My husband and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary this week. The number seemed pretty remarkable to me until I found out my grandparents had just celebrated their 68th anniversary and realized that we have a ways to go to get into the “remarkable” category. Thinking about how we are still at the beginning of our marriage in many ways helped me put into perspective this journey we are on of being a family and building a family. This has been the hardest year we have had since we got married, yet there will inevitably be harder ones to come. After all, there will hopefully be many more years to come.
To be clear, the challenges we have had this year aren’t really so bad, and I realize how privileged I am to say that this year has been the worst. We have had it good. We have had it really good, especially in regards to current events. In fact, since I had Roland, we’ve been a pretty tight-knit family. But, then we had illnesses, and infestations, and a hospital stay, and more illnesses, and our washer broke. Just when we start to feel like we have everything under control, something else comes up (most recently lice and our air conditioner breaking for the second time this summer). Like all the things that came before, these challenges are just hiccups, albeit time-consuming, super-expensive hiccups. While annoying, they will go away. We just have to get through them without damaging our relationships along the way.
Through these experiences (along with being newly outnumbered by our children), my husband and I have needed each other more than we had ever before. We have been forced to be vulnerable and have had to ask for each other’s help. After nine years of getting comfortable within our independent ways of relating, that’s not a bad thing. Even though these experiences have brought us together in many ways, it’s felt extremely stressful at times. I have certainly lost my cool more often than I’d like to admit, but we have given each other space to be upset and time to recover.
Although my husband and I have been pretty good roommates for the last nine years, when a new baby gets added to the mix just as everything else starts unraveling, it’s hard to remain calm. When your time and finances are drained at the same time as you lose any hope for a full night of sleep, it’s hard to stay nice to the people who are closest to you. When your attention is constantly being stolen by the crisis of the moment, it’s more difficult than ever to make sure you pay attention to those you love the most. In the broad scheme of things, our challenges are nothing. Still, it’s been a hard year for us, and it’s okay to acknowledge it and celebrate the family we have become in the process.