My dearest husband,
Today we celebrate eight years of marriage -- when did we get so old? One day we were passing notes in 7th grade band class, and suddenly we are in our 30s with a real house and real kids like we are real grown ups. It makes me think back to...
...the first year, when I had just graduated and you were finishing your last semester of college. We lived in a 400 sq ft apartment in married housing on Michigan State's campus, and I got a temporary job at Bed Bath & Beyond. Life was simple, bills were small, and we were so happy to finally be reunited after spending four years apart during school.
...the second year, when we were living in St. Louis. We were both so busy working full time and attending graduate school in the evenings. Then we bought our first house and any last free minute was sucked up by replacing ugly green carpet, repainting neon yellow walls, and
...the third year, when we traveled to Ireland and decided to book through a tour company because were too busy to plan the trip ourselves. We ended up seeing the country with a bus load of retirees who hit the pubs in the evenings while we collapsed in exhaustion in our room. We may have looked like pansies, but I had an absolute blast with you.
...the fourth year, when we were finishing grad school and preparing to start a family. I was doing my practicum as a counselor with Washington University in St. Louis, and I worried I'd get morning sickness and have to bolt from a session to throw up in the bathroom. Nothing shows empathy and acceptance like some barf on a client's shoes. That fear, of course, never materialized.
...the fifth year, when we experienced the devastation of infertility. We endured what seemed like an endless barrage of tests and treatments, all ending up with Big Fat Negatives. The stress of this can push some couples apart, but it pulled us together. I was reminded why I married you, as you always remained concerned about the toll it was taking on me.
...the sixth year, when we finally saw that long-awaited positive home pregnancy test. I will never forget your reaction when I showed you the two lines. We went to Grand Cayman for our anniversary, our last trip taken as a couple. You were offered a job promotion if we relocated to Seattle, and I declared I would move there over my dead body.
...the seventh year, when we moved to Seattle. And only three months later, our precious baby Bean was born. What an adjustment! We thought we would never survive those first weeks. We feared that parenthood was beyond our capabilities, and worried that we would never see four hours of uninterrupted sleep again. Sadly, it turns out we were right about that last part. (And sometimes, even the first part.)
...the eighth year, when we got pregnant with the twins -- our IUI was on our last anniversary, in fact! We continued to enjoy Bean as he grew into toddlerhood, and we were assured to see that our missteps as parents haven't seemed to cause any irreparable damage (yet!). Then with three months of complete bedrest, you rose to the challenge of caring for me once again. It paid off with two gorgeous, enormous, and healthy twin boys.
This next year will be crazy, without a doubt. Truck loads of diapers, gallons of spit-up, and countless nighttime awakenings. But more importantly, big toddler hugs, baby coos and giggles, and with the help of my parents, a few stolen moments being the same young couple that nervously held hands during our first date to Homecoming in high school. You still smile at me as if I am the most beautiful girl you've ever seen, and it makes my heart flutter just like it did at 16.
I hope you enjoy the Chocolate Chili Cupcakes that I made for you today. (Bean "helped" make the batter, so not only did they take extra long to prepare, but they are baked with extra love.) The recipe calls for either ancho chili powder or chipotle chili powder, but I put in both because I know how much you love spice. Here's to keeping the spice in our life -- in our marriage -- forever!
My love always,