Fourteen

Fourteen years and two hours ago, I married the boy I fell for my senior year of high school. We’ve had such a wacky schedule that our best bet on an anniversary date was this morning. So, we hired a babysitter and spent a Thursday morning at the art museum and then hit a fantastic lunch spot. (Chauhan Ale and Masala House deserves a mention, because it was delicious. I hear lunch is actually the time to go; dinner gets a lot pricier.) As dates go, it was a little weird and a lot fun.

So much has happened in fourteen years. We’re both pretty different people than we were when we started this adventure. We’ve had some tough times in there, even in this past year. But you know, I can honestly say these 14 years have been good, not because life has been perfect, but because I have shared them with someone who really gets me and who somehow makes it all a lot more fun. Marriage demands a lot of us, but when you boil it down, I’m pretty sure that’s what everybody hopes for.

So, here’s to fourteen more good years. I’m okay with growing old, as long as it happens with him.

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Jon says he looks like a guy whose wife made him take a selfie, which is, in fact, exactly what happened.

On the man in our lives

It was another full weekend, with a celebration of our 13th anniversary (which is actually this coming Tuesday), and of course, Father’s Day today.

I’d love to be able to take credit for picking the man who has made such a remarkable husband for 13 years and a truly show-stopping dad for a little over five. But really, I’m not sure how much credit I deserve. I was a very young – and as a result, fairly ignorant – 18-year-old when we first started dating. I was a still very young – and still fairly ignorant – 23-year-old when we got married. A lot of those kinds of relationships don’t last, for good reason. Who really knows at 18 what they want from life or what kind of person they will become? When you start married life at 23, there is still a lot of growing and changing to do. How do you know you will continue to share the same values and want the same things from life?

The truth is, we didn’t. After five years of dating, we knew each other well, and we understood each other’s characters. But in the end, we took a gamble. To varying extents, marriage is always a gamble. We gamble that the person we’re marrying is who we think they are. We gamble that we are ourselves who we think we are. We gamble that the character and values we share with our spouse will remain constant enough to allow us to continue on the same life path together.

I was confident in my decision at 23, but Jon has surprised me. We have our daily frustrations, same as any couple. Sometimes, I mutter about murdering him in his sleep as I clip in the car seat he left sitting out. But as a husband and father, he has blown me away. In his steadiness and patience, in the depth of his love for me and our kids, in his wisdom and spiritual depth, in his incredibly hard work, he has far surpassed anything I imagined when we said our vows. Life has thrown us some surprises and will probably throw us a few more. But I believe deep down to the soles of my feet that God knew every twist and turn, and He brought us to each other, to lighten the load when it’s heavy and to multiply the many joys as they come. The gamble isn’t so scary that way.

Jon still makes me laugh. We still enjoy each other’s company above any other. And my kids are blessed beyond measure with a dad who is not only perfectly capable of caring for them, but who truly loves to do it. When I left them with daddy for five days last weekend, he looked forward to the time. I came home to kids who clearly thrived while I was away and a daddy who lit up when he told me about the fun they’d had together. He came away with a little better appreciation for what I juggle every day, but he loved that uninterrupted time with his kids, and they loved it, too.

That’s the man who has so surpassed my 23-year-old expectations. That’s the only guy who could live up to the very high bar my daddy set. That’s my husband, and the father of my children.

After all that, I’ll leave you with a few pics from our night on the town.

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Goofy mirror selfie on our way out the door to dinner

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If pregnancy was an Olympic event, this would be the home stretch.

(Wait, did I just mix Olympic and baseball metaphors? Oh well.) We are now less than nine weeks from my due date, which seems like a very short time when I start ticking off the items on my before baby to-do list but a very long time when I put on a maternity shirt that no longer covers my belly or wake at 2 a.m. with searing heartburn.

We are so excited about meeting this baby. It looks like we have finally settled on a name, but I hesitate to broadcast it too broadly in the off chance we change our minds. We may be baby name over-thinkers. It does add to my confidence in our choice that Corin pronounces it beautifully.

The nursery is nearly finished. I am not too humble to say I think it’s looking awesome. Pictures to come once the finishing touches are done.

We got back Tuesday night from our much-anticipated beach vacation. Hilton Head Island was our honeymoon destination, and it was so nice to have several days there to relive the romance while Corin lived it up with Mimi and Grandpa. Life happened, and the “romance” included a scorching sunburn through layers of sunscreen for my red-headed husband and two jellyfish stings for me. But we still had a lovely time. We even got to meet up with dear friends on their way through the area. We didn’t do much picture-taking, and what we did get was late in the evening, but here’s a sampling of our anniversary/babymoon/husband’s birthday trip. (My vanity is preventing me from sharing the only picture of the two of us together, because it is terribly unflattering.)

I am very thankful for those few relaxing days together in a lovely place. Soon we’ll be immersed in a newborn haze, fumbling our way through the transition to parents of two. Maybe on a few of those sleepless nights, it will help to remember the sound of crashing waves and the feel of damp, salty winds.