The Story of Us
This week is always the biggest week of the year for us. Today is Kai’s birthday, tomorrow is Jackson’s birthday AND his preschool graduation, and of course we’ve got Father’s Day on Sunday. Lots to blog about this week. I could write for hours about how proud I am of Jackson for graduating from preschool. I could go on and on about why this particular milestone is significant to me (it means my baby boy is growing up). But I always write about my kids so I thought I would switch it up.
THIS particular post is dedicated to the other man in my life. The guy I fell in love with 14 years ago. This is a story about where we started and how we got to where we are today. This is my version of the ups and downs of a marriage, and how the introduction of children can change everything. This is a narrative of the first five years we experienced together as parents, and how we survived it.
This, is The Story of Us.
Here is a (very condensed) timeline of our relationship. Just a little background:
1998-2000: Girl meets Boy at UW during her freshman year, Girl and Boy remain friends throughout college
2001: Boy tries to get Girl and succeeds
2002: Boy breaks up with Girl because he is stupid (he is a boy in his early twenties, after all)
2003: Boy realizes he has made a ginormous mistake (finally) and begs Girl to come back to him with a diamond “promise ring” and Girl accepts because she has never stopped loving him (it is a diamond, after all)
2004: Boy and Girl buy their first home together in Seattle, a loft on Pike St.
2005: Boy proposes to Girl while vacationing in Hawaii, Girl accepts
2006: Boy and Girl get married, buy their second home (a condo in Fremont), and adopt their first puppy, Bruno
2006-2008: Husband focuses on career in private banking while Wife finishes law school, Husband and Wife adopt a second pup, Stella, Husband and Wife travel to a handful of cool countries and enjoy married life without children
2008: Husband knocks Wife up, but sometimes things don’t go as planned…
2010-2012: Husband knocks Wife up again and they start a family with the birth of their first baby, Jackson (2010), followed 20 months later by the birth of their little girl, Finley (2012), Husband and Wife move their Family into their new home
2010-2015: Husband and Wife (aka Father and Mother) realize that their lives have become a shit-show and that having kids will throw the romance straight out of a marriage.
*For a more detailed explanation of 2010-2015, see below:
Having kids can be taxing on a marriage. When your first child is born, you are forced into a role you may not be ready for yet. Your spouse is probably just as confused. Life is such a whirlwind during that first year, you can’t even remember the last time you had a real conversation with your husband. When you do acknowledge each other, it’s probably because it’s HIS or HER turn to change a diaper, to do the dishes, or to walk the dogs. I’ll be honest. Kai was not my first priority, or even my second, during the first few years after having kids. And I wasn’t his. Jackson and Finley were pretty much my only priorities. Your marriage takes a back seat; there is zero romance. Raging hormones and breastfeeding can make you irritable, and that sex drive has taken a hiatus. You start arguing about inconsequential matters and you are so exhausted from extreme lack of sleep, you forget what you were bitching about in the first place.
Raising babies and toddlers day after day (and especially both at the same time), can make your blood pressure soar. During the first couple of years, Kai would often come home to a wife who had seriously lost it. I’m talkin’ about some major mental breakdowns – crying on the couch, glass of wine in hand, sitting in a pile of dirty diapers. Welcoming my husband home with open arms every evening should’ve been a priority, but it was the last thing on my mind at the time. I doubt that he cared anyway, since I probably didn’t shower or change my clothes for like the first two years after Jackson and Finley were born. The days become a blur and you start forgetting to give your spouse a kiss when you walk through the door because you’re too busy doting over your kids, whom you’ve missed so much instead. Forming bad habits becomes easier to do, we’re both guilty of that. But as a mother, you are so overwhelmed with your love for your children. So sometimes you forget your husband needs to feel loved too.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to downplay the miracle of having children, because those first few years were also some of our happiest. Sure, there are bad days, but witnessing your baby’s first smile and watching him or her take those first few steps will bring you more joy than you could have ever imagined. You hear your baby say “Mama” or “Dada” for the first time and you tear up when you make eye contact with your husband, because he is also overcome with emotion. And because you’ve never seen him experience that particular emotion before.
But sometimes you almost forget why you married this person you’ve created a family with, because you’re both working so hard to raise this family together. You are so focused on bringing your kids up the right way because you have no idea what that even means, and as a consequence, you have less time to care about the needs of the person you fell in love with, long before your kids even existed. But if you’re lucky (like I think we are), you never actually fall out of love. If you’re lucky, you are able to share the common understanding that this difficult time is just temporary.
Jackson and Finley are getting older and they are more independent now. Finley can still be a firecracker, but I actually have time to breathe throughout the day and we have so much fun together. Parenthood isn’t exactly easy now, but the good days outweigh the bad days, significantly. Things are starting to calm down a little and over the past six months or so, I have started noticing my husband again. Not that I ever stopped loving him, but I am starting to remember how MUCH I love him. We simply have more time to appreciate each other as individuals now and we make an effort to make each other happy. My focus has shifted slightly – I look at him every day and I am reminded again of why I love him… He can make me laugh like no one else in this world, he is kind and he’s the most honest person I know. He is truly a good person. We understand each other and we balance each other out. Doesn’t hurt that he always looks perfect (whether he’s in a three-piece suit or sweatpants) and he also happens to be the most athletically-gifted human being I know. My kinda guy.
Obviously, no one is perfect (we definitely aren’t). And I’m sure we will face challenges together for the rest of our lives – I have no delusions about that. But I love my husband even more now, for the struggles we’ve gotten ourselves through thus far. We have dragged each other through some difficult times, but this is what makes a relationship stronger, after all. Our communication styles are inherently different, but you learn to compromise. Kai is not just the cute soccer player I fell in love with almost 15 years ago. He is now the amazing father of my children and they adore him. I adore him. Decades from now, when I look back on my relationship with my husband, I just hope I can smile and remember that we never stopped having fun together.
Happy birthday babe. We love you!
Here are a few of our most recent Instagram shots from this past year:
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