The pounding between my eyes usually begins right before the thunderous roar of a storm fills the air. I always sense the changes in pressure. This morning I wake up an hour before my alarm with a crashing wave of pain. Moments later the boom of thunder shakes the house.
My husband and children sleep soundly.
I tiptoe to the closet where we keep our pain relievers and take three. The little daggers spread to the sockets of my eyes. Please let me fall back asleep. Just one more hour, I think to myself.
I crawl back onto my side of the bed and pull the covers up to my chin. I turn to face my dark-haired, olive-skinned partner. I watch the rhythm of his breathing. He is peaceful.
The sound of rain now pounds the windows. The thunder has faded into the distance. I close my eyes and think of the storm that raged outside the windows of our honeymoon suite. The humid Caribbean air. The ceiling fan. The crisp cool sheets. The sense that our lives were finally beginning.
Nine years have passed and we are so busy now—constantly shuffling children from activity to activity. Our weekends are a series of obligations. Our pre-bedtime routine has devolved from pillow talk to side-by-side Tweeting, Facebooking and texting on our phones.
We are officially married with children, yet I still watch him sleep and steal glances from across the room. I am very much in love with the man who stole my heart so many years ago. The man who believed in me and wanted to be my partner and step-father to my son.
Marriage is not easy. Parenting, finances, and outside influences sometimes creates minefields of stress, pressure and expectations. Even the strongest of relationships can suffer if not properly tended to and nurtured.
I learned this lesson the hard way. My first marriage was like a roller coaster ride of failed expectations, immaturity, resentment and good intentions gone awry. To say we were young and ill prepared is an understatement. To say it was not right, was obvious to everyone outside of us. Sometimes when you step into a relationship, you are temporarily blinded. The problem is that you do eventually regain your sight and the clarity that comes from finally “seeing” does not always bring you comfort. It in fact can start you down a path of pain and unrest. It can make you do things you never imagine. It can test everything you believe and impact your ability to make rational decisions.
I know this now. Back then, it wasn’t so clear. But, I refuse to take back anything or rewrite history because every decision I ever made—good and bad—led me to a life I could only dream about. An ordinary life filled with extraordinary love.
The pounding slowly dissipates. The storm grows silent. The steady beat of rain drops transform into a whisper. My eyes open and he is looking at me. Watching me. He smiles and asks, “Why are you awake?”
The corners of my mouth turn upward and I say, “headache.”
He nods and says, “I love it when it rains. I could stay in bed all day.” On cue, our phone alarms begin to beep simultaneously. It’s time to start another day. It’s time to wake up and get moving. It’s time to step back into the varied weather patterns of our life.
If only I could predict all of them, the way I do the thunder.