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  • Kristina Mulligan

A Love Letter

A love letter to you, my husband, the person who loved me before all of this.

We were pretty cool, you know, holding hands in the movie theater late on a Friday night. It was always a spontaneous adventure. What would we do for date night? Dinners, picnics, car rides to nowhere, wherever life took us together. We were in love, just us two.

I was a different person then. I was carefree and laidback. I was living for the moment. I was blissfully aware that I was unaware.

Our relationship wasn’t new by the time we became parents.

When Flynn was born in 2017, we had been together for nearly twelve years and married for almost four, and almost all of our “newlywed bliss” was shadowed with infertility tears and treatments. Our desire to be parents ran deep, as did our grief. No matter what, though, we always had each other. We’d been through the ringer, often saying that we’d been through it all, remember that? We were even funnier back then than we are now…

And then life took us to parenthood. Preemie parenthood. Special needs parenthood.

All at once, I was both lost and found.

I’m sure I became pretty unrecognizable, right?

For awhile there, I could tell that you didn’t know who I was anymore. I didn’t know who I was. And even though I’ve come out on the other side – is there really an “other side?” – as a different person than I was when we started our lives together, I still love you just the same.

The sparkle in my eyes may have been replaced by an exhausted glare and under-eye bags. My “after-hours” may be filled with research, note-taking, IEP chats, and therapy planning instead of late-nights on the couch watching the latest movie. I may recall the lyrics to children’s songs (I see you, Vampirina) quicker than worldly affairs and adult topics. Stress may appear to be more apparent than love most days, and I may not be as carefree, laidback, and blissfully unaware, but my heart is still the same. I may be wearing yoga pants and a messy top knot instead of makeup and my wedding dress, but I still love you just as much, or even more than I did when we walked down the aisle.

I may be different now than I was then, but I’m so grateful to be tackling this life with you as a team. I appreciate you and I love you, on Valentine’s Day and any other day of the year.

Love, Your tired, glued-to-the-computer, anxious, but loving, wife

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