I was 25 years old, young, fresh, breath still smelling like Similac, when I first saw him. It was my first day as a political reporter at the New York Daily News. He was in the parking lot at City Hall—shoulders squared, handsome, with that wide, beautiful smile.
At first, we were colleagues.
Years later, more than that.
Loving him was easy. So was the “yes” that tumbled from my lips after he held up that diamond—sparkling, shiny, new.
Fifteen years ago today, Nick Chiles put a ring on it. We stood up in front of our mamas and daddies and siblings and families and friends in a beautiful, simple space in the Museum of African Art, then situated on the cobble stoned-streets of SoHo in Manhattan and, after my Auntie Sarah sang and my friend Beth read and my brother-in-law poured libations to the ancestors and the dancers danced and the Kora played, we said… I do.
And then we did.
And we still are.
Our marriage is not perfect. We are, after all, human and nothing can be more imperfect, more complicated, more complex than this. We’ve grown. And morphed. And dug in. Been happy. Loving. Pissed. Committed. Disappointed. Settled. Happy again.
In other words… normal.
We still have work to do, you know. Even after 15 years, even after two babies, even after two houses, even after six books together and successes with each other and apart, even when outsiders looking in see what they want to see and characterize the way they want to characterize, there is work to do. But that is the beauty of the journey.
The beauty of this life together.
Statistically, Nick and I are not really supposed to be. But we are. African American and married. Two-parent home. Raising children together. Paying bills together. Making decisions together. Moving forward… together. I say this not to brag or rub it in or to make others feel inadequate. I say this, simply, because it is our truth.
We made it, despite the stereotypes. Despite the statistics. Despite of our faults. Despite our humanness.
Fifteen years later, we are in this life together.
Happy anniversary, Nick. Thank you for loving me and our family and this home that we’ve built. Each day when the sun rises, I’m grateful that we have God’s favor—and that I’m in your arms.
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.