Three years ago today I married my very best friend. Our wedding was a big party and probably one of my favorite days ever. I remember, leading up to the wedding, that I made a big deal that this wedding wouldn't be the "best day of my life." How lame it seemed that your wedding would be the "best day." What was the point of marriage if it was all going to be downhill after you said "I do" and danced for a few hours?
But I really loved our wedding and I can say for sure it was one of the "best days" from the past few years. Of course, we have had some awful days too. Our two year anniversary came during a hard time for us. Paul had been home from deployment for about eight weeks and we were still adjusting. I was struggling to get my confidence in our relationship and Paul, not really understanding, was not able to reassure me that life was good and we were okay. We went out to dinner at a nice restaurant to celebrate two years and I remember feeling awkward in the conversation early in the evening. It was really frustrating.
A few weeks later, things mellowed out and we started clicking again. I know the experience was good despite the pain, because we gained something that will help us get through all of these other deployments and coming home celebrations - respect for how big and hard forced long-term separation can be on a relationship.
It's a full year later. Paul is gone again. We are not going out to a fancy dinner tonight. I won't get to put a cute dress on over this pregnant belly. We won't get to flirt and exchange inappropriate incredibly appropriate innuendos. He won't get to reach over and feel our baby kicking to remind us she's coming (and soon!).
Instead, we'll chat for a while over FaceTime. It will be morning for me and evening for Paul. I'll be gearing up for the day and he'll be winding his down. We'll exchange normal chatter and probably a quick house tour of the current decorating progress. It's not ideal. But this Elise and Paul? Us at this point in our marriage? I would pick it every single time over where we were last year - physically together but mentally not on the same page.
Today we are separated by half a globe, but we're in the right space. We're communicating so well and equally motivated to get through these next few weeks and see each other in mid-June, right around our little girl's due date when Paul will fly into San Diego to make our family physically whole again.
The anticipation for Paul's arrival is tied with the excitement I feel knowing that the baby will be coming soon. Regardless of what happens first, it's all wrapped up into one monumental event. This party will be so much more intimate than our wedding but so much bigger than anything we've ever experienced. Unlike the wedding, the planning is out of my hands and no spreadsheet or to-do list can help keep me on track.
But just like the wedding, I so look forward to celebrating one of our "best days" and I know whatever happens, everything will turn out just how it's meant to be.
I love and respect you, Paul. Happy three years. When you get home and this baby is out we'll toast to many more over a great bottle of wine.