Today was a wonderful reminder for me of the amazing relationship I share with my husband. Like most couples, our lives together haven’t always been easy. There is no doubt that our relationship, and our lives, have been filled with ups and downs.
But, when I look back, I’m reminded of the great times we’ve shared. The unmatched friendship we’ve developed over the years. The lasting marriage we’ve worked hard to achieve. The unconditional love we’ve found along the way.
It was nice to reflect on the life we’ve built since I met this man eleven years ago. It was nice to think about the early moments where our love was just starting out. Sometimes life gets so complicated and so fast paced that you forget to stop and remember those moments. I know I did.
I tucked those moments somewhere way back in my mind. Moments that seem so long ago but were such important parts of who we are as a couple today. Sharing, building, growing, learning. We were lucky to capture many of those moments in pictures. Simple reminders of the years we’ve shared together.
Of course, life changes as we get older. Our situations change. Our families grow. And, ultimately, we change. But, it’s nice to reflect on the life we once had, the people we once were, the moments we once shared when our love first started.
Eight years ago today I got married. I could never imagine that decision would lead me to become the Mom of my beautiful son. But, it’s one of the things I’m most grateful for in my life.
Yet it is that change that sometimes causes us to lose sight of who we were before we became a family. Who were we before we were Mom and Dad? Before new responsibilities set in. Before life got more complicated. Before our lives became what they are now.
I think everyone experiences a change in their relationships as they go through the years, but our relationship has had an added complication. The stress of that has made it even more difficult to come together at times. But, we always did. We always have. And, for that, I’m proud.
Just like we promised to love each other no matter what when we said our vows eight years ago, we also made a promise to never allow the stress of our lives as parents of a medically complex child to tear us apart. Understandably, the stress of this lifestyle can do a number on people. The stress can, in turn, reek havoc on even the best relationships.
Three years ago, as we embarked on this new journey in our relationship, we vowed to work to make this challenge bring us closer rather than tear us apart. To this day we’ve kept that promise. A promise that is more important to us than the promise we made on our wedding day. We made that promise knowing that our lives will always carry an extra element of stress in watching our son fight a disease that seems to have given him a life sentence.
Through the sleepless nights, the stressful worry, the terrifying uncertainty. Through the inability to understand each other’s reasoning, the frustration we’ve felt towards each other, the differences of opinions with parenting styles and treatment options and next steps. Through the overwhelming responsibility to advocate for better care when we both know something just isn’t right…
Through all the negative, we’ve always come together within minutes to be the team our son needs…to be the team each other needs. Because we made a promise beside a bed some years back. A promise that reminds me every day that there is no other person in this world who could complete my team the way my husband does.
Bringing our son into this world was the best moment of my life. But, marrying his Dad was just as great. I think I sometimes forget that now. Or maybe I overlook it now that my life is so consumed by my little boy.
Thank God for pictures! Looking through those pictures today I remembered my life before our son came along and changed it. I remembered how many amazing moments I shared with his Dad-the man who had all my attention before he stole it away. Those memories reminded me that, although there is no one in this world I love more than my son, I loved his Dad first. Even though my son stole my heart that April day in 2014, his Dad stole it first. And, he still does. My husband will always be my person.
Tonight we told our son the story of the couple his parents were before they welcomed him into this world. We talked about the life we had before he made our family complete. We looked through pictures of the vacations we took over the years. Exploring the world with a wild edge. An edge that seemed to fade when my mom-brain began to nag me that I had someone else to worry about.
We told our son this…he story of us…
Your Dad and I had a blast in our “single” dating, engaged, and married life. It was filled with adventures that always bring a smile to my face. Adventures I would beg your Dad to go on…when my idea of fun wasn’t up his alley. Adventures he would just take me on without giving me a choice.
Your Dad’s idea of adventure always had an element of danger…riding dune buggies at 90 miles an hour through the streets of Mexico on our honeymoon…ATV riding through the bear and coyote ridden woods of northern Connecticut.
We slept overnight in a TENT in those same woods. Your Dad has always loved the Caribbean seas and Florida. We have jet skiied there and everywhere else he could find. He had me shooting guns I was petrified of (I had no choice because your big sister went first), sitting in the pit of a live fireworks show that he was orchestrating, and going along for the ride while he ran into burning buildings as a volunteer firefighter.
My idea of adventure always seems to start off as a wild ride from the outset. One of my favorite past times is making sure the dates I plan end with a plot twist that drives your Dad nuts. Parasailing over St. Thomas is one of my favorite memories. It’s where your Dad would learn just how much he hated heights.
During that same trip, I made your Dad walk across an entire island in St. Maarten to get the most amazing burger I could ever remember. I kept telling him it was right around the corner when I knew we were still so far away! The only thing was that once we finally got that burger, it wasn’t as great as I had remembered. We were kayaking in Mexico a month before your Dad underwent a triple bypass. I’ve entered him into sexy legs competitions, signed him up to take in kids who didn’t understand a word of English and volunteered him for every act of philanthropy I could.
And camping! I knew a lot about camping when we met. In fact, I taught your Dad to camp before he dragged me into that bear ridden woods in northern Connecticut. I taught him in a tent he swore was made to fit two midgets. A that was as cold during the night as it was scorching hot in the morning. I’ll still laugh at the sight of him hopping in feet first as he placed his gun under his pillow. (Apparently, the only camping he knew was in the Army.) I’ll still giggle at the sight of him jumping out of our tent in the morning, gasping for air, as he swore I was trying to bake him alive when the morning sun heated up our tent. Good times!
We’ve had lots of adventures over the years. One time we threw caution to the wind and rebelled against the worry that we would piss off the entire family if we took a cruise for Christmas. Your Nana was fuming but it was a great time filled with nights we can’t remember and friends we’ll never forget.
You see, son, we’ve really had some great memories before you added to our joy. Along the way, we made a LOT of friends. Those who remained a part of our lives make up the family you now know. Your crazy aunts and uncles who can tell you stories of how nuts your father was before you and I calmed him down. (High five, kid. It was a difficult feat, but we did it!)
Once you were born, we went from a couple to a family. You brought new meaning to our lives. A lot has changed, but a lot has become even better. We’ve shared a love that has carried us through thick and thin. You added a love we never knew existed. Your love has given us courage. It’s taught us what’s important in life. It’s brought us together in ways we could have never done on our own.
Along the way, we said goodbye to the people in our lives who wouldn’t fit into our new life with you. We welcomed new friends who I’m confident will forever be a part of your life. People who you can always count to be in your corner. Your people.
We’ve combined our experiences, our relationships, our memories, our lessons learned and our worldly adventures along the way and built this life that we hope will continue to suit you. A life we will continue to work to improve so we can keep rockin’ that captivating smile on your face.
Each step along the way has lead us to today. Our 8-year wedding anniversary. Each step we take in the future, will continue to lead us on the most important journey of our lives. Our greatest adventure. Being your parents. I truly believe the best is yet to come and I look forward with heartfelt anticipation to watching all this life will bring you.
Eight years ago today, I made a decision that lead me to you. I married your Dad. And, although he may think he can never compare to you, someday I would like you to tell him this….I still remember.
I remember the first time he took me on a horse and buggy ride through New York City. He was quite the gentleman until he punched the cab driver who hit my car. Then he was a badass gentleman. That was our first “real” date. Part of me wanted to run that day. The other part was intrigued by this crazy guy who would stop at nothing to make sure his date wasn’t disrespected. I’m glad I stuck around because I soon got to see the softer side of your Dad. I still remember that, too.
I remember the first Easter basket he carefully created for me our first Easter together. In fact, I still buy the perfume he picked out to put in that basket. I remember him meeting me at a Fort Lauderdale airport with a pink beanie baby teddy bear that said “Florida” the first time I came to see him while he was working down there. Tell your Dad, I remember.
I remember the many nights we spent dancing under a starry sky in the middle of the ocean with nothing in sight but open water. Tell him I remember every sweet thing he’s done for me, every gift he put a little extra thought into, every dinner he took extra long to plan. I remember all the things he did to be the good boyfriend that would become a great fiancé and end up my imperfectly perfect husband.
Tell your Dad I could never forget. I could never forget every step he took to show me that he loves me. He knows I love him too.
While you’re talking, can you do me another favor, son? Tell your Dad, I noticed. I noticed the times he made special plans to cheer me up when I was feeling down. I noticed the times he pretended to pocket dial me so he could check on me during his day. Tell him I noticed the times he snuck in to check on me when he thought I was sleeping while I was sick.
Tell your Dad, I noticed. I noticed the sacrifices he’s made for me. I noticed the extra patience he’s had as he’s supported me through everything I’ve wanted to do in life. I noticed every single time he’s said yes to something I’ve wanted to do even when there was not one ounce of him who wanted to give me the okay. I noticed his patience, his acts of love, his compromise. I noticed it all.
I noticed every time he gave some extra give in our relationship without taking any take. I love him for it.
Thinking back today, I remember that guy I had such fun with over the years before you came along and changed our lives for the better. I remember him with love, laughter, and happiness. But then I think about the man he is now. The man he has become as the years have gone by. The man he has grown to be by my side….your Dad. I love that man even more.
I could never imagine I would come to love your Dad as much as I do today. So much more than I loved him during those fun, crazy years where we had not a care in the world. On our eight-year anniversary, I love that man even more than I did the day I said: “I do!”
I love him so much more because while I noticed all those wonderful things he did for me as my husband, I noticed, even more, all the wonderful things he did for you as your Dad. While he thought I wasn’t looking, I fell more deeply in love with him as I watched him fall in love with you.
Even though your Dad has loved me in a profound way since we met some eleven years ago, he’s loved us both through these past four years in a way I can never thank him for. He’s loved us in a way you have yet to understand.
Eight years ago he gave me a gift. He made a lifelong promise to be my person forever. Four years ago he gave me the gift of you. Every day he gives us both the gift of his unwavering, irreplaceable, and powerful love. It’s a gift I’ve noticed. It’s a gift I will always remember. Someday when you’re grown you’ll notice, too. Your Dad is a gift in our lives that we could never, ever forget.