Saturday, 1 December 2012

8 Years

I feel the need to pay tribute to my marriage for a few minutes tonight, so please indulge me.  Our 8th anniversary is on December 3rd and this is likely the most meaningful anniversary thus far in our marriage.  The survival of our marriage is due to hard work on both sides and a lot of love and committment.  I love my husband more today than I did on our wedding day, and this is made much more significant by all of the challenges we have faced over the past few years.

Do you think anyone really knows what they are saying when they make their wedding vows?  I mean, we all know, but do we really KNOW?  I don't think that we do- and frankly many people would choose to forgo marriage if they realized what they were signing up for.  If I were able to go back in my life, John would have been scrutinized so much more carefully before I said yes.  Would I still say yes?  Without question.  But I would have been watching every move- analyzing every familial relationship, watching his cleaning habits (haha), etc with much more interest.  Maybe that's why we NEED to go into marriage a bit naive.  We would all be scared away if we knew all of our partner's little idiosyncrasies. 

Our wedding day was definitely one of the best days of my life.  I can no longer say THE best after the births of our children, but I will say it's a three way tie.  The things I remember about that day now are much different than what I was focused on then.  Yes I remember that John looked very handsome, and I remember all of the details that I worked so hard to get "just right".  I remember that the wedding band played our first dance at a MUCH faster tempo than how we had practiced it- was a bit of a challenge.  We made it through :). I remember our friends, and I remember feeling on top of the world.  I remember feeling beautiful.

The things that mean the most to me from that day?  My family, and John's family.  John's granddaddy and grandmama making their way up the aisle to do a reading after John's granddaddy had been in the E.R. the night before.  Much of John's family making it to the wedding the night before the "all important" Army-Navy game the next day.  Most of my family making the journey from all over the country to be there for us.  My aunt and uncle reuniting for the first time in a social situation since their divorce, with their new respective spouses, in order to support us.  Learning how much my new mother in law loved little children after watching her with her nephew Nicholas- and also how much little children love her.  That has continued in her relationship with Jack.   I remember all of the incredibly hard work that my sister, my brother in law, and their children did in order to be able to participate in the wedding.  I appreciate it SO MUCH MORE now.  Phew we asked a lot of you, and you sure delivered.  Same goes for Kate, my sister and maid of honor, who was 16!  She did an amazing job.  The feelings of warmth and love, of everyone putting aside their own lives and conflicts in order to celebrate our marriage- I will never forget that.  It was a true joining of families, and it was a wonderful way to start our new family.

And that's where we are now.  After this past year, we have really developed into our own "family unit".  We make our own decisions for the boys and we do what's best for us, not everyone else.  We have stopped trying to make it to everyone's house for the holidays- one house is enough, and even that is sometimes too much for the boys.  We used to push ourselves to participate in everything for both of our families, to the point where it literally broke us right around the time of the boys' diagnoses- and last Christmas.  We were trying to continue everything as though nothing had changed- but it had- drastically.  So we had to change too.    We have stopped trying to make others happy ahead of ourselves- we have to find our happiness first.  We have to find peace.  And we are doing just that.  Our children, and our marriage have become our first priorities.  And this is how it should be.  The difference in our family is dramatic with these changes.  I know that we will eventually find a way to work more social and family events into our lives, but for now, we choose them very carefully.  No tension, no crazy crowded venues, no sensory overload if possible.  Our quality of life, and especially that of the boys, really improved with these changes.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that we chose US.  We chose our family.  And we chose right.

I have learned so much this year.  About my relationship and relationships in general.  I try my best to avoid judging other people's relationships.  Chances are, whatever I am thinking, I am wrong.  So many couples who "seem" happy end up splitting and others who are really struggling may really truly love each other and be able to work it out.  And no one knows what is going on in a relationship except the two people in it.  Things aren't always what they seem.  John and I will bicker until the day we die.  That's how I want it- I want someone who challenges me and I know he wants the same.  Our interactions keep life interesting (because otherwise it's just soooo boring right?).  I have seen many "old married" couples who have this constant banter going on- so clearly we aren't alone in this.  I think some people assume arguing is a sign of unhappiness- if John and I stopped I would be worried- because we wouldn't be communicating anymore.

I have mentioned that we had family portraits done about a month ago.  While we were there, we asked our photographer Heather to do a few of just John and I, since we haven't done that really since our wedding day.  Thought I would share a few today. 


Happy Anniversary Honey!  We've worked so hard for this and I'm so happy that we did. 
 I love you

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