Eight Years

A few years ago I met a friend at the park. While our kids played, we chatted about life, about our crazy mornings with getting kids out the door, about the tantrum at the library and the embarrassing twenty minute serenade of Old McDonald in the stall of the Target bathroom. All those topics moms chat about when they get together. Then the conversation shifted. “I was just reading a study,” she started in, “about how the more children a married couple has, the more marital dissatisfaction they will experience. And three kids is where the greatest decline in happiness was seen.” Little did my friend know that we were expecting baby number three.

My husband and I recently celebrated eight years. I will always remember the first time he said the “L” word. It was evening and we had gone on a hike up a local canyon. At the top of the mountain he pulled out a blanket and his little pocket PC (years before ipods and ipads and smart phones and all those gadgets were invented) and we watched October Sky under the October sky. We could hear elk bugling and the stars were so bright. I was too terrified to say it back that night, but I thought it, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

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I fell in love with my husband for so many reasons. It wasn’t just the fun, creative dates he thought up like our October sky or the fine china and oatmeal he brought along on a Saturday morning hike. Although they certainly helped. He was kind and thoughtful, he was fun and smart. He made me smile, and I wanted to be with him forever.

IMG_0240pre-wedding 079Fast forward eight years. After yet another night of our crazy whirlwind routine of nagging to get three roudy boys in PJ’s, reading some Dr Seuss, brushing teeth, making bathroom stops, prayers, back rubs, songs and kisses, I stood at the sink rinsing dishes. That man I married eight years prior stood next to me with a towel, drying each pot and pan. The glamor of that October Sky seemed so long ago. Those butterflies, that nervous feeling when he took my hand. Suddenly that conversation with the friend at the park years ago came flooding back to my mind. It hit me that in the eight years we have been married, I have been pregnant or nursing a baby for SEVEN of them (crazy, right??). That’s four anniversaries that have come and gone while I’ve sported a tummy the size of a watermelon. 120 accumulated pounds gained and lost (more or less). Holding my hair back as I sat on the tile floor in the bathroom waiting for the next wave of morning sickness to hit more times than he probably wants to remember. Six-and-a-half years of diapers. Two houses bought, one sold, four moves. Countless temper tantrums, many sleepless nights rocking a baby, definitely not enough Saturday mornings of sleeping in.

And three (almost four) of the most incredible miracles we have ever witnessed. And we witnessed them together.

IMG_3720And while we stood there sharing those pots and pans, recounting the funny things the kids said that day, our worries about M starting kindergarten, about work, about all that accompanies that mundane married life we share with our little boys, I realized my love for that man had changed. Three (almost four) kids and all that stress, chaos, and craziness it brings later, I wasn’t dissatisfied. I was filled. I was filled with awe at the father than man had become. I thought about how I fall in love again with my husband every day when I see him wrap his arms around our three little boys. When I hear them ask me, over and over and over and over again, “When is Dad gonna be home?” When he tickles them and wrestles them to the ground, when he hits them with pillows and elicits giggles as he chases them around the dining room table. When he gears them up with work gloves and somehow miraculously motivates three eager helpers to pull weeds around the house. When he talks in his best pirate voice and six blue eyes are fixated on the colorful illustrations on the pages in his lap. I fall in love again and again when I see him being a dad to the boys we get to share together. It’s an entirely different kind of love. Having children hasn’t wrecked our marriage, it’s made it so much more. I had no idea eight years ago that this is what I would be capable of feeling for that man I married.

HPIM1548  IMG_0380 I realized that over the eight years we have shared as a married couple, I don’t love him like I did then. It just isn’t the same as it used to be. It’s no longer about two, it’s about SIX. It isn’t just about a husband and wife, it’s about a mom and dad. It’s seeing him, that man I fell in love with over eight years ago and promised to spend eternity with being a man far greater than I could have ever imagined. It’s waking up in the morning and feeling so grateful to be next to him, loving him, raising our boys. Together. And it is amazing.

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Then…

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…And now

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“Marriage is more than your love for each other. … In your love you see only your two selves in the world, but in marriage you are a link in the chain of the generations…” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Categories: Family, Marriage | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “Eight Years

  1. Sheila

    Beautiful realizations!

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    • Thanks, Sheila! It’s crazy to think it’s been eight years…though that probably really isn’t all that long when you look at the grand scheme of things. 🙂

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  2. Love this! I can totally relate. So much of our lives are focused on our children, but as long as we don’t forget about each other and what we love & enjoy in each other outside of and with the children both…it enriches life. There are strains from the demands of parenthood, but there would be strains from the self centered way of living my husband had settled into (not that he’s bad….he was just used to being single and life revolving around him) that wouldn’t have been stomped out by little feet otherwise. 🙂

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    • I like how you mentioned “outside of and with the children both”…I totally agree! Without kids it would be easy to settle into a more self centered way of life, but it’s easy to forget each other and what ignited that spark with kids. It’s important to have balance! We had a pediatrician when we first became parents that would always ask us if we were going on dates and getting time together. We don’t always get time like we should, but when we do it makes such a difference! By the way, I hope this last month before baby is treating you well! 🙂

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      • We aren’t anywhere near balanced at this point, but at least we know it. LOL We actually got our daughter a TV to just watch a movie in her room in the evening so we could have an uninterrupted conversation without little people input, even though we planned to not allow any television at all in their rooms. LOL (Still not connected to programming.)
        I’m on limited activity from here on out, trying to keep the little one in long enough to be okay. Hope yours is going well! 🙂

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  3. My wife and I will be hitting 8 years next month. We have three boys. She would like another, but I’m running out of youth and money. We admire you your fourth.

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    • Congratulations on eight years as well! Something about having all boys I think makes family life a little unique. I can understand the running out of youth and money…several times over the past few months I’ve thought, “oh my goodness, what are we doing?? Four boys is crazy!” But we’re excited!

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  4. That’s quite a little group of statistics you have going on there, Chelsi. I think you must handle pregnancy MUCH better than I did. If I’d been pregnant that much time early on in our marriage, I think my husband would’ve been certifiable trying to put up with me! You have a lovely perspective and a lovely family….I guess that’s what happens in a loving marriage!

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    • I’ve had pretty easy pregnancies up until this one. This one has been a little harder for some reason! My husband has been very patient though through each one, especially this last one. I remember reading one of your posts from a while back on marriage written like a resume. It was hilarious and fit so well with us! I feel very blessed to have a husband that puts up with all of my goofiness and really loves our boys, as it sounds is the case with your husband as well. 🙂

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      • Ah yes….I remember that post too..thanks so much for letting me know it “spoke” to you. We are both blessed with such great partners…..it isn’t every man that will not only walk beside us and carry us through the hard bits, but is also able to step in and fully carry the needs of the children already in the picture when we’re having a tough time with the next one…..

        My pregnancy with my second son was most horrendous pregnancy on record, I’m quite sure. My husband took care of me, care of himself, and care of our older son while I fell asleep most anywhere! I still say, as miserable as I felt, there was never a time when I knew he loved me more than I did then. There are small blessings even in the worst of trials…..hang in there, Chelsi….can’t be that much longer, right?

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  5. What a wonderful tribute to your husband and the blessings of family. I always love to read your words; you say it so well.

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    • Thanks so much for that. I’m flattered! 🙂 It’s always nice to have others that agree with what you have to say. Especially on things like marriage and family that are so important and mean so much.

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  6. Becky

    Your words are perfect! What we get to go through together so completely binds us together, sometimes it’s just hard to step back and look at what is really happening. Awesome tribute to A. Love – love – love your post!

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    • Thanks, Becky! I think he was a little embarrassed when I told him how many people had read it, but I really am so thankful for what a good husband and dad he is. It’s true–the things we go through in marriage and as a family really does bind us together in amazing ways!

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  7. C

    I LOVE this! I often think to myself (12 years and 4 kids later) “And I thought I loved you then”
    You have an AMAZING talent for writing!

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    • Thanks so much! I think I remember you writing this a while ago with a picture on facebook…I totally agree. Sometimes I look back on our last eight years and think the same thing!

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