bentangle

Tag: anniversary

Happy Anniversary to my Down-to-Earth Bride

by on May.31, 2009, under About Me, family, parenthood

Rise and shine – it is the dawn of a new day!  At least the sun is technically on its way up.  I’d like to have slept later, but my 2-year-old son scrambling up the stairs to my room prevent that from happening … much like my responsibilities 12 years ago.  I had to be up at the crack of dawn to drive all the way to the church to drop off the license and stop at the soon-to-be-in-laws to drop something off for my fiancee before heading out with the guys to get our tuxes.  Upon returning to my apartment (almost all my groomsmen slept at my place), I have to practically jump on each of them to get them into gear … much as my son is now jumping on me – but only long enough to get over me and snuggle in-between my wife and I.  He is all smiles and fully recharged ready to take on the world.  We take him downstairs and get him some milk and something to eat and veg out on the couch while he watches a show with breakfast.

Later, his 5-year-old sister makes her way out of her room and downstairs to join us.  Before she reaches the bottom there are already a series of questions such as ‘What is he watching?’, ‘Did he eat breakfast yet?’, ‘Do I have school today?’.  I’m barely awake and she is already in a rush to figure out what the day is going to bring … 12 years earlier I’m rushing – rushing from the mall to make it to the church on time.  I get there and get dressed in time to greet a few people arriving early only to be nearly knocked off the sidewalk by my future in-laws pulling up barking for me to get inside as the bride is almost here (which is odd since it is at least a half-hour until the wedding is supposed to start).  So I and my second head inside and are cloistered to the priest’s office adjacent to the alter – as I jog up the aisle to get there, I notice the table in front of the alter has a tapestry hanging from it with a fish in the middle.  While waiting impatiently in the office, the weight of this day starts to hit me … now the weight of my son sitting on my chest starts to wear on my patience so I suggest some breakfast and get to making something (though mostly a mess).

After an enjoyable breakfast (with its share of distractions and escape attempts) and some much needed coffee, my wife and I start thinking about what we should do … I do – that is what I plan to say, what I’ve been waiting to say.  And now with that moment just moments away I start to clam up a bit.  As I work on focusing myself, I remind myself that I’m not afraid of the marriage – I’m looking forward to that – but the wedding.  I’m marrying my best friend and confidante.  The anxiety and fear I feel are all about going out there in front of some 100+ people and trying to make it through an hour(ish) of loosely rehearsed ritual without looking like an idiot.  Focusing on the goal, I find some peace and calm and bottle up the anxiety for later.  And with that, the ceremony breezes by – it is funny how fast your own wedding seems in comparison to everyone else’s.  Other weddings seem to drag on … my son is dragging a chair across the room so that he can reach the lock on the door to go outside.

The weather is nice, so we let them out back to play for a while (give us some time to relax, maybe do some writing).  Occasionally there are some shouts about sharing the swing or where it is appropriate to dig, but generally they are having a good time … 12 years prior, people were having a good time at the reception.  After my new father-in-law did wedding party introductions (many of which were padded with their role in helping set up the keg for this event) and a very good buffet meal (made by Mennonites), we got to the dancing.  Our reception was about as cheap as they come – rented tent and tables in the in-laws’ back yard, buffet catered for $8 a plate, and music a la a borrowed 50-disc changer filled with our CD collection.  We had a list of about 50 songs to play, but every time got to about 20-22 songs into programming it, it would lose everything.  So we stopped at 20 and went with requests from there on (I think that “Bobby McGee” got played about 7 times) … after about the eighth time of telling the kids not to put dirt on the slide, we decide to move on to the rest of our plans for the day (and hide the shovels).  I give my wife her anniversary gift which she is surprised by and asks me how I paid for it (she is that practical).  I whisper into my daughter’s ear to tell her mom ‘happy anniversary’ and as she does with a big smile and then her brother parrots the sentiment and they both charge in to hug my wife, I know that there is no where that I’d rather be.

After twelve years, my wife is still my best friend in the world.  And the only love I’ve every felt that compares is what I feel for my two children.  I cannot imagine my life without my family and I plan to continue to enjoy their company for decades to come.  I can only hope that this past 12 years has simply been the dawn of a beautiful era of my life.

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Friday 5: Formula for 12 Years and Counting

by on May.29, 2009, under About Me, family, health

Okay, in hindsight I probably should not have kicked off this meme with a list about an ex-girlfriend … a week before my wedding anniversary.  Granted, my wife is my best friend and this is not an area of discomfort or strife, but some things are better left unspoken – which is one of the things I will get into in this weeks list:  5 things that have made our marriage work (who knows, they may work for you as well).  I’m writing this today because in 2 days my wife and I will be celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary.  After all this time, I feel just as close and in love with my wife as ever.  So without further ado, here is my list (I’m sure she will have some points of contention, but this is MY list, not hers):

  1. Trust:  While this seems to be a no-brainer, I’ve seen (and been in) too many relationships that lacked a good foundation of trust.  If you cannot trust your partner, than it puts distance between you.  What is important to note about trust is that it is not the same thing as honesty, but if it goes both ways then honesty will naturally be there.  With weak trust, you can end up with jealousy, guilt, and suspicion which can lead to lying, anger, and vindictive behavior.  I trust my wife and I know she trusts me.  As a result, I don’t feel the need to hide things from her or worry that she is hiding anything from me.  Trust also makes for more open conversation – for instance trust allowed me to tell my wife that I accidentally kissed a co-worker’s hair (she cracked up over it) and trust allows me not to be concerned about the guy from high school that she is still friends with who always had a crush on her.
  2. Respect:  Again, this should be a given, but again, I’ve seen many relationships that were missing this element and it usually ends badly.  You and your partner need to be equal peers in the relationship and respect each others rights and wishes.  If you don’t treat your partner as an equal, the relationship will never have balance and is bound for strife.  Also, as important as respect for each other is respect for oneself.  Also, respect for your partner can also equal omission – for instance, my wife had no issue with the fact that I went to a strip club for my bachelor party (she trusts me), but to have photographic evidence of it that she happened upon a year or two later she was less happy about.  Out of respect, I should not have kept that (accessible).
  3. Identity:  A common flaw in logic in many relationships is the belief that you can make your partner what you want them to be – that what they are is a potential that you can steer in the right direction.  The truth is that what you see is what you get, so if you don’t like what you see then walk away.  In order for a relationship to work, each member needs to maintain his/her own identity.  This is not to say that there is no dependence, but the dependence that is there should be to support each other’s identities and help each other reach their own potential (it can be encouraged, but not forced).  A good sense of identity has allowed my wife and I to occasionally go out to the movies and see separate movies.
  4. Patience:  Any relationship will at times test the limits of its members in many ways, and most often will test one’s patience with the other.  You have to realize that no matter how compatible, you and your partner are different people who led different lives and have different goals and ideas.  At times those differences will put you and your partner at odds with each other.  It is important to be patient with the rate at which your partner grows and evolves.  Just as you each have independent hopes and dreams, you have independent fears and insecurities.  And as much as you may find yourself wanting to tell them to snap out of them and move on, it isn’t always that simple.  There are likely such issues your partner is thinking the same about you.  Impatience leads to intolerance and frustration.  My wife’s patience has allowed me to take my time working out my career path (and it was a long and winding road – believe me).
  5. Levity:  While this is last in my list, it is certainly not the least.  It is really as simple as this – if you cannot laugh with your partner, then you may as well start crying.  Everyone has their own brand of relationship jest – my parents use insults, my wife and I use sarcasm … and to an extent insults as well (they work so well and come so easily sometimes).  So long as your humor maintains the lines of trust and respect without treading on each other’s identities or revealing gaps in patience, then it is hard to go wrong (unless you just aren’t funny – can’t help you there).  My wife and I often mix jabs of sarcasm as well as self-deprication into most things we do together.  Maybe it is a warped perspective, but I feel that you can only really insult those you respect – otherwise you are just being mean.

Wow, that ended up being a lot longer than I intended.  If you are still reading, I’m sorry about that.  I hope that this proved to be interesting/insightful/thought-provoking.  If so, feel free to share your thoughts – even if it is to say that it sucks (I’m open to levity).

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Date Night

by on May.23, 2009, under family, health, money

They are too few and too far between, but this evening I took my wife out to dinner.  We considered extending the evening by going to see a movie, but after paying the bill for our fancy dinner, we decided to call it a night.  But it was at least nice to eat a meal together where we could eat and converse without outbursts, interruptions, or the frustrations of getting our children to sit still and eat something.

The reasons that we don’t do such things more often are many, but here is the short list:  lack of time, lack of money, and lack of available sitters.  On the issue of time, there simply doesn’t seem to be enough of it lately.  I often don’t get home from work until 7PM, occasionally have to do more work in the evenings and weekends once I’m home, and the free time that we have together is always busy doing things as a family.  We are lucky to manage to sit and eat three meals in a day at all none the less together and with significant planning.  As for money, a single income only stretches so far.  My wife is very sensible and frugal and stretches every dollar she has an opportunity to spend.  But with a mortgage and 2 car payments, our entertainment fund is nearly non-existent.  Finally, sitters – we have yet to actually procure paid sitter services.  I know that there are sites where you can find and contact local and reputable sitters, but neither of us have the time to vet one properly and that would also have to come out of the entertainment fund.  We do have access to some free sitter services, but schedules rarely align properly.

But tonight, things seemed to align – we had a willing (and free) sitter available, the kids were in good spirits, it was a nice day … and we had a coupon.  So we got dressed up (ish) and headed out to a nice little Italian place (the kind with a fairly short menu and very few pasta dishes on it).  We had a pleasant conversation along with good food from appetizers to dessert.  And now that we have done so, my wife can feel less guilty next weekend when she leaves me with the kids to go camping with her girlfriends … on our anniversary (our 12th – what is that, silk?  I can’t think of any camping items that should be made of silk).  I kid – no guilt necessary.  It is just a day after all.  We celebrate the marriage every day.  And the milestone will be no less important apart.

Hopefully we will make the time to go out more often in the future.  Only time will tell.  But expect to see more entries this week relating to my significant other and related topic.  In retrospect, as important a part of my life as she is, I probably should be writing more along those lines all the time.  The sentiments are there, just the expression seems too few and too far between.  I’ll have to work on that.

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