Speaking of busy, did I mention we have three kids now? Ryan was able to get about a week off of work right after I got home from the hospital, so I had a week to ease into being a mother of three. Then, the day he went back to his 10-hr work shift--my first day home alone with all three girls--I found this when I woke up.
And finally, this.
I was exhausted, my hormones were wacky, I was nervous--but suddenly, I didn't feel alone. And throughout the day, as I saw those notes, I was somehow able to be more patient, more loving, and less crazy with our three girls.
As I've thought about my husband, our relationship, and all the things I could say for our anniversary, I'm reminded of a post I saw years ago on Facebook that said something to the effect of, "Don't go for the boy who calls you hot, go for the man who calls you beautiful." It was shared by a teenage friend of mine, and it's not bad advice, per se. Ever since then, however, when I've found myself falling in love all over again, I've wanted to offer my own advice to the girls who are trying to decide who deserves their hearts. Here, year by year, are some of those bits of advice.
When we were engaged, I would have said, "Marry the man who makes you laugh."
During year one of our marriage, a year that included some unusual circumstances and PTSD, it changed to, "Marry the man who makes you laugh when you think you've forgotten how."
Second year married, I learned about morning sickness, and would have said, "Marry the man who calls you beautiful as he holds your hair while you puke."
Third year married, I would have said, "Marry the man who calls your daughter beautiful as he holds her while she pukes."
Fourth year married, we adjusted to military life--something neither of us had ever planned on. "Marry the man who's willing to put dreams on hold to do what's right for his family."
Fifth year married, I was home with two very young toddlers while the military occupied Ryan for 14 hours a day. Recognizing that I was going crazy, he started sending me ballroom dancing every week. "Marry the man who tells you it's okay to have both a family and your dreams."
Now, at six years married, I feel like all those things have come back around. In this year alone, he's made me laugh (even when things were hard), he's helped me through morning sickness again, he's taken care of our sick girls, he's pushed through new changes and challenges with military life (even though sometimes he'd rather not), and he's helped and encouraged me in my dreams (writing dreams, this time).
He got home last night after three weeks away. Our new daughter is only 7 weeks old, and I was checking those notes on the wall daily as I struggled to care for her and remain patient with toddlers who think they're teenagers--who also missed Daddy, but didn't know how best to express it. I can't even say how much strength those notes have given me.
When I was looking for a husband, one of my requirements was, "Marry the man who makes you want to be a better person just because he's around."
Today, looking at those notes, I say, "Marry the man who helps you be a better person even when he's away."
I love you, Ryan. I can't wait to see what this next year brings.
|(Photo used with permission from Samantha Rizzo Photography.)|