I remember the exciting day when my parents finally gave in. After what felt like years of my brother and me dropping hints and showing them our pictures and wish list, my parents finally said we could get a pet. A few weeks later my seven-year-old feet ran into the kitchen to meet my forever-best-friend, a little white cat with an adorable gray face. My brother and I jumped up and down—“It’s finally happening! This is going to be the best part of my childhood,” I proclaimed with loud excitement. I can still remember debating with my brother about the name, and once we decided, I stood up in the air, and in a Lion King/Mufasa moment I outstretched my arms and yelled, “This cat shall be named Max!” I could hardly sleep that night knowing my new best friend was finally in my house.
Fast forward two weeks when a sad reality sat in. My brother and I had claw marks all up and down our arms, we had become very familiar with Max’s teeth, and the cat wouldn’t stop jumping on the kitchen counters and playing with our food. My non-cat-loving-dad wasn’t exactly thrilled about this. After a month, my parents gave up and said “Sorry kids. We can’t have Max anymore.” I didn’t tell them at the time, but I totally agreed with them. The cat had to go.
As I have navigated through the first few years of marriage, there have been times when that same disappointed feeling popped up in our relationship. I showed all my friends the dream man I hoped I would find, I counted down the days to our wedding, and then when he finally moved in with me, I had this moment of “Wait a second, what did I do?” Much like I anticipated Max to immediately be a fun, playful pet who was my very best friend, I looked to my husband, Caleb, as a giant upgrade to my adult life and knew everything would be better now that we were together (as the song told me). However, I quickly learned that wasn’t always the case.1