Thursday, November 01, 2012

Defining Our Marriage, Part 2

Make sure you have read the first part of this entry to know what it is I am talking about.  I'll continue with talking about the events or characteristics that have defined our first ten years of marriage.

Friends and Family:  We have been blessed with amazing friends and family.  Some people don't have family that they are really close to or perhaps, that they don't get to see that often.  Other people may not have a big set of friends with whom they can let loose, have fun, and enjoy wonderful times together.  We are lucky enough to have both and we fully take advantage of that.  I think we have done a really good job at balancing family time with friend time.  Sure, we have had to miss various things because of choosing one over the other, but in the end, it has been a really good balance over these ten years and we have had so many wonderful memories with both groups.

Loss:  At the beginning of our marriage, it was unthinkable that by the end of our first decade of marriage, Jess would have lost both of her mothers already.  Hell, even five years into our marriage, it didn't seem like something even remotely on the radar.  But things took a drastic turn and within a year and a half period, Jessica lost both of her moms.  The deaths, while significant and devastating because we had two absolutely strong, beautiful, courageous women taken from us, are only part of the story.  If anything, the things I will remember will be everything leading up to the actual passings: the long nights, the close calls, the teary goodbyes, the emotions, and so much more.  Through it all, Jess remained as strong as ever.  She could have shut down, she could have let the wave of emotions take over, but she didn't and through these difficult times, she showed me how strong she could truly be.

This is my memory of Jess during these times: keeping a vigil.

Pregnancy:  I wish I could say that the deaths were the only major traumatic events in our first decade of marriage.  Those of you who know us know that not to be true.  In fact we had to deal with this almost the entire duration of our marriage.  Our struggles with infertility have been something weighing on us for years.  It has brought us many days and nights of tears, heartache, worries, and stress.  It brought us to the highest of highs when we finally got pregnant, got an ultrasound, and saw our baby's heartbeat, only to bring us to the lowest of all lows when there wasn't a heartbeat on the next ultrasound.  After years of trying, early miscarriages, and scientific involvement, we thought we had achieved our goal, but it just wasn't meant to be.  I am not sure I have ever cried harder.  We just didn't understand how something we wanted so bad, how something that so many other people get to have, just wasn't happening for us, and this has weighed on us for so long now.  But you know what, we're surviving.  We're kind of getting adjusted to the fact that it probably isn't going to happen for us and at this point, we are starting to be ok with it.  We are blessed in so many other ways and even though there will always be some small part of our heart that will feel empty, we will move on and be happy with everything else we have been blessed with in our lives.

The Nephew: You know, even though we have a small hole in our hearts from not being able to have a child of our own, I have to say that most of that hole has been filled with the birth of our nephew in June of 2011.  It was hard at the very beginning knowing that my sister would be having a baby before we did, but we quickly got over it, almost as quickly got excited for it, and eagerly anticipated his birth.  And he's done more for us than we could have ever possibly imagined.  We love that boy.  Not only is he our nephew, but we are blessed to be his godparents and I'll tell ya, we couldn't have hand picked a better child to call our godchild.  When we are with him, we really don't think about what we don't have any more.  We don't feel any jealousy.  We just feel complete and total love for him and if we are never blessed with a child, he is definitely the next best thing for us.  Heck, when he is acting up, we sometimes feel blessed that we DON'T have any kids.  :-)  But in all seriousness, we love him so much and he is exactly what we need.

Love and Laughter: If there is one thing that really defines our first decade of marriage, I would have to say it is the love and laughter we still share.  Nothing has changed since the day we were married.  There was no 7 year itch.  In fact, things just get better and better.  We still leave each other love notes.  We still say I love you at night, kiss goodbye whenever we go somewhere, and hold hands whenever we can.  Someone once asked Jess, "Wow, you guys still hold hands?"  Of course!  Why shouldn't we?  I mean, we don't try to put on a show and be overly lovely to make others jealous or anything, but that is just how we are with each other.  Alone in our own home, we are still the same way.  We still cuddle almost every night before bed, cuddle on the sofa or lay down so we can get our feet or head rubbed, and give each other loving looks from across the living room.  And we try to make the other one laugh as much as possible.  We're married, but we are best friends in every definition of the word.  We actually enjoy each other's company.  We take pride in the compliments we get sometimes about how we are a great couple.  But we don't do anything special to try to get people to think this; it's just who we are and what you see; the affection, the laughter, the closeness, the friendship - it's really how we are whether people are watching or not.  It has been a wonderful decade and I can't imagine being happier with any other person.

I love you, Jess.  Here is to many more decades to come.