for better or for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish;
from this day forward until death do us part
Today is our 5 year anniversary. I think this is supposed to be a “bigger” anniversary, because it’s a half decade, or at least, my husband seems to think it is, since he has repeated several times over the past month, “It’s our five year anniversary. We have to celebrate! It’s a big one!”
But while the sentiment is sincere, the enthusiasm is strained.
2017 has not been good to us, on so many fronts. As I alluded to in my last post, we’ve been dealing with so much. We’re exhausted, and depressed, and overwhelmed.
Put simply, we’re dealing with the “worse”.
Last weekend, as he once again drummed up some forced enthusiasm for our impending anniversary, I realized that I needed to somehow, some way, carve out a little corner of gratitude for this day. Despite the, for lack of better word, clusterfuck that has been our lives for the past few months, we are good.
Really good. I mean, distracted and strung out and broke and sleepless, but good. I realize that sounds weird. But I know what it is to take stress and anxiety and depression out on your partner. Been there, done that, have the divorce decree. I know how easily the planets in the orbit can chip away at the sun.
Our life has been hard lately. And it would be so easy to take all that anger, and resentment, and anxiety, out on each other. But we’re not.
We’re in this together.
So, in an attempt to acknowledge gratitude for that not-so-small favor, I put one picture from each year of our marriage up on my Instagram this past week. I included the following description with each picture:
Q: What do 2010, 2012 and 2017 have in common?
A: Therapists, lawyers, children in crisis, PTSD, medical bills, and oceans of tears.
But you know what they also have? My silver lining, my fearless warrior and the love of my life. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light. Hatred cannot drive out hatred, only love. This Friday will be our 5 year anniversary. I’m counting down the years.
Summer 2013 – married one full year. Our road trip to Florida with a 13, 11 and 8 yr old. I don’t have a blog post for our 1st anniversary – this blog didn’t exist yet.
January 2014 – our 2nd year of marriage. This was our trip to Cancun to see my dear friend Sarah get married. 2nd anniversary blog post here.
August 2015: 3rd year of marriage, and first day of school (ie work). No, we don’t plan to color coordinate. Yes, we often do. 3rd anniversary blog post here.
March 2016: 4th year of marriage, and my husband’s 40th birthday trip to Seattle and Vancouver, Canada. He likes “real” photos. Like us in an elevator heading to Stanley Park. This is typical of the photos he takes of us. 4th anniversary blog post here.
Traditionally, for our anniversary, I revisit some pictures from our wedding. I was lucky enough to have my very talented friend Wendy do our wedding photography, and I have countless gorgeous photographs from that day.
But this year? This is the picture that rings true for me.
I know, I know, it’s not a “traditional” wedding moment. This was taken just after my best friends gave our wedding toast; if you look carefully, you can see the remnants of the verklempt on my husband’s face (I had just finished a full out cry). My friends spoke, in not-so-specific-terms, of my fight to get to this moment. Of how they were so worried about me. Of how so many people in that room weren’t sure I would make it. And of how my husband came along and helped me piece myself back together again.
At some point, as we stood there, holding hands, me crying, listening to women who knew me, and loved me, best in the world, my 2 younger children came up and clung to us (my oldest is just out of the shot, behind my daughter). There we were, hands clasped, standing firm, with the boy wrapped around my husband, and my daughter curling into me.
Five years later, in so many ways, we are still holding this pose.
Right now, at this moment in time, 5 years into our marriage, we’re not able to focus our attention on each other. We’re not romantically gazing into each other’s eyes. Right now, at this moment in time, our children need every ounce of strength, time, attention and resources that we have.
But we’re still clasping hands. United. Protecting our family.
Happy anniversary to my rock, my partner, my amazing role model and provider for our 3 children. Their eyes are always on us, and I am so grateful and proud to have someone like him holding my hand, and holding me up.