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...I am a human being first.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ten Year Reflection

Sean and I are leaving for Mexico in 35 days for a much-anticipated, long-overdue tropical island vacation getaway for our 10 year anniversary, which isn’t actually until this June, but who needs “tropical” in June? February seemed much more rewarding, which is why we are going then.

Probably because of the pending anniversary trip, I have been thinking a lot lately about the last ten years. I cant believe it has gone so fast. It feels like yesterday that he was down on one knee in front of me, with a gorgeous, Princess cut diamond in a box, held by very wobbly fingers.

Since I have been so lost lately in my ten year memories, I am jotting down some of my absolute FAVORITE memories of our life together. These are those moments when he would do or say just the right thing and remind me how lucky I am to be his wife. 

Shortly before we got married, Sean and I were robbed at gunpoint in my apartment. He was pistol-whipped and I was dragged around by my hair and forced to give up all the money we had. It was terrifying. 

                *I remember when the detectives arrived to fingerprint my home, he asked Sean if he was okay, referring to the open head wound he was bleeding from, and without hesitation, he tearfully said, “No, I’m not okay. They could have hurt her and I couldn’t do anything to stop it.” I was the only thing on his mind, despite BLEEDING from the HEAD.  

In 2002, we were married in June. We bought our house two months before our wedding and right after the wedding, we used some of our wedding money to buy the plans and wood for an enormous, gorgeous deck that Sean built on the back of our new home.  

            *I remember coming home on one ridiculously HOT afternoon where he had been working outside on it, all day in the hot sun, and I saw that he had power-washed “I will love you forever” into our new deck. It lasted the whole summer and I loved it.

2003 – Our most difficult year, to date. My first pregnancy ended in a rest stop bathroom and I was wrecked. Sean was so supportive during that time. I remember having to explain to my students at the time, after some time off, that I was no longer expecting a baby. I also remember one particularly difficult day when a student naively asked me, “What did you do to make your baby die?” after hearing I was no longer pregnant. 

*The next morning, Sean left a card on my windshield that said, “That one wasn’t perfect enough. You will be an amazing mommy.”
Eventually, obviously we did get pregnant again and I gave birth to beautiful, wonderful Quinn. Although this was the happiest moment of our lives, those first few months were BEYOND difficult. Neither one of us had any baby experience and we were tired, emotional and totally overwhelmed – with love, with worry and with fatigue!  I put my head down on the dining room table and just wept my eyes out one night. Sean begged me to tell him what was wrong and I struggled, in between gasping and sniffing and severe post-partum depression, to explain to him that I missed it being just “us.” I missed having dinner with him, and going on dates and feeling like a wife and not a milk machine. 

*That night, he made me stay in my bedroom. He took care of feeding Quinn and putting him to sleep and told me he would call me when I could come out. I heard strange noises and had no idea what he was up to. When he came to get me, I saw he had transformed our entire living room into a Hawaiian oasis. There were leis all over, drinks in coconut glasses, pineapple candles set out burning,  a hot plate of my favorite meal on a candle-lit table and even Hawaiian music playing in the background. “Tonight,” he said. “We are in Hawaii. Just the two of us, on a very special date.” He danced with me and made me feel like we were “the old us” again.

Of course, I was just learning to be a new mommy and not lose myself in the process.  That wasn’t the only time I “lost it” either. When Q was about 3 months old, I remember breaking down crying (I sound like I was a blubbery, weak mess a lot, don’t I?) one night as we were getting ready to go to some family party. My clothes looked terrible on me. I was too small to fit in my old maternity clothes and way too big still to fit in my “regular” clothes. Every book said that weigh loss after pregnancy can take up to a year, but I was impatient and feeling ugly.  He, of course, told me I looked beautiful and that my body was still changing and he said all the right things, but I was not to be consoled. 

                *The next morning, he woke me up, told me he had a secret plan and to get dressed. While I was getting ready, he dropped Quinn to my mom’s house and then whisked me off to a HUGE shopping mall in Michigan where he told me to buy whatever made me feel good. He knew that it would be a big waste of money (and it was) because my weight was still changing and I was still losing, but he didn’t care. All he cared about was making me feel pretty. I bought a few new outfits, felt like a million bucks and even though I donated them to Goodwill a few months later, he smiled and said it was worth it. 

These are just some small examples.  There have been hundreds. Like the time he bought us dancing lessons, even though he HATES to dance, because he knew I would love it.  Or the time he nonchalantly told our priest that I had changed his life and without me, he knew he would have ended up in jail or dead. Or the time he made matching shirts for himself and Quinn, that said “MY WIFE/MOM ROCKS.”  Or the time he showed up at my school unexpectedly with a bouquet of flowers just because.  Or even recently, when he climbed up on the roof and sprinkled fake snow on Christmas morning because it was all I wanted for Christmas. Or how when we talk about other couples who are having difficulties, he always says, “Well, you and I are different. We have something special that those people don’t have,” and his words rest on my soul and reassure me that I’m NOT imagining it. 

I have lived 10 yrs of love that many women DREAM about. I am lucky, lucky, lucky. Lucky to be in love with someone who isn’t afraid to show me how much he loves me, all the time.  

Ten years. And we’re more obsessed with one another now than we have ever been.
Here’s to ten more!