I'm glad you were born..... You're an amazing, loving Dad and a hardworking, giving Husband. You are brillant and strong and so much fun to be with. You have overcome so much and you still teach me how to grow and be a better person daily. You love me in spite of myself and you have made dreams come true I didn't even have... HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BESTIE!
It is 4 am and I am up. Can't sleep tonight so I'm attempting to be productive, ya know? Catch up on blogs, check out the latest gossip on facebook and surf for the latest pintrest ideas to add to your honey-do list. The thing is, I'm trying to do all that and I want to be productive but all I can really think about is you. You and Me.
and our family. I think about that first day you took me to Beaver Tail Lighthouse. I think about how young we were and how little we slept. We could get enough of each other. and we weren't even dating, yet. you were my best friend. it was awesome.
I think about the day you proposed. Walking up the trail, holding your hand, the sunset reflecting off your red hair. I think about your nerves and I can still hear your voice when you asked me to be your eternal partner. I responded by kissing you and you got flustered because it wasn't a yes or no. really? how could I ever turn you down? I remember your hand on my head. and smiling so big my cheeks hurt.
I remember being newly-weds and laying in bed telling stories. and coming up with dreams of our own. thinking about a future home or names for our someday kids. I remember talking about retirement and travel and you whispered in my ear that none of the specifics mattered as long as we were growing old together. it made me giggle. you were already old, right?
Remember when Ethan was a baby and you'd lay on the bed with him on your chest? I'd complain that you weren't sharing him. You'd laugh and hold him tighter and as soon as he was asleep you'd hold me tighter. I like you holding me, I wish you were holding me now. but I won't go up and wake you now, because I love you too much.
I think about the trials we've been through. The scary moments and tears and lonely times that were only lonely because we loved each other so much. I think about how close I came to losing you and losing those dreams and it still hurts to remember how much I had forgotten that you love me. That's that hing though, you did always love me. even through it all I knew we had something special. I just didn't know what our forever would look like anymore.
This past year in our lives has been amazing. The growth and the peace and the smiles and your strength. You were the best husband in the world this pregnancy, you know that? and I wasn't the best wife, which makes it even more amazing. You know the other day when you pointed out my first wrinkle? it bugged. but it didn't. you touched it and you loved it. then you kissed it and made me laugh. you're always making me laugh. probably because no matter how old we get together you will still be my 11 year old. Our kids are wonderful and lucky to have a Dad that plays legos with them and goofs off with them and answers their questions and shows them by example how to work hard for others.
Speaking of lucky. The thought of spending eternity with you as your partner still gives me butterflies. Eu Te Amo.
I've been uncharacteristically quiet lately. Let me give you a few of my excuses....
1. Cam... seriously. He's cute but he takes up a lot of my limited free time. (and I love it.)
2. Unfinished Projects... I know I have a never ending 'list' of things I'd like to do and get done but, the past month I've really been trying to get caught up. We haven't got everything done this spring that we had hoping (like the pantry project) but, we have gotten our Hardwood Floors in, we've worked a lot on the yard to set up our backyard movie theatre , and we spent a lot of time on my dream laundry room. In fact, I'll post pictures of the progress soon, promise.
3. A new hobby obsession... LOTS of pictures will be posted as soon as I have time to upload and edit.
4. HAPPINESS. Yeah, I know it sounds corny but, I'm probably the happiest I've ever been in my life and I've spent my time actually enjoying it instead of focusing on documenting it. I know, I need to have more of a balance because I know I will look back on this amazing period of my life and wish I had pictures of every second but, really I'm happy, my kids are happy and my husband is happy so I'm not going to worry too much about anything else for now. I miss writting and that therapy so I'm trying to plan time to really sit down and gather my thoughts so I'll be updating more. Sitting down and actually vocalizing it in type has made me realize that just the joy of this last few months has made all the struggles and frustrations of pregnancy or the struggles and pain of autism, & the stress and pain and growth of marriage over the last 9+ years worth it.... to get here and WE ARE HAPPY!! I hope I'm not jinxing myself but allowing ourselves to be happy has actually been something we've had to learn. It's something I don't want to be fleeting but ever present and I'm looking forward ot what the future holds, for all of us!
Something magical happened when we moved here last summer. It wasn't something we noticed immediately but, as we look back a year later we can see it and everyone in the family has noticed the difference. We now have babysitters! I know it sounds silly but seriously, it's made a HUGE difference to our family! Doug and I now go out on regular dates and it's wonderful. We go to the theatre, we check out great local restaurants, we're able to go shopping by ourselves and sometimes we get to go golfing with friends...
Having a weekly baby-sitter is really something we haven't been able to enjoy ever before and now we have multiple babysitters we'd trust with any of our kids all within 5 minutes of the house. It's been over 9 years since we could go out on a whim to the movies or to dinner by ourselves and it's completely changed our marriage. We have so much fun together and are able to be ourselves instead of just in parent mode. While we both look forward to being together all week sometimes Doug forgets exactly who his date for the night is...
It's been 5 years.... Since THIS day..... when Doug told me THIS... and our lives were changed forever.... Thankfully I am happy to say that Husbandface and I are in the happiest place we've been not just in the last 5 years but in our entire lives together. I'm glad I listened to THIS from the Lord and I'm glad we've made it to 10+ years! It's been long enough since then that the hurt/pain and initial wound have healed as much as they can. We've found our happy medium and we are working daily on making each other happy. It's actually wonderful to be able to look back and see how far we've come. It helps me realize how much I almost lost and how much it's worth working for in the future.
Since we moved this past summer I realized I've never really updated anyone on my new ward situation. I know, my last ward wasn't all that healthy for me but even at the time I knew it was still filled with good people, even if they were a little scared, put off, un-supportive of me, Husbandface, us. I still think a lot of it goes back to what I said last spring when I said there is not a road map for this! That being said, A fresh start can do wonders! (on both sides.)
When we moved in I decided to focus on getting my spiritual strength up while I was at church. I wanted to really be emotionally present while I was there, if I met people, great. If I made friendships there then it was just an added bonus but I really did walk in with a feeling of spiritually rather then community. I know, it goes against the mormon model because so much of our lives revolve around the ward as a whole but I think I set myself up like this because of the pain of the last ward.
Husbandface on the other hand, obviously felt different. He made a lot effort to to come to church with me, to get to know new people and to help make them (the ward members) feel comfortable with us as a family. He would encourage me to go even when I wasn't feeling the greatest, he would be sociable and introduce himself to anyone and everyone and even when I went out of town, he'd not only go to ward parties, he'd participate. It was crazy, odd and even slightly wonderful to get texts from him while I was in Cedar City or San Fran about him taking the kids to church or how he went to the Ward Chili Cook-Off (and won!). I enjoyed him taking the kids to The Annual Trunk-r-Treat and not blinking an eye. It was becoming the new normal and while I knew he wasn't getting suddenly converted back to Mormonism (does that even happen?) I also knew he was being supportive of me and my faith in a way that he hadn't in so many years. Frankly, after 7 months, he knows more people in the ward then I do. Since Thanksgiving he's pulled it back a little because he doesn't want the pressure but, still he's been supportive and encouraging and still comes regularly.
It's so good to have him be past the hatred of the church stage, or the bitter stage and I'm sure he feels relieved to have me past the punishing him phase or the threatening stage, or the holding it over his head stage.... Now we've both reached a comfortable level of acceptance and can even see past our differences to see each others strength and happiness in that area. Doug's told me he's proud of me for being a woman of faith and he sees my beliefs in the way I live and raise the kids. I've told Doug that I'm glad he was honest with me and honest with himself even though it was so painful. I'm glad he's exposed me to a world of diversity and shades of grey. I truly feel like it's given me a chance to see the world more through Christ's eyes because I can see the worth of souls regardless of their beliefs and I hope Doug and I can teach that to our kids over the years.
I guess why I'm writing this is because I've realized that I'm not the only one in the world to be going through this or to have gone through this and if I had been able to read or talk to someone who could give me a little positivity for how it turns out, I'd have flipping bathed in the kool-aide they were handing out. There isn't a road map for this mess but it's always encouraging to know that someone has done it and is not only tolerating their lives but living and loving them.... You always hear about the couples that got divorced over it, or are seperating, or the ones that are 'pretending for the sake of the family' or are 'staying because of the kids' (and we've been in those stages too) but that hope, that faith in our MARRIAGE is so much more then important, it's critical. In my opinion, it's an eternal principle that must be learned by every couple, not just the ones struggling through apostasy or the ones with a perfect true-believing picture perfect temple marriage but all of us in-between as well.
So here we are exactly the same amount of time together married before he left the church as after and for some reason it feels significant. 5 years before he left and now 5 years since..... it's funny how my feelings of my eternal marriage have changed and flowed through that time but, I still believe in it, I still have faith in us, I look forward to the trials and the growth we'll still go through together and I still want to spend eternity with my amazing Husbandface.
PS - - Thank You! To everyone that sent me encouraging emails or helpful links, websites and articles or called with words of encouragement.... I realize I couldn't have made it to this happier stage in my life without the support I got from not only my family and close friends but even strangers and loved ones I met through this blog and message boards.