Monday, June 24, 2013

Anniversary #2: Year of Trials and Enrichment

The second year of our marriage has arrived. I cannot believe how quickly those two years have flown by. We are approaching our 9th year of being a couple, and still going strong. 

Our second year of marriage was full of lessons, both wonderful, and heart-wrenching experiences to learn from. Without that, we would not have grown to become a stronger couple, gained confidence as parents, and determined individuals. 

The biggest change we had in our marriage was becoming parents. As we watched my belly grow, we shared our fears, dreams, and hopes for our unborn son. We wondered what it was going to be like parents. Given our enormous love for our son, and that we would already give down our lives for him; we still silently worried that a baby was going to change our marriage in undesirable ways. Would we have time for each other anymore? Would we be good parents? Will we make a good team? 

A few weeks prior Forrest's arrival, our uncle had passed away due to a medical complication, and we held our hands at the memorial service as we lend each other strength to get through a sad occasion. Our family was strong especially our aunt. It was a true testimony of family coming together in a time of trial and tribulation to get through a painful moment. 

Suddenly, it was time to bring Forrest into the world. I sat in the backseat with tiny newborn buckled up in his car seat  and my eyes met with Stu's in the rear view mirror. We saw deep love for each other. We also saw new parents' concerns wavering through our sight. We silently spoke through our gaze to each other that we were terrified, and that was alright because we were going to make it. 

We did more than making it. We thrived. Forrest brought something so special into our relationship. He had enriched us. In his little, short life; he had taught us so much about ourselves, and to count our blessings. 

Stu worked long hours to support our growing family. He poured all of his heart into teaching, and coaching. On top of this, he diligently studied for his Master's degree in Administration. Stu got up in wee hours of the morning, barely had time to sit down for breakfast with Forrest, and I, and whisked out of the door before 7 am. He was often not home until past 7 pm, and on some nights especially school nights, he returned home at 9:30 pm. Stu worried that the hours he was often absent that Forrest would become used not having his daddy there. He often walked out of the door, teared up a little as he turned the key in his car, and hoped Forrest understood that the time he was putting in was to give Forrest opportunities, and good life down the road. 

I eased into a role of motherhood without much trouble. There was some tears shed about whether I was doing a good job of being a mom. I struggled to achieve a healthy balance of losing myself completely into being a mom, and retaining the woman I was prior having Forrest. I was overwhelmed by taking a precious little life that relied so much on me for survival, and not having much physical support from family, and friends since we lived 2 hours away from both of our families. I juggled housework, doctor appointments, mom-son outings, mother support groups, family time, marriage, taking care of the pets, taking care of myself, and raising a baby with a husband that was away quite often. It was a bumpy road in the beginning that turned into a smooth path. I learned that it was easier to laugh, and find humor in a beautiful chaos instead of giving into anxiety, and miss out on finding the silver linings in the grey skies. Once I did just that, I became confident, and relaxed as a mother. 

We decided that it was healthier for our marriage, and family to move out of our little flat to a bigger home in a smaller town. We already knew we wanted to return to the town where we both attended college, and found a perfect-sized home to raise our family. We put hard work into packing, and moved half hour away to our new home. 

It turned out to be one of our better decisions. We spent more time in the morning before Stu left to work. The pace went from being very harried to relaxed. I brewed a pot of coffee for both of us, and made breakfast for my men. I smiled with a cup of hot coffee in my hands as I looked at Stu, and Forrest eating scrambled eggs, and toasts while Layla's quivering nose determined whether she was going to get some leftovers. Yes, it was a decision well-made.

We are looking forward to what this year will bring to us, our marriage, and our growing family.

As it is our tradition that was bestowed by wonderful women at my bridal shower; I opened the jar with the stored letters, and searched for an envelope with 2 on it. 

I wondered briefly whose the handwriting belonged to, and what the letter inside had to reveal about our marriage. I opened the envelope, and immediately saw the name. It brought a big smile to my face. It was from one of my favorite family members, and my only living grandmother, Bernice. 

"May you be as happy as you were when you got married.
Be kind to each other.
May you have many years together.
Grandma Bernice Russ" 

Be kind. Those simple words resonate such a profound message especially in a successful marriage.
"Sometimes your spouse is the last person you'll show a little kindness to. He or she should be the first." A.J & Anne Jefferson, married July 18, 1946 (A Love That Lasts: Inspiring Insights from couples married 50 years and beyond). 

Indeed, Grandma Bernice, an advice well written.


  1. What a lovely tradition! And what a lovely couple you are. We just had our 16th anniversary and have been together now 23 years and it all just keeps getting better. I wish the same happiness for you!

  2. Happy 2nd Anniversary! Love the letters thing from your shower.... that's so sweet to get to look forward to that each year. :)