Sometimes I wonder why Ryan married me. Sure, I'm hot and hilarious, but I'm a total control freak and oftentimes a social retard. I had known and been friends with Ryan for several months before our first date, but on this date, I sat quietly in the car next to him utterly silent. He asked me questions; I gave him one-word answers. What he didn't know was that though it was silent in the car, questions furiously swirled through my mind: What should I say to him? Will he think I'm stupid? Will he hate me? Why does he like me? Does he really like me? How can he like me? I spent so much time paralyzed by doubt that Ryan thought I had no interest in him. And why wouldn't he? I was silent and frozen and strange.
My creepiness would be enough to drive a person away. But not Ryan.
This is a good man, you are thinking. Indeed he is.
Next, I took Ryan home to my family. My brother was lying in a pool of his own saliva on the living room couch, in withdrawals from speed. He reeked of body odor and hadn't shaved in at least a week. That's a long time if you are Italian, trust me. I didn't really think much of it until Ryan asked me what was wrong with him. There were a lot more instances like this.
But Ryan didn't care.
Fast forward eleven years. We've been married seven years this June. We have two kids now. I'm a stronger more stable person than I was when I was seventeen, but I still have one main problem: I'm a control freak. A really bad one. When the towels are folded the "wrong" way, it eats me up inside. When one puzzle piece is missing from one of Ben's puzzles, that piece lingers in my mind for days, weeks, until finally I find it. There is so much of this in my head that I do not tell Ryan. But what does come out is extremely irritating, I'm sure of it.
Take today. Ryan took Ben to get his hair cut (something I could not accomplish successfully) and took him to get fitted for his tuxedo for Bridget's wedding (something I was terrified to do). Ben came back measured and groomed and happy. And I didn't lift a finger. Still, when Ryan wanted to take Elliott to the doctor to see what was wrong with his stomach, I hesitated. "Do you know all of the details?" I asked, panicked. "His diarrhea record? His history of formulas? How many ounces has he eaten today?" These are the things that run through my head, a non-stop ticker of details about every aspect of our lives. I have all of our social security numbers and medical record numbers memorized. I am insane.
"I want to take him," Ryan said. And I let him. Because I need to trust him. Because he can do as much as or more than I can in a much less stressful way.
He is at the doctor now, with Elliott. And I am home, wondering what the doctor is saying, wondering what Ryan is telling him, secretly wishing I could control the situation from afar. I can't control everything; this I need to accept. I don't know if that will happen, but I'm grateful to have a person that would put up with me for this long, such a wonderful, loving husband and father.