The Luckiest at Number 7

13 Oct 2019

Good mornin’, good mornin’. It’s a beautiful day, there’s a whisper of fall chill in the air, and it has been a minute since I’ve humiliated my dear partner by writing extensively about him for the whole internet to see. Since today, October 13, 2019, happens to be our seventh anniversary, it seems the time for such a spectacle…is now.

Picture this, if you will: a wee, 19 year-old Kaitlyn Hill, sitting in the used Mazda 6 she shares with her sister. It’s Fall Break in her first year of college, and life feels a bit surreal. Because after spending the better part of two years obsessing over the same boy—crushing on him, getting his number, talking to him all day every day, dating him for two blissful and comically short months, getting dumped by him for reasons that remain unclear to both parties but can be chalked up to “17 years old,” trying to hate him, being unsuccessful but valiantly pretending, becoming maybe-friends with him again, falling out of touch once more, then becoming for real friends but clearly moving in a romantic direction—they have just decided to give the boyfriend-girlfriend thing another try. She has just dropped his cute li’l baby face off for the night and throws the Maz in reverse to head back to her empty dorm, on a he-likes-me-he-really-likes-me high, when a song from her favorite artist, Taylor Swift, comes on the radio. It’s her newest single, coincidentally entitled, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”

And Young Kaitlyn thinks to herself…ah, shit.

Seven years later, I’m quite pleased to report that bad omens from Top 40 stations have meant nothing to the success of my relationship with the love of my life. Nick Jonas and I—jk jk jk, it’s Stephen. The same loveable weirdo who told everyone and their mother that he had a crush on me after speaking all of two words (our names) to each other in November 2010 is today one half of the whole Best Romantic Partnership I Could Ever Dream Up. And people, I read a lot of romance novels.

I should throw it out there now that I know I’m a good girlfriend, think I’m a fairly decent person, to some extent you get what you give, etc. But I still feel like the luckiest human in the world every day that I get to spend with Stephen.

Everyone who meets him can see that he is so many good things—smart, funny, kind, thoughtful. Disliking him, as 17 year-old Kaitlyn could’ve told you, is very, very difficult to do. But on top of that, living life attached to him as closely as I am means coming to know the zillions of little things that add up to make me so incredibly, stupidly in love with the guy, literally more every day.

Allow me to list a few examples (“we don’t have a choice! It’s your blog!” they cry).

Sometimes when we’re holding hands while walking, he does this little skip-step to match my stride so that our shoulders don’t keep bumping and jostling each other. It took me way too long to notice this happening. He once taught himself to cross-stitch just to make me a thing that said “Snug Life” for my birthday and I don’t think he has cross-stitched anything since then, but he does have a cute pink fox-shaped sewing kit that he uses to patch holes in his pants. He has a folder called “Kaitlyn” in the computer system he uses to organize everything in his life; granted, I don’t know what’s in the folder, and it could be a manifesto of all the ways I’ve done him wrong, but I’m pretty sure it’s where he keeps things I tell him that he wants to remember. Like my Christmas list.

All that he asks for each year for Christmas are original poems from each family member about a subject of his choosing (past subjects include mac and cheese, Legos, your third favorite door). He hangs out with my teenage brothers and cousins, whether I’m there or not, and teaches them to use a potato cannon and talks to them about their love lives. He donates to charities including Planned Parenthood, making him that rare breed of hot woke white boy feminist who puts his literal money where his mouth is supporting women’s reproductive rights, can I get an amen. He tells people about my writing with the kind of frequency and pride that makes him like the Kris Jenner to my Kim K, even when I’m like “omg mom stop you’re embarrassing me, also for the record I’m not married to Kanye in this analogy.” He goes on Saturday morning runs and brings me back a cinnamon roll and/or biscuit from a bakery near our house, usually returning before I’ve even made it out of bed.

One of his favorite pet names for me is “floob,” which evolved like so: honey boo boo -> honey floo boo -> floo boo -> floo bear -> flooby/floob. Such a creative mind! He isn’t on any social media sites any more, but he does like to scroll through Venmo sometimes and ‘like’ transactions he thinks are funny or interesting, though his own transactions are set to private so no one can see when he pays me for things like “taking $5 out of your wallet.” He found his dresser at a flea market in Seattle, and it’s hand-built so the drawers look like Legos. He has become at least as enthusiastic of a Bachelor franchise fan as I am, including listening to Bachelor-themed podcasts. He always dumps out the kitchen sink drain-cover-thingie that collects food gunk because I’m grossed out by it. When I started getting into romance novels, he asked for a recommendation and then read it so we could discuss and he could understand my new obsession. He is the most fun person to discover songs with—most recently, a remix of “bad guy” by Billie Eilish featuring Justin Bieber, an absolute banger that we both prefer to the original.

He absolutely loves this kind of public praise or any praise in general and it does not make him uncomfortable at all and he is definitely not going to be bright red and embarrassed whenever he reads this.

My Steph is special for these reasons and, of course, so many more. Finding your person when you’re basically still a kid is wild. We have each grown up a lot in the time we’ve known each other and been together. They’ve absolutely been the most formative/transformative years of my young life and I think he would say the same. But instead of growing apart as we’ve matured—and instead, too, of holding each other back from growing how we needed to—we’ve stayed committed to and supportive of each other while finding who each of us is individually. We’ve endured the lowest of lows side by side and celebrated each other’s successes like they’re our own. Because his enrollment in a PhD program is basically my enrollment in a PhD program, even though he does all the homework and research and classes. I proofread his personal statement for typos after all, and you can’t pay for that kind of support. Wait, you can? Oh. Retroactively charging him on Venmo ASAP.

No matter what’s going on around us, we’ve stayed solid. We enjoy being the non-married old married couple of our friends and do harbor some lowkey smugness about our lack of relationship drama (that year apart in high school contained enough for a lifetime, thx). And still, it feels like the best is yet to come. We love dreaming about the years ahead and looking forward to whatever yet-unknown adventures await because most of all, we really, really love being together. So any future that includes more of that can’t be so bad, right?

*some other foreboding Taylor Swift song starts playing*

But truly, Happy Our 7th Anniversary to all! ;) I get excited every year about an excuse to celebrate my love for my favorite person and the source of so much joy and comfort in my life. This is the reason that love stories never get old or tired to me, why I stan romance and want everyone to get their happily ever after. I feel so thankful, today and every other day, that I have mine.

Oh, plus he’s so DREAMY.

(he is almost as expressive in impromptu wedding photoshoots as I am on my blog)
(he is almost as expressive in impromptu wedding photoshoots as I am on my blog)
(exhibit B)
(exhibit B)

Thanks for reading this extremely sappy love-fest! It’ll probably be at least another couple of years before I put you through it again. Unless your name is Stephen [last name redacted for some semblance of privacy haha too little too late]. In your case, you’re stuck with my cheesy, lovey-dovey arse every day. You lucky, lucky dog.

Love my other readers maybe marginally as much as I love Stephen but, well, you see why…