like talking about how much Vegas has changed and how much the world has changed (for better and for worse) since those shows were recorded. And I still feel the same way about J that I did on those early dates before we lived together watching those old show episodes featuring Nokia phones and floppy discs as evidence: excited and engaged and safe and in love.
It’s weird to feel loving nostalgia and schoolgirl butterflies for a dated crime solving show that regularly grossed me out when it originally aired, but there those feelings are. The same as they were 17 years ago. Still love that guy. Still amazed he loves me back. Maybe even more than 17 years ago. And this comforts me, because in all the worldly chaos and passing time and constant change we have to adapt to, WE are still the same.