As I look back on the memories from my Timehop app & “On This Day” on Facebook, I had a chance to reread my anniversary entry from last year. I was quickly brought to tears remembering the state of mind we were in. The grief was still so raw. Our loss so new and our future still so uncertain. Fast forward 12 months and boy life sure is different.
A few days ago we witnessed some of our dear friends say their own wedding vows on a beach in Mexico. I always admire couples who say their own vows because the thought of doing that on our wedding day gave me great anxiety! I was so terrified of looking like a big ol’ dummy. And I had always dreamed of saying those traditional vows on my wedding day. Paul really wanted to say our own wedding vows but I chickened out. So today, on our third wedding anniversary, I have written my own vows for you, Paul.
I think back on these last six years (and last year in particular) and my heart swells with pride. When we met six years ago, I had no idea the adventures I was about to embark on. From the lazy sundays spent watching Lost and eating Cafe Izmir to our epic road trip to New Orleans & Pensacola. From visiting Harry Potter world to unpacking boxes in our new house. From our “reading dates” to our gym dates. Life with you sure has been beautiful.
You have opened my eyes to a world that I never knew was possible. You live life large and fearlessly. You are unapologetically yourself – 100% of the time. You cut your hair into a mullet and wear fanny packs. You’re closet consists of a third Hawaiian Shirts, a third weird t-shirts, and a third Christmas shirts/sweaters. You bring out a light in those around you – ensuring that others are comfortable being themselves. Your confidence in yourself is infectious. I quickly learned that I too could be myself around you without fear of you wanting to change me. You do not judge me when you open Netflix and see a Disney movie as my most recently watched movie. Or when you find peanut butter cup wrappers in the couch cushions….for like the 5th time. You do not make me feel silly for having a truly ridiculous obsession with Harry Potter. And unicorns. And glitter. And Kelly Clarkson. You make me feel like I can be ME and that it will always be enough for you.
You have loved me through our darkest days. When Cora died, you would wake to me sobbing in bed or fall asleep to me sobbing again. In the height of my grief, I felt so guilty that I had denied you the chance of becoming a father. I know it was not my fault but when we lost Cora, I could not help but feel as though my body had betrayed me. And in turn, betrayed you. You never for a second let me dwell on those thoughts. You never let me go down that rabbit hole. You have never made me feel stupid for the emotions I was feeling. You were never impatient when I would randomly start crying (or when I still do). You never balked at the scariness of the situation we were in. I still remember looking out our back window and watching you cut down a Crabapple tree in anger and frustration. When you came back in the house, the difference in your energy was palpable. You encouraged me to start this blog – putting deeply person details of our lives out for the whole world to see because you knew it would help me.
As I wrote to you on Father’s Day – you have been a Father for two years. Through both of our pregnancies, you have cared for me unconditionally. You spent two years changing Klaus’s litter box 🙂 . You spent two years helping me get my boots on and off. You spent two years holding your breath while waiting for updates from my doctor’s visit. You spent two years talking to my belly and rubbing my back. You have spent two years convincing me that no I do not look fat in that dress but I sure do look pregnant 🙂 🙂 .
Becoming a parent with you has become our greatest adventure. I knew we were a strong team but these past 4 months have shown that team work is one of our greatest strengths. A close second is our ability to laugh with each other. These past 4 months have been exhausting and stressful. But also rewarding and exciting. I want to remember these first few months of feeling so accomplished when we got Rowan feeding correctly (it was a team effort!). When we would be dying of laughter while trying to change a diaper blowout together. Watching you give Rowan his nightly bathes that he has come to love so much. I want to remember the time when you literally hand fed me quesadillas while I had both my hands occupied while nursing. I want to remember you waking in the night to help me get my pillows straightened so I can nurse comfortably. I want to remember the silly stories you’ve already told Rowan. I want to remember the moments, just after Rowan was born, of you running between myself and Rowan – you kept shouting updates to me so that I knew Rowan was okay. You knew I was scared of not seeing him immediately so you did your best to be my eyes. I want to remember these days of pure joy – so much joy that I feel like my heart could burst. For its those days with you that carry me through the tough days.
And now, Paul, my vows to you:
I promise to keep practicing patience and kindness – especially when times are stressful. (Hellooooo screaming baby with sleep deprived parents!) . I promise to keep laughing at your silly jokes and exaggerated stories. I promise to support you and encourage you in all that you do. While I cannot promise that we won’t have more dark days, I promise to help clean up Crabapple tree limbs should the need arise. I promise to support any weird hair choices and a growing fanny pack collection so that you can be you. I promise that you will find more peanut butter cup wrappers in the couch and that I will want each new edition of Harry Potter that is ever released. I promise to love our little family with every fiber of my being. Most importantly, I promise to honor our wedding vows that we promised to each other 3 years ago. For better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish, until death do us part.
I love you, my sun and stars.