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Stories

Stories, observations, and reflections from a life of raising boys

The Other Half

Jenifer DeMattia

 

We first met because my friend decided to give her brother my phone number. I had never officially met him, but had been at her house and commented on his picture. The first time I saw him in person he came to my house and picked me up for dinner. His hair was so spiked up with gel I nearly lost an eye. I later found out that his first impression of me was something like I wore too much black and I would look better as a blonde. I believe he thought I was a sweet girl but that it probably wouldn’t get that serious. My first impression was that he seemed cocky and definitely not marriage material. We’ve been married for 8 years as of next month. 

It definitely started out with a bang. I graduated from college and was married a week later. The family drama leading up to the wedding was difficult to manage and caused a lot of stress. So now my husband and I just pretended we married alone on a beautiful tropical island. The beginning was kind of a mess. We each had issues we didn’t know we had until we began sharing our lives together. You definitely can’t hide from yourself when you have a husband, or anyone in your life that knows you more than anyone. It truly is like holding a mirror up to your soul. Resentment grew. Being angry and bitter is an exhausting road. Enough was enough. Options were discussed. Life is a series of choices, and it’s not like we had kids or anything, we could just go our separate ways. But we slowly chose to deal with the issues instead. Our first son was born on March 11, 2010.

Having a baby didn’t save us. Having our son illuminated us. There is something magical about what we did. The feelings I had as I watched him hold our son can be described in one word. Happiness. And even with it all, a beautiful boy, a nice home, great friends, good jobs, we found ourselves drifting apart yet again. They say being married is like having a second job. Well it’s definitely a difficult one, and lets face it, not everyone likes to go to work every day. For me, the hardest part is staying true to yourself while trying to compromise at the same time. I have never been a fan of calling my husband my “other half”. To me it implies that I would not be whole without him, and for some reason it’s important to me to know that without him I would be okay, still myself. Maybe it’s a nice way of saying selfishness or stubbornness but I’m not sure. What we had to do and still continue to work on is just that, allowing each other to be who we are. It sounds crazy, but essentially some of the very same things about our personalities that brought us together at times become the things that drive us apart.

The one thing I know to be true is that I have the worst memory. The worst. But I remember like it was yesterday the smell of his leather jacket/cologne combo when he hugged me goodbye the night of our first date. Trust me, I know how cheesy it sounds but it’s true. I remember my birthday trip to Ocean City when we got drunk and laughed all night just the two of us. I remember jumping out of an airplane with him and being high from the experience for the rest of that week. I remember being young and stupid with him, and holding his hand tightly as we met our sons for the first time. I would never feel like any of my accomplishments were worth anything if they were easy. 

The other day my husband called me in his office because he came across video from our wedding. We didn’t hire a videographer but family and friends helped capture moments throughout the day. We seemed so much younger and as I watched I couldn’t help but notice how many people were there that we didn’t know any more. And as I continued watching, something came over me. Right about the time two of my bridesmaids were fighting over the DJ's microphone to sing the lyrics from “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, I saw it. There were two people in our video that I knew much better than before that day. Two people who have been through a lot together and come out better on the other side. And who have found the real meaning behind the saying “the other half”. Our other halves are the boys. Half of each of us walking about the earth, inspiring us to be thankful everyday for what we have built together.