Last night, my husband and I waited until our son was asleep, and then finally had some privacy to do something naughty:
We had a big, greasy, cheesy, unhealthy delivery pizza, then went to the couch to laze around, eating cake while taking turns playing Donkey Kong in the dark until way past our bedtime.
Because that’s exactly what we did four years ago, on our wedding night (minus the sleeping preschooler in the next room, who was merely an unknown whisper back then), and yesterday was our anniversary.
We took that time to acknowledge the four years we’ve been married…
Plus the nearly five years we knew each other prior to getting married.
Four years is a short time in a marriage, but a lot happened during those four years:
- We went on a nice vacation to Duluth for our honeymoon
- We spent a little bit of time being excited to turn the second bedroom in our apartment (which Josh’s brother had previously inhabited) into an office…
- We found out I was pregnant,
- …and that the office we were excited to have in our apartment would be put on hold in order to make way for a nursery.
- Nearly immediately after finding out I was pregnant, we found out that Josh would be laid off from his job. A major stressor, especially considering that Josh was the primary earner, and the wage I was earning working for a non-profit would have been impossible to stretch to pay the rent and support us both, much less a baby.
- After a frantic search, Josh found a new job, one that turned out to pay better than the old job.
- I quit my job, in preparation for the baby, and to avoid paying for daycare.
- We added a cat to our family.
- We made it through pregnancy, to end up needing to medically induce labor at nearly two weeks past my due date, go through a long, painful, heavily monitored, exhausting labor, and finally end up meeting our son via emergency C-section.
- Josh had to help take care of me physically while I recovered from the surgery. I even needed help getting to the toilet, and washing myself, which my saint of a husband did with love.
- I had to learn to breastfeed.
- We stayed in the hospital for an extra week, worrying over our newborn, who had to be taken away from my recovery room, to the Special Care Nursery, to be treated for neonatal pneumonia.
- I had to learn to let go of breastfeeding, when those complications, along with my own mental health difficulties, resulted in a need to supplement with, and eventually fully switch to formula-feeding much earlier than I had originally planned. We made room in the budget for the unexpected expense of baby formula, and Josh was lovingly supportive while I dealt with irrational feelings of failure and shame for not breastfeeding.
- Like any new parents, we bickered about middle-of-the-night care, but we managed to find a balance.
- I made it through an excruciating battle with Post-Partum Psychosis and Depression, again with loving, patient support from Josh.
- We fielded countless condescending inquiries about my career plans (I did want to go back to work, and went through several manic phases of searching for affordable childcare… each time, finding that nothing I was qualified to do for work would even bring in enough to cover daycare.)
- Josh went through a period of frequently feeling ill… which we eventually realized was a reaction to mold. The building we lived in had a mold problem, which the property managers were ignoring and conveniently covering up for inspections.
- Because of that mold, and because things were getting tight with Kj becoming more and more mobile, we looked for a new place together, going through a lengthy process of inspecting potential new homes, and weighing our needs against the amount of rent we could afford.
- We took a leap of faith in moving to an apartment we could barely afford.
- Shortly after the move, we took another leap of faith when Josh accepted a job with a contract agency… meaning he may or may not continue to be employed six months later. (The six month contract did end with a job offer, thankfully.)
- We began a fitness journey together (when we were both clinically obese), by attending a gym, and being each other’s accountability.
- We worked together on searching for a preschool that would be good for Kj, fit our schedule, and that we could afford.
- We got to experience the magic of Kj’s first day at preschool, which he loved.
- We finally found ourselves in a position of being able to regularly put money into a savings account… only to empty it out paying for repairs to a stranger’s bumper after an accident.
- We worked hard on beginning to make collaborative passion projects come together… including a video game we created as a team.
- We’ve managed our Bipolar together, each trying hard to keep the other moving during the depressive phases of the cycle.
- We’ve managed our ADHD together, and kept each other grounded when impulsivity made us chase bright, shiny ideas.
Through it all, we’ve managed to find fun, and keep our friendship alive through humor and common interests.
I’m still smitten and so thankful that I get to continue walking through life with my friend and partner.
Before we got married, some of our friends and family wrote out advice cards, just for fun. Maybe next year, in honor of five years, I’ll look back on those… If I can find them.
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