I changed my last name. I became a wife and a Mrs. Legally, I turned into a “we”. We had a big party with our families and friends. We got new towels and matching silverware. We started thinking about a mortgage and a family of our own. All because I fell in love with this man I met in college. And believed that my life would be infinitely better with him beside me.
Eight years later I’m still right: my life is better with him in it. My life has also drastically changed in those 8 years. We bought a house. We’ve argued over flooring and I lost that battle. We’re currently nursing that house along until we can move. I’ll probably win the next flooring battle because he now regrets his flooring choice. Just saying. He’s helped me through two pregnancies. Held my feet while I pushed out our first son. Looked when he swore he wouldn’t. And held my hand while the doctors performed a c-section to deliver our second. And looked again, when he strongly swore he wouldn’t. Life changes when you have children. This is no secret. People spend 9 months trying to explain to first-time parents exactly how their lives will change. I think most well-meaning friends are talking about life with the new baby. No more random movies. No more long mornings sleeping until 11 a.m. No more late nights just because you feel like it. This is the easiest part for new parents to grasp. Some even swear that the transition won’t bother them. They’re wrong. It will. There will be days that you mourn for that type of freedom. But I think you’re actually mourning for the relationship you had with your spouse. You were fun then and some days you just want all that type of fun back. That’s the change well-meaning friends should be discussing. And that’s probably a bigger change. I think most people feel solid in their relationship prior to children and a little tiny baby won’t change that. They’re wrong. As a family, you change as a couple. It’s a slow change. For the first couple years, you’re so focused on your new roles as parents. But if you aren’t careful, you can change so much that you don’t recognize that happy couple in the wedding album.
We don’t have as many date nights as we’d like and we argue more than we should. But I don’t want to stand next to anyone else in this life. Mark and I have great parents that take the boys for weekends and even a week at a time. And during those breaks, we try very hard to return to those pre-kid days. We eat whenever and whatever we want. We stay out late but not as late because we’re much older now. And we never visit the trains at Barnes & Noble. We go back to the Us that started this journey. The Us that knew we could do it. The Us that knew a blend of our traits is what our tiny piece of the world needed. Even through the late nights at the office, the tantrums being thrown by a toddler, the saucy looks from a small boy, my husband still reminds me of the man I said, “I do” to on that Saturday. I’d say he’s a better man than the 2003 version. And for all those late nights he walked our halls with our first son just so I could sleep, for all the times he cleans the dog when she rolls in poo, for all the times pulls solo parenting duties while I’m on the road, I’d say “I do” again and again. Because mixed in with all those icky moments are truly great moments that I’d never want to share with anyone else.
Happy Anniversary. Until next year…