Today is our 14th wedding anniversary. Some days it seems like we've been married forever (mostly in a good way, I swear), and some days 14 years sounds like a really long time and we can't possibly be that old. But here we are. Our marriage has officially reached the age of a high schooler. Appropriate, I suppose, since some days that seems to be about as much maturity as I can muster...but yet we chug along.
I can't say it's been all sunshine and rainbows, as the demands of life don't make things easy. Having a kid with significant challenges hasn't been particularly kind to our marriage, I'd say, but it's also a testament to its original strength, that we're still going strong despite not always agreeing on the best methods to raise him. When they say marriage is hard work, they're right. It needs frequent TLC and is not for the faint of heart. You need to make an effort to maintain a bond despite all life throws at you, whether that means date nights, flowers, a thoughtfully cooked meal or surprise treat, or battling through bedtime sleepies for a little grown-up quality time. Every marriage needs those thoughtful moments to maintain the spark. Commitment is step #1, but being happy within the commitment is what takes the biggest effort.
I can't say we've been great about it recently. With the boys being nearly impossible to keep together, we've been far more hesitant to leave them with anyone to grab dinner alone. For a while we had a pretty good every-few-week schedule of going out to lunch, but that's fallen off recently, probably because Craig's schedule has been a little more erratic, mine has been busy, and neither of us needs the extra fast food meal. But it's nice to get that time alone when we can and have a conversation that's not interrupted every 10 seconds. We've also had very busy weekends, which zap any extra energy and time pretty effectively. But I know the desire is there on both sides to do more, and sometimes that has to be enough.
When we do get alone time together (or the kids are cooperating!) we still have a good time together. We can usually find enough to talk about, and while our free time styles are different and I'm much more go-go-go in general (probably from a little too much time spent with kids cooped up in the house on winter weekends while he's working), we eventually strike a good balance. We still love each other very much, but there's no doubt we've evolved.
Take a look at these pictures...
For the longest time I looked at these and just saw us, but now I look at them and see very different people. For one, we're officially so much older than the kids in those pictures. I've looked younger than my years for so long, but now it's clear that time has not stood still. But the bigger thing is that those two people couldn't even begin to understand the road that was ahead of them. We had our whole lives ahead of us, and on that day we could barely think past our honeymoon. Who knew we'd have one tough kid and one less tough one, a few interesting job situations, two houses, many vehicles, and who knows what else? When I look in the mirror now, I see a different person...one who's been through a lot more than the one in the picture. Short hair, different clothing style, more maturity, and a whole lot of changes. I've learned a lot, professionally and personally. I'm tired, but life is also considerably more full. It certainly wouldn't be the same without the noisy little people upstairs. And 14 (+2) years of love between two people is a pretty significant thing. Many marriages have come and gone since ours began, and I'm thankful we're among the survivors.
Thanks to lacrosse practice, a couple greeting cards, the Big Brother premiere, and some Rolo McFlurries were about as good as it got for this year. And that's okay. We've survived a lot worse than an uneventful anniversary. I can't say perspective is my favorite wedding gift, but it's still a pretty important one. We're blessed. Exhausted, but blessed.