When we stood at that park all those years ago, me working up the courage to ask if he had actually broken up with his girlfriend or if we were just hanging out as friends, I never once imagined us breaking up. As the weeks and months passed, there was just never a scenario that I came up with that would end us. At the end of our first year together we each went to our separate colleges and yet I still never imagined not being with him. It was a hard year apart, but we managed and at the end of that year I decided to change schools and relocate to his in Michigan. I wasn't happy at the school I was at, I was very stressed, and I had changed majors to teaching and felt that Western Michigan had more to offer me. We both graduated on time with great degrees, and shortly after graduation we were both employed and ready to start the next chapter of our lives.
Then after six years together, we decided to go to New Orleans on our first grown up trip. While there, he happened to propose to me and in what has become our favorite place to be, with a beautiful ring that did not cost a year's salary or even a month's (as instructed ahead of time by me), I said yes.
After a year of renting we decided it was a better move financially to buy a townhouse, so we did. And we got a dog, with some issues of course, and we planned our wedding. It was not extravagant, but it was very "us"; complete with a black wedding cake, hand picked music, a giant gong, and an extra hour of open bar during which my new husband took full advantage of the shots.
And life went on again. We bought a house, had a neurotic dog and cat, and dealt with the day to day issues of paying bills, making home improvements, planning trips, working, saving for retirement, and trying to find time to enjoy ourselves. And through it all, our life has never seemed mundane to me. Sure we went out on the weekends a little less than we had, but we spent time together and we enjoyed each other. I've never felt like I needed time away from him and I really do look forward to all the time that we do spend together.
We had always said we wanted at least one kid and for many years, that was all we wanted. Our big plan had been to wait until 30 so we could enjoy our time as non-parent adults for a while. On our five year anniversary Tom told me he was ready in the next year for parenthood and one year later I was pregnant with Tera.
The morning of February 26, 2011 could have been one of the biggest tests of our entire relationship, but instead Tera's birth and diagnosis made us stronger than we had ever been. We supported each other, were alternately the one that fell apart and the one that held it together, and helped each other to get past the initial fear and sadness so that we could try and be the best parents we could be to our new baby girl.
And then we made the decision to have one more. And while this pregnancy has been a little more stressful than the one with Tera, and while we constantly question how we will handle another kid when the one we have currently can be a bit exhausting, we both know that whatever happens, we can and will handle it.
And so on this 10 year/17 year anniversary, Tom is playing hockey and I'm pregnant. We don't have any big plans because honestly, I can't stay up very late these days and drinking has been removed my itinerary for the time being. So I'll go to bed soon, he'll work tomorrow (maybe we'll get coffee together), and then maybe tomorrow night we'll order in from someplace nicer than usual because we'll also have our first sweet girl with us. We don't have to have big plans, but I feel like on this fairly important anniversary it's important for us to take time to acknowledge that it's a special day. We've now spent half of our lives together and one of the things that has kept us this strong all these years is not getting complacent about our relationship. It's not just another day, it's our special day and on this special day I want to take one more opportunity to thank my wonderful husband for just being him, because honestly that sums up most everything I need and love about him.