Today, Nick and I celebrate our third wedding anniversary. We have known each other for seven years now and have been committed to each other for six and a half of those years. When I look back on the time we’ve spent together, it feels like a lifetime. We have been tested in many ways over what seems like such a short time chronologically and I am so proud to say that we are still standing, together.
Marriage hasn’t been easy, but, I knew our life together likely never would be.
I grew up in a beautiful seaside town outside of Boston filled with enormous historical homes occupied by prominent doctors, lawyers and business people. Most of the mothers in our town stayed at home. My mom was an exception to the rule – she owned her own design business and worked, but because she wanted to, not because she had to. I think by osmosis I always imagined that I would have a similar freedom: I would fall in love with someone whose situation would allow for me to choose how I spent my days. Maybe I would be a stay-at-home-mom for a while. Maybe I would work part-time or for myself like my mom did. The sky would be the limit for me.
Ironically, most of the men I dated in my twenties were indeed very financially secure and successful. (I didn’t seek them out intentionally, it just happened that way.) Then, I met Nick. Nick was unlike anyone I’d ever met before: rough around the edges but self-aware, authentic and someone who sparkled with goodness. At first, we were just friends who had met through work and we spent lots of time together with mutual friends. He didn’t fit any sort of traditional mold – he was starting a new career at 30 (bold and financially disastrous), he wore the same clothes he’d owned since high school, he rode a bike everywhere that he’d cobbled together himself with used parts and his hair always looked like a floor mop. He lived in a tiny room in the moldy basement of a glorified frat house in South Boston that reeked of beer and old socks. He delicately made it known that he wanted a relationship but I resisted it for as long as I could until finally, I stopped listening to my head and started listening to my heart - surrendering to the reality that I’d met my person – and he was nothing like what I’d imagined or planned for.
I knew Nick was my person because of the character he revealed to me slowly over time. It was the way he treated people with deep compassion and respect – from the homeless man panhandling on the corner of his office block and the bus boy at a restaurant to his elderly grandmother. It was the way he thoughtfully cared for every one of his possessions as if they were plated in gold, each having a special place. It was the fact that he listened to everything I said and remembered even the smallest details of a dream I had or a goal I’d been harboring since girlhood. It was the refreshing sense of humor he brought to every situation, regardless of the circumstances. It was the way he tackled every challenge: head-on with no fear of failure. It was his ability to fix or lift or build anything. It was his curiosity about the world. It was his boundless energy and a thirst for adventure that rivaled mine. It was his interest in understanding my fiercely-held feminist values and political beliefs. Most of all: it was the way he interacted with children and young people – with patience, imagination and love. I knew he would be an incredible father and that made me love him more than I have ever loved anyone else.
May 9, 2015
So, here we are, three years of marriage and six years of love later. One child in an almost-full-body cast and another one coming in six weeks. We both work full time and our schedules are hectic and to-do lists never-ending. I will never be a stay at home mom or even someone who works part-time. I am the breadwinner in our household and this is a responsibility I have learned to not only accept but embrace and celebrate. There are no grand, sweeping romantic gestures in the form of fine jewelry or plane rides to surprise weekends away. We go on dates to our mutual dentist's office.
On the train en route to the dentist!
Our love runs deep and it is honest: we have seen the best and absolute worst of each other. Nick knows who I am inside and out and he loves me in spite of it all. We've tested that whole "in sickness and in health" part pretty thoroughly at this point and our love has persevered. Our love is a practical one wrapped up in combined student loan debt and a schedule taped weekly to the refrigerator denoting who is responsible for meals and who is in the office each day. Our time together is spent in doctor’s offices, doing yard work, going grocery shopping and sorting medical bills. None of this is glamorous but it is real, it is solid and it is full of love and laughter. When you truly love each other to the core, every step of the journey is a magical one - even the hardest pieces.
In these three years, we have been challenged by financial hardship, layoffs, job changes, deaths in the family, sickness, almost losing our first child, actually losing our second child, fighting to have a third. Through it all, Nick has been my rock. He is the most incredible father – not just someone who “helps out” but an equal partner in all aspects of this parenting journey. He gives everything he has to our family: every dollar he earns, every bit of energy, every ounce of love – and we are better for it.
His shoulder is always ready for a nap or a good cry
We don’t always see eye-to-eye and our discussions are often heated given we are two stubborn, passionate and strong-willed individuals, but we are getting "better at fighting" every day and in the end, we always find a middle ground because we really, truly love each other.. For us, marriage is about building a family on a foundation of love and gratitude for the gifts we have. We run on compromise, communication and respect.
Julia Child said "the secret of a happy marriage is finding the right person. You know they're right if you love to be with them all the time" - and this, I believe, is the reason ours works. I have more fun with Nick sitting in traffic than I would with someone else sitting on a cruise through Europe. He makes me laugh until I cry, he challenges me to be the best version of myself, he is fiercely dedicated to our family and our future. He brims with integrity and is so authentically himself, he inspires others to be comfortable in their own skin. He makes me feel safe and loved - and what a gift that is.
Here’s to marriage – and to all the anniversaries to come with my sweet partner ❤