All Your Perfects - Page 20

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I promise to love you more when you're crying than when you're laughing.

I promise to love you more when you're sick than when you're healthy.

I promise to love you more when you hate me than when you love me.

And I promise . . . I swear . . . that I love you more as you read this letter than I did when I wrote it.

I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you. I can't wait to shine light on all your perfects.

I love you.

So much.


* * *

Dear Quinn,

I'm going to start this letter off with a little apology. I'm sorry I opened the box again. I'm sorry I needed to write another letter. But I feel like you'll appreciate it more than you'll be upset about it.

Okay, now for math. I know you hate math, but I love it and I need to math for you. It's been exactly one year to the day since we decided to start a family. Which means there have been approximately 365 days between that day and this one.

Of those 365 days, we have had sex an average of about 200 days. Roughly four nights a week. Of those 200 days, you were ovulating only 25% of the time. About fifty days. But the chances of a woman getting pregnant while they ovulate is only twenty percent. That's ten days out of fifty. Therefore, by my calculations, out of the total 365 days that have passed between the day we first started trying and today, only ten of those days counted. Ten is nothing.

It's almost like we just started trying.

I'm only writing this down because I can tell you're starting to get worried. And I know by the time you read this letter on our 25th anniversary, we'll probably be just a few years away from being grandparents and none of this math will even be relevant. But just as I want you to remember the perfect days, I feel like I should probably talk a little about our not so perfect days, too.

You're asleep on the couch right now. Your feet are in my lap and every now and then, your whole body jerks, like you're jumping in your dream. I keep trying to write you this letter, but your feet keep knocking my arm, making the pen slide off the page. If my handwriting is shit, it's your fault.

You never fall asleep on the couch, but it's been a long night. Your mother had another one of her fancy charity events. This one was actually kind of fun. It was casino themed and they had all kinds of tables set up where you could gamble. Of course, it was for charity, so you can't really win, but it was better than a lot of the stuffier events where we have to sit at tables with people we don't like, and listen to speeches from people who do nothing but brag on themselves.

The night was fine, but I noticed pretty early on that you were getting drained from the questions. It's just harmless, casual conversation, but sometimes that casual conversation can be really tiresome. Hurtful, even. I listened, over and over, as people would ask you when we were going to have a baby. Sometimes people just naturally assume pregnancy follows a marriage. But people don't think about the questions they ask others and they don't realize how many times someone has already been forced to answer their question.

The first few times you were asked, you just smiled and said we just started trying.

But by the fifth or sixth time, your smile was becoming more forced. I started answering for you, but even then, I could see in your eyes that the questions were painful. I just wanted to get you out of there.

Tonight was the first time I could see your sadness. You're always so hopeful and positive about it, even when you're worried. But tonight you seemed like you were over it. Like maybe tonight is going to be the last event we'll ever attend until we actually do have a baby in our arms.

But I get it. I'm tired of the questions, too. It's breaking me seeing you so sad. I feel so . . . ineffectual. I hate it. I hate not being in control of this. I hate not being able to fix this for you.

But even though we've been trying for over a year, I have hope. It'll happen someday. It'll just have to happen a different way than we thought it would.

Hell, I don't even know why I'm writing about this, because you'll be a mother when you read this letter. Five times over, maybe.

I guess I'm just processing all of it. And we have so much to be grateful for. You love your job. I tolerate mine. After work we get to spend our evenings together. We make love all the time and we laugh a lot. Life is perfect, really. Of course there's the one element of you getting pregnant that we hope makes life even better, but that will come with time. And honestly, the longer it takes, we might even appreciate it a little more. Gratitude is born in the struggle. And we have definitely struggled.

Our niece Adeline is beautiful and happy and she likes you way more than she likes me. Caroline agreed to let her sleep over last year and it hasn't stopped. And you look so forward to when we get to keep her. I think it has made me fall a little more in love with you. I know how much it hurts that we haven't had a baby of our own yet, but seeing how genuinely happy you are for my sister and her family reaffirms just how selfless you are. You don't equate our struggles with their success and it makes me love that strength about you.

You're still asleep on the couch, but you're snoring now and I need to stop writing this letter so I can go find my phone and record it. You argue with me and tell me you don't snore, so I'm about to get the proof.

I love you, Quinn. And even though the tone of this letter was kind of depressing, the strength of my love for you is at its greatest. This isn't a Category 5 moment. Maybe more of a Category 2. But I promise you I am loving you harder this year than any year that came before it.

I love you.

So much.


* * *

Dear Quinn,

I would apologize for opening the box yet again, but I have a feeling it's going to happen again. Sometimes you don't want to talk about the things that make you sad, but I feel like someday you'll want to know my thoughts. Especially this year. It's been our toughest yet.

We've been married for more than five years now. I don't want to dwell on it too much because I feel like it's all our life has become, but in the last few years, nothing has been successful as far as our fertility issues are concerned. We went through three rounds of IVF before calling it quits. We would have gone a fourth round, despite the doctor advising against it, but we just couldn't afford it.

There are a lot of things I want to document during this marriage, Quinn, but the devastation following each of those failed attempts is not one of them. I'm sure you remember how hard it was for both of us, so there's no point in detailing it.

You know how I always ask you about your dreams? I think I'm going to stop doing that for a while.

Last Sunday when you woke up, I asked you what I missed while you were sleeping. You stared at me with this blank look in your eyes. You were silent for a little while and I thought you were trying to figure out how to relay your dream, but then your chin started to quiver. When you couldn't stop it, you pressed your face into your pillow and you started to cry.

God, Quinn. I felt so guilty. I just put my arm around you and held you until you stopped crying. I didn't push you to talk about what your dream was because I didn't want you to have to think about it again. I don't know if you dreamt that you were pregnant or that we had a baby but whatever it was, it was something that devastated you when you woke up and realized it was merely a dream.

It's been six days since that happened, and I haven't asked you about your dreams since that morning. I just don't want to put you through that again. Hopefully one day we'll get back to that, but I promise I won't ask you again until you finally are a mother.

It's tough. I know when we got married we didn't expect to face these kinds of hurdles together. And honestly, Quinn, I try to carry you over them but you're so damn independent. You try not to cry in front of me. You force your smiles and your laughter and you pretend to still be hopeful, but it's changing you. It's making you sad and filling you with guilt.

I know you sometimes feel b

ad because you think you're taking away my opportunity to be a father. But I don't care about that. If you tell me today that you want to stop trying for a baby, I'll be relieved, because that would mean you might stop being sad. I'm only going through this fertility process with you because I know you want to be a mother more than anything. I would walk through fire to see you happy. I'd give up everything I have to see a genuine smile on your face. If we had to forego sex forever, I would. Hell, I'd even give up cheese to see you finally get your dream of becoming a mother. And you know how much I love cheese.

I would never tell you this because I know part of you would take it the wrong way, but I think my favorite moments in the past year are all the moments when we aren't home. When we go out with our friends or visit our parents. I've noticed when we're home, you've become a little more withdrawn when I touch you or kiss you. It used to be that we couldn't keep our hands off each other, but something changed earlier this year. And I know it's only because sex has become so clinical between us, that it's starting to feel routine to you. Maybe even a little painful, because it never leads to what you hope it leads to. Sometimes when we're alone and I kiss you, you don't kiss me back like you used to. You don't turn away, but you barely reciprocate.

You tend to enjoy me more when you know a kiss has to stop at a kiss. In public, you reciprocate and you lean on me and I know it's a subtle difference, but there's a difference. I think our friends think we're the most affectionate couple they know because we always have our hands all over each other. They probably imagine our private life is even more affectionate.

But it's actually our private life that has stalled. And I am not complaining, Quinn. I didn't marry you just for the good years. I didn't marry you just for the amazing chemistry we have. And I'd be foolish to think our marriage could last an eternity without a few tough moments. So, while this year has been our toughest yet, I know one thing with complete certainty. I love you more this year than any year that came before it.

I know I sometimes get frustrated. Sometimes I miss when we made love on a whim, rather than on a schedule. But I ask that even in the times I get frustrated, please remember that I'm only human. And as much as I promise to be your pillar of strength for as long as you need one, I'm sure I will sometimes fail you. My whole purpose in life is to make you happy, and sometimes I feel like I'm unable to do that anymore. Sometimes I give up on myself.

But I just pray that you don't give up on me, too.

I love you, Quinn. I hope this is the last depressing letter I ever write to you. My hope is that next year, my letter will be full of good news.

Until then, I will continue to love you more and more with every struggle we face than I loved you when all was perfect.


P.S. I don't know why I only vent about the stressful stuff. So much good has happened in the last couple of years. We bought a house with a big backyard and we spent the first two days christening every room. You got a promotion a few months ago. Now you only have to go into the office one or two days a week. You do most of the writing for the advertising firm from home, which you love. And we've talked about the possibility of me opening my own accounting firm. I'm working on a business plan for that. And Caroline gave us another niece.

All good things, Quinn.

So many good things.

* * *

Dear Quinn,

We've been trying.

Trying to have a baby. Trying to adopt a baby. Trying to pretend we're okay. Trying to hide from each other when we cry.

It's all our marriage has become. A whole lot of trying and not much succeeding.

I truly believed we could make it through all the Category 5s we faced, but I think this year has been a Category 6. As much as I hope I'm wrong and as much as I don't want to admit it, I have a feeling we'll be opening this box soon. Which is why I'm on a flight to your sister's house right now as I write this letter. I'm still fighting for something I don't even know that you still want me to fight for.

I know I failed you, Quinn. Maybe it was self-sabotage or maybe I'm not the man I thought I could be for you. Either way, I am so disappointed in myself. I love you so much more than my actions have shown and I could spend this whole letter telling you how sorry I am. I could write an entire novel that's nothing more than an apology and it still wouldn't detail my regret.

I don't know why I did what I did. I can't even explain it, even when I tried to tell you about it that night in the car. It's hard to put into words because I'm still trying to process it. I didn't do it because of some intense attraction I couldn't fight. I didn't do it because I missed having sex with you. And even though I tried to convince myself that I was doing it because she reminded me of you, I know how stupid that sounds. I never should have said that to you. You're right, in a way it sounded like I was blaming you, and that was never my intention. You had nothing to do with what I did.

I don't want to talk about it, but I need to. You can skip this part of the letter if you don't want to read it, but I need to work through it and for some reason, writing about things in these letters always seems to help sort through my thoughts. I know I should be better at communicating them, but I know you don't always want to hear them.

I think the way I've been feeling started during a moment I had at my sister's house. I guess you could say it was an epiphany, but that sounds like such a positive word for what I was feeling. It was the day we were supposed to meet our new nephew, but you said you got stuck in traffic.

I know that was a lie, Quinn.

I know, because when I was leaving Caroline's house, I saw the gift we bought her in the living room. Which means you had been there at some point during my visit, but for whatever reason, you didn't want me to know.

I thought about it during my whole drive home after leaving her house. And the only thing I can think of that would make you not want to admit you were there is if you saw me standing in Caroline's living room, holding Caleb. And if you saw that, you might have heard what Caroline said to me, and what I said to her in return. About how I was devastated I still hadn't become a father yet. As much as I wish I could take that away, I can't. But I do need you to know why I said it.

I couldn't stop staring at him as I held him because he kind of looks like me. I had never held the girls when they were that young, so Caleb was the tiniest human I had ever held. And it made me wonder, had you been there, what would that have made you feel? Would you have been proud, seeing me with my nephew? Or would you have been disappointed that you would never see me holding a newborn of our own like that?

I think Caroline saw the look on my face while I was holding him and thought I was looking at him with such intensity because I wanted one of my own. But I was actually looking at him and wondering if you would continue to love me if I never became the one thing you wished I could be.

I know Caroline was merely complimenting me when she said I'd make a good father. But the reason I said I was devastated it still hadn't happened yet is because I was devastated for you. For our future. Because it wasn't until that moment that I realized I might never be enough for you.

Not long after that, I was walking out of my sister's house and saw the gift and knew you had been there. I didn't want to go home. I didn't want to confront you because I was afraid you might confirm my fears, so I drove around aimlessly. Later that night when I got home, you asked if I got to hold Caleb. I lied to you because I wanted to see your reaction to my lie. I was hoping maybe I was wrong and you weren't actually at my sister's house. Maybe the gift was from someone else and it was just similar to the one we had bought. But as soon as I saw your reaction, I knew you had been there.

And because you were hiding it, I knew you must have overheard our conversation. Which meant you also saw me holding Caleb. I was worried that the image of me holding a newborn like I was a father would be stuck in your head and it would make you sad every time you looked at me and I wasn't a father. You would realize that

the only way to get those images out of your head is if I were out of your life for good.

I've worried about a lot of things since we got married, but I don't think I've ever worried about us until after that moment. I've been fighting for so long to be the strength you need, but that was the first time it occurred to me that I may not be what brings you strength anymore. What if I'm part of what brings you pain?

I wanted you to call me out for lying to you. I wanted you to scream at me for telling Caroline I was devastated I wasn't a father yet. I wanted something from you, Quinn. Anything. But you keep all your thoughts and feelings bottled up so tight; it's becoming impossible to read you anymore.

But you aren't the only one who is impossible to read anymore. I should have been honest with you about it that night. The moment I knew you had been to Caroline's, I should have said so. But somewhere between our wedding day and today, I lost my courage. I became too scared to hear what you truly feel inside that head and heart of yours, so I've done my share of keeping it just below the surface. If I didn't press you to talk about it, I would never have to confront the possibility that our marriage was in trouble. Confrontation leads to action. Avoidance leads to inaction.

I have been an inactive husband for the past few years and I am so sorry for that.

The night I lied to you about holding Caleb, I remember you walking to your office. It was the first moment I ever had the thought that we might need a divorce.

I didn't have that thought because I wasn't happy with you. I had that thought because I felt I was no longer making you happy. I felt like my presence was bringing you down, causing you to sink further and further into yourself.

I walked to the living room and sat down on the couch, wondering if new possibilities would open up for you if I left you. Maybe if you weren't tied to me, somewhere down the line you could meet a man who already had children. You could fall in love with him and be a stepmother to his children and have some semblance of happiness brought back into your life.

I broke down, Quinn. Right there in our living room. It's the moment I realized that I was no longer bringing you happiness. I had become one of the many things adding to your pain.

Tags: Colleen Hoover Romance