Twenty years! We may not be doing something completely legendary as I suggested we should last year, but we'll make something happen eventually. Remicade infusion day isn't the best day to celebrate an anniversary, or much of anything! A date night and tattoos will be a good start, if the weather cooperates this weekend. Perhaps we'll take things slowly and make it a legendary year, instead of one legendary celebration.
Twenty years seems so long, but so short at the same time.
Year one, we lived in a two family house in Waterbury. We went to the bar after work to hang out with friends and play pool. We got tattoos. We were 21 and had no idea what we were doing.
Year two found us moving to a tiny house near a lake in Watertown. I got my tongue pierced the same day my sister announced her pregnancy with her first child. We were 22 and had no idea what we were doing.
Year three, we were overjoyed to be pregnant, then devastated by miscarriage. The love and care with which you comforted me through the following weeks and months made me love you all the more. That the year ended with the birth of our firstborn son, Alexander, balancing one of the lowest times in my life with one of the most miraculous. We were new parents and had no idea what we were doing.
Year four we grew as a family. We looked at a house and had keys in hand two weeks later. With the house came another pregnancy, announced again at Thanksgiving, a surprise to all.
Five brought us Zachary's birth, a new community of friends, and challenges of parenting two children under the age of two. We most definitely had no idea what we were doing, but we had lots of fun anyway.
Our sixth year provided new work for me as a church secretary and, as a result, it was amazing to witness your loving care for our baby and toddler in my brief absence twice a week. What a surprise when we once again made a Thanksgiving pregnancy announcement - and a surprise to you before that, when you answered the sight of the boys' "big brother" and "big big brother" with "as long as it's not a girl."
Seven dawned with a special birthday surprise for you - immediately before you needed to leave for work - of a tiny little dress, as my ultrasound that morning indicated that Alex's exclamations of "it's a girl baby" were correct. Just minutes old, Haley had you wrapped around her little finger as she snuggled on your chest. It was heartwarming to see how much you'd grown as a father, no longer so afraid of breaking the baby, and insisting on your own sling in which to carry her.
Eight and nine, quite frankly, are complete blurs. As parents of three very young children, we seemed much of the time to be treading water as we struggled to get enough sleep, pay the bills, manage a household, and as my health declined. I'm not sure we knew what we were doing, but did the best with what we had. We dipped our toes into homeschooling, enjoyed hikes, Tuesday Night Sunday School, and various playgroups.
Shortly after we rang in our tenth year, we found out I was pregnant, totaled a car, and I lost my job due to lack of funds with which to pay me, all in the matter of a week. I was in tears for days. You helped me to know that we would get through it somehow. How you made it through my pregnancy hormones, OCD, and need to vent about how helpless and hopeless I felt during those first few weeks, I have no idea, but thank you for loving me through it. Thank you also for not expressing your fears about the logistics of homebirth until they failed to come to fruition when Coren was born, all 10lbs 14oz of him, in a kiddie pool in our dining room.
Eleven and twelve years brought many challenges and surprises. My health had its ups and downs. Renee lived with us for a while, which was both a blessing and a challenge. We relearned that she and you should never live in the same house. Ever. Even though you are friends. We were shocked when a pregnancy test revealed that I did not have food poisoning, but morning sickness. Twenty-three weeks of morning sickness.
The following seven years have run together in my mind as a rollercoaster of emotions, physical challenges, and diagnoses mixed in with some of the best times we've had in our marriage. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, miscarried twins, was diagnosed with celiac, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylits, and autoimmune hepatitis. I was in and out of a wheelchair, on and off crutches. We found Epoch Arts and got involved in our amazing homeschool co-op. We finally made it to Camp Calumet and found our second home, which we frequent as often as possible. We added various "part time" children to our family.
We have watched our children grow and mature. We have moved out of the breastfeeding, diapers, child-proofing, need to find childcare if we hoped to leave the house child-free stage to the can leave children at home and go to the movies stage. This Summer we'll enjoy a child-free week at Calumet while all five children are in Resident Camp. Awe- all of it.
Through it all, no matter my health, my weight, my abilities, or my crazy ideas, you have loved me, supported me, and dealt with all the insanity I've thrown at you, both the bad kind and the good. I still don't think we have any idea what we're doing, but we seem to be having a good time whatever we're doing.
It seems to me that the past twenty years have been quite legen- don't have to wait for it anymore because our anniversary is today - dary! I'm looking forward to another legendary twenty years.
I love you, my honey!