photo by the Goodness
Five years ago today, I was waking up in a hotel room with my mom. I had a pounding headache, thanks to a tremendously fun rehearsal dinner where an un-mentionable amount of wine was consumed. I tried to eat breakfast, popped some Advil, put on my red heart headband and favorite shirt and started turning orange roses into centerpieces. Later that afternoon, I married my best friend and best match. My trapped on a desert island necessity? It's not a pocket knife and it's for sure not mascara. It's Paul. If he's there (and he packed some sunscreen), I'll be okay.
Four years ago today, I was living in Little Italy in San Diego. I had feathered our little nest with DIY projects and was working for myself, trying to figure out exactly what I wanted my business to be. My marriage, it seemed, was struggle-free, with a heavy emphasis on good home cooked meals, long runs through the neighborhood and twice weekly visits to our favorite bar for happy hour. That evening, I put on my rehearsal dress (and a sweater) and we walked to dinner to toast one year.
Three years ago today, I was living in a townhouse by the beach. We were still adjusting back into life as two. What they don't tell you about deployments is that everything gets screwed up. Not just the time that your partner is gone. But the time before as you wait in limbo for them to leave and then the time after as you wait for normal life to settle back in. It sucks. Communication, which for so long was via email and bad skype connections, sucks. That night, we drove up the coast to get dinner. We sipped drinks awkwardly. And then, around appetizers, something clicked back into place and we talked like normal humans who understood each other. A few days later, we transitioned into what will always go down as one of the best summers of my life.
Two years ago today, I was back in San Diego again. Alone, but not really since I had a 30 week baby Ellerie growing in my belly. Paul and I chatted a few times that day via facetime and each time I marveled at how much better our connection was this year compared to last, despite the 6000 miles in between us. I am not sure what I had for dinner. Most likely something low-carb as my current foe was gestational diabetes.
One year ago today, I woke up with both Paul and my sweet baby girl home. I spent the day reading Ten Little Ladybugs, spooning applesauce, pumping milk and asking Ellerie to show me how big she was. I was still a bit underwater in my new mamahood role. We were in a month of tough night shifts and I was looking forward to another shot at finding normal. I'm pretty sure Paul worked that evening. We celebrated four years the next weekend when family was in town.
Today, I'll wake up with a smile on my face. The past five years feel like a lifetime (and they are for one of us) but also like a moment. This life we have built is made up of moments. Some hard, some amazing, some tender, some awkward. There have been mountain top moments and crashes back to earth. There have been tremendous successes and spectacular failures. There have been so many tears and so many heartbeats. Thankfully, there have been more victories than battles. Tonight, we will hug and kiss Ellerie and leave her with our favorite baby-sitter. We'll go to a restaurant and sit down at a table. We'll relax when the waiter takes forever. We'll discuss which cocktail will lend itself best to a mocktail (the one that has berries). We'll talk and laugh about work and life and Ellerie antics. We'll imagine this baby that's joining our family. We'll wonder where our family and our careers will be in the next five years. And all the years after that.
I love you and I like you, Paul. You're my best friend. You're my best match. Happy Anniversary. FIVE YEARS DOWN, SEVENTY TO GO!