Five Years of Marriage

Five years ago, I woke up in a hotel room next to my sister and my two best friends. My other best girl friends were sharing the room next to us.

I spent my morning giggling with my girl friends. I took a leisurely shower and then had my hair and make up done in our room. I remember the make up artist saying, “You are so calm! You could do this everyday!”

I felt calm. I felt good. I was excited and happy and surrounded by the people I loved. I was ready.

After a calm day of getting beautiful, we headed to the event location.

I put on a white dress.

I sipped some champagne.

We took some pictures.

And then I got married.

As my mother in law would later describe it, my wedding was 98 % perfect.

And it was.

We had an outdoor ceremony and an indoor reception. We danced the night away and I was in the midst of so many people who had shaped my life.

In five years we have lived in three places, celebrated a graduation and worked multiple jobs, become parents (to cats and a baby), and endured many ups and downs.

Five years changes a lot of things.

But nothing will ever change the fondness on which I look back on my wedding day and reflect on the beauty and excitement that the promise of that beginning held.

So, today, my husband and I will celebrate five years of marriage with a massage, dinner, and a night in a fancy Richmond hotel.

Cheers to celebrations, beginnings, and the accomplishment of five years of life intertwined with the life of another.

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Goodnight Words

Sleepy kisses were handed out as we all adjusted covers and nuzzled into pillows.

The toddler still sleeps here snuggled in the middle most nights, even though we all know babyhood has past.

My little boy is at peace here with Mommy and Daddy and though we do the sleep-in-your-own-bed thing, we really like him here, too.

Darkness surrounds us but we gaze at a battery-powered stars and moon that cast a sky on our ceiling.

“Goodnight little family,” I say.

“I love you,” says my husband.

“Mommy, Daddy?”  questions the toddler.

“Yes, sweet boy?” we respond.

“You guys are taking good care of me.”

It is dark, but I could still feel my husband and I lock eyes. I can feel his heart swell in rhythm with mine and make out the dimples of his smile in the moonlight as it mirrors my emotion.

“That’s such a nice thing to say, buddy,” says my husband with a smile.

“Thank you so much. You are such a sweet boy. I love you,” I reply, struggling to find words to convey my emotion.

“I love you too, guys,” says our sweet boy as he cuddled his Curious George lovey close and snuggled in to sleep.

And so we drifted into slumber, falling asleep to lullabies of sleepy breathing and toddler validation. Goodnight husband, goodnight little boy, goodnight words that have warmed my heart and filled my soul.

Goodnight.

Stop and See

Often, in daily life I forget to see my son. I see him every day, but my view of him is hindered by the constant toddler tornado I see as he runs around and busies himself with the exploration of his world. My view of him is muddled in the daily “Mommy I need this” and “Mommy come do that.” I lose sight of him as I put away toys and wash dishes and try to scrub the strawberry stain out of his favorite shirt. I forget to just enjoy him as I fix his juice and warm his food. As I wipe his mouth and bottom and drive him to activities. As I play with him while thinking about the things I have waiting for me on my grown up to-do list.

A few weeks ago, we had a family photo session. When we received the pictures, I got teary. There he was. My son. And in this captured moment of stillness, I SAW him.

He is beautiful. 

In these pictures, I saw him for who he is. I noticed the redness of his hair that I often take for granted. I marveled at the deepness and darkness of his eyes. I delighted at the sweet smile that so often plays across his lips and the sometimes mischievous look that lights up his face.

I saw his smallness and his bigness all at the same time. I saw the beauty and wonder and blessing that is my little boy.

I saw the way he loves us, his Mommy and Daddy. And I saw the way we love him more than anything else in this world.

In these captured moments, these captured memories, I stopped and saw our family. I saw my little boy and the love I so often forget to see in the chaos and monotony of daily life. I got to stop and see my life, and remember what a beautiful thing it is.

Linking up today with the lovely Galit and Alison with my favorite link up; Memories Captured.

*The pictures were done by Amy Robinson Photography located in Richmond, VA. If you are in or around the Richmond area, you should definitely look into hiring her! We adore her both for her talent and personality. You can find her here: http://www.amyrobinsonphoto.com/.

A Whole New World

The music floated up and drifted over onto our side of the fence. Cars began to line the street and people starting flocking to our neighbor’s house. It was time for the party.

Our neighbor had been planning a surprise birthday party for her husband for months. We had spent the day grooming our yard so we wouldn’t be those neighbors with the embarrassing yard in anticipation of the event. Our excitement was comparable to our neighbor’s. A surprise party! For a grown up! A night out of the house mingling with other adults! It was a novelty.

Of course, we had to bring the toddler. The party was right next door and we figured we wouldn’t be there terribly long. Plus our toddler loves our neighbors.

We walked across the yard and made our appearance. The awkwardness set in as it often does in new social scenarios with new people. We quickly conquered our fears with some adult beverages and by engaging the toddler in a round of let’s-eat-a-hot-dog-with-ketchup. Ketchup is the best thing in the world (if you’re two.) We met up with our neighbors, got some introductions, and found our social groove. We had fun. We interacted in adult conversations and drank adult beverages. We enjoyed a social scene we rarely get to be a part of.

The toddler found wonder in the croquet set, the hammock, and the multi-colored lights strung from the trees. He delighted in the grilled hot dogs and was elated by the birthday cake production. He enjoyed sitting by the fire pit and watching it’s blaze while Mommy and Daddy talked and laughed with other grown ups.

As the night began to wane, I found myself drawing away from the adultness. I enjoyed the weight and the closeness of my toddler in my lap while watching the flames dance in a fire pit as much as I enjoyed the conversations. I enjoyed his amazement at the sparking fireworks even more than the adult beverages. And I loved watching him dance to the music and spinning him around in circles even more than I enjoyed being out of the house.

At one point, I overheard someone say, “Is the child still here?” Her tone implied that his presence was ruining her evening, even though he had been well-behaved all night. I knew then that it was time to leave.

For you see, as much as I enjoyed the novelty of a grown up party, that’s really no longer my world. This group was a mix of people who were single and people who were students, couples who were engaged or married, people who worked in professional careers or had their own businesses, but we were the only people there with a child.

I remember those stages of life. The school work and the professors. The talk of a dating scene and nights at bars. The wedding planning and future dreaming. The married before children bits. The pressures of a job. But no one else in this group knows about my whole new world.

They don’t yet know about sleep deprived nights and birth stories and whether or not to breastfeed. They don’t yet know about the land of sippy cups and legos and sleepy cuddles and slobbery kisses. They don’t yet know about the world that I am immersed in.

The hubs was enjoying himself. He didn’t want to leave the party and go home to parenthood.

So as the night continued to ease into late, the hubs stayed at a grown up party and drank grown up drinks and talked about grown up things. But I took my little boy home, changed him into pajamas, and snuggled him on the couch as we settled in to watch an episode of Caillou before we went to bed. And I realized as I snuggled my sweet little boy, that there was nowhere else I would rather be.

As much fun as it was to dip my toes back into the grown up waters for a few hours, I feel much more at ease in comfy clothes chasing butterflies or cuddling on the couch with my little one. Despite my previous roles of student and single, teacher and professional, engaged and married, I have finally found the role I was always meant to play. I am most myself here, in this exhilarating world of motherhood.

Sick and Mad

Sickness has descended upon our house for the past week. I am an expert at following my own how to get sick advice. A full seven days of runny noses and coughs and tissues and humidifiers has really taken its toll. The toddler seems to be feeling better and just a lingering cough remains. The hubs had to call into work and I have not left the house in the past week except to drive the toddler to and from preschool. It has been a nearly impossible task to keep the toddler entertained and the house in a somewhat decent state while both adults are out of capacity on the couch.

The grumpy factor is at an all time high. Seven days can feel like a long time. With the whole family at the end of our ropes, this conversation happened this morning:

Me: (to the toddler) “Will you bring Mommy a tissue please?”

Toddler: “No, I will not. And Daddy will not either.”

Hubs: “That’s not very nice. Why won’t you bring Mommy a tissue?”

Toddler: “Because I am mad at Mommy. And Mommy is mad at me.”

Me: “I am not mad at you.”

Toddler: “Yes. Mommy is mad at me every day because I made a mess. And I am mad at Mommy.” (walks over to me and in a very mad voice says,) “Mommy, I am mad at you because I made a mess.”

Me: ….

Hubs: “Come on, let’s leave Mommy alone for a minute. We need to go clean up your mess.”

Toddler: “I need to pee!” (goes to bathroom) From the bathroom we hear singing, ” I will never clean the living room never ever. I will leave the living room a mess. I am ma-aaad. Yes sir.”

Me: “Can someone please bring me a tissue?”

Toddler: “I will Mommy.” (brings me a tissue) “It’s ok, Mommy. I am not mad at you. I love you.”

Me: “I love you too. I am not mad at you either. Thank you for my tissue.”

Hubs: “Ok, now we need to clean this mess in the livingroom!”

Toddler: “Uggggghhhhh!!!!!”

Sigh. I realize, that this week has been a week of ignoring the toddler because we just don’t have the ability to play with him. When we are up, we have been fussing at him to clean up all of these messes he’s making while we haven’t been able to supervise. We are exhausted and sick, and frustrated by having to clean up every five minutes from our toddler tornado, when all we really want to do is lay around and sleep in a clean-ish house. The toddler is frustrated by lack of stimulation and that every time he does come up with a creative game, (ie, throw all of his crayons all over the floor, unload all of the kitchen cabinets, cut up bits of paper all over the house, etc.), we want him to clean up the mess.

This cycle is exhausting. The hubs is ready to go to work, I am ready to have energy back to entertain my son and keep my house clean, and the toddler is just ready for some interaction. And probably for some activities outside of our house.

Here’s hoping that whatever this super cold is will leave soon. And that the toddler will stop being mad at me because he made a mess.

How To Spell Pizza

Hubs: “Ok, what else do we need at the store?” (while making a grocery list)

Me: “Umm, milk, bread…….oh, get some stuff to make homemade pizza! That would be fun!”

Hubs: “Ok.” (Writes P-I-Z-Z-) “Does “pizza” have an “i” in it?”

Me: “What? No. P-I-Z-Z-A.”

Hubs: (Writes A) “What else?”

Me: “Bananas. And maybe grapes.”

Hubs: “B-AN-AN-AS” (sings and dances out loud to the tune of Gwen Stefani’s song while he writes it down)

Me: “I know you’re making fun of that song, but it totally taught you how to spell.”

Hubs: “What? I am great at spelling.”

Me: “You just asked me how to spell pizza!”

Hubs: ……. “I don’t like you. I’m going to the store now.”

Twenty minutes, a full grocery list, and a finally-ready-to-go-toddler later, the hubs and the toddler went to the store.

How did you start your Saturday?

One Day

I know it’s a taboo topic, but my husband and I are currently having financial woes. It is nothing that we can not handle and nothing that we can not sort through, but it will take some time and effort to deal with these expenses. Last night, while I was feeling particularly frustrated with everything and yet another bill came in to add to our pile, my husband tried to be comforting by saying, “One day, we’ll have enough money that this won’t be a problem and we’ll have all of these bills paid off. I’ll just keep pulling over time shifts until we can build back up.”

I sighed, and rather than find solace in his words I was frustrated. “But I don’t like you doing so much overtime. We never see you. And if we are just living for the ‘one days’ we are forgetting the right nows. This is our life right now.”

And then he said the most wonderful thing, “This is my one day. I knew that one day, I would be in residency doing a job I loved. I knew I would have a nice house and a beautiful wife and a crazy son,” he said as we both glanced at the toddler who was unloading the groceries I just brought in by trying to open and eat them.

And we stopped and smiled and laughed a bit and then I told him how sweet that was and kissed him in the middle of the kitchen. We embraced like this and shared this moment until little hands grabbed our legs and demanded our attention.

We have one days to live for and goals to meet. But the right now is pretty good too, if we just remember that once upon a time, our ‘right now’ was still just a dream for our ‘one day’.

We Can Not Seriously Discuss Having Another Child Until You Grow Up

A recent conversation with my husband:

Me: “Did you notice how spotless the house was when you got home today?”

Him: (pause) “I noticed it was clean. I didn’t check for spots.”  Oh, he’s being witty. I like it. 

Me: “Thanks babe. I mean, I ask you this question not because the house was a disaster when you left and perfect when you got home, but because it was clean when you left and clean when you got home and it took me ALL DAY to keep it that way.”

Him: laughing “Yeah….I help a lot though.” WHAT????

Me: “Well, actually I was a little frustrated with you this morning. I spent all day yesterday getting/keeping the house clean, because the pest control guy was coming over this morning. So when I went to bed last night, everything was clean. When I woke up this morning, I found the TV clickers in the middle of the floor, a dish towel in the middle of the living room with your dirty socks, a bag of opened chips laying out on the kitchen counter and a very dirty bowl and some utensils also on the counter, not even soaking in the sink, let alone put in the dishwasher. And you didn’t take out the trash and the recycling; for the third week in a row.”

Him: “What? Man, somebody must’ve broken in last night.”

Me: “I’m telling you, the house is a lot cleaner when you have crazy work hours. I can manage me and the baby. It’s you that is messy.”

Him: “Well, I clean up all day at work. I need a break when I get home.”

Me:  “I clean up all day too!”

Him: “But really, I think about that at work. I think, wow, Julia would be so impressed with me right now. I’m straightening, I’m cleaning. I’m totally different at work than I am at home.”

Me: “I mean, I kinda think you’d have to be right? I’ve thought that before. I mean, you seem to be doing really well at work, so you must act different there than you do at home.”

Him: “Ha, yeah, I mean, I’m pretty impressive at work. Much different from the bumbling idiot husband you see at home.” Oh my gosh, he knows he’s a bumbling idiot??  “I’m just really tired when I get home.”

Me: “Me too! But I need you to help out at night.”

Him: “You mean, I never get a break?”

Me: “I never get a break.  And it would mean a lot to my happiness and sanity if you would step it up.”

Him: (in a flirtatious manner) “So you won’t feel like you have two 2 year olds?” Oh my gosh, he knows he acts like a two-year old?? 

Me: (in shock) “I really do have two 2 year olds! I mean, I know I say that all the time kind of joking, but I really feel like I already have two kids. Honestly, we can not seriously discuss having another child until you grow up.” I can’t believe I just said that. 

Him: “Interesting.” pause “That’s a good line. You should put that in your blog.”

Either we just had a very revealing conversation that will help move our relationship in a positive direction, or I really did marry a bumbling idiot.