Over the last few months we have been feeling like the best versions of ourselves. Are we perfect? Not even close! Have we figured out how to keep a perfectly clean home, stay within budget, catch up with all our friends, and be successful with all of our goals? Not exactly. Dan’s health has not been perfect, my anxiety has still caused frustrations, and the number of times Starbucks appears on my credit card bill is still too frequent. But even still we can’t shake the notion that we are right where we are supposed to be at this very moment in time.
A few weeks ago I posted this picture of “real life” – laundry getting the best of us, housing projects left for collecting dust, and even a little puppy dog that has preferred the bed to his exercise routine. The whole feeling like the best versions of ourselves has been despite the lack of perfection. Looking at our life from a year ago where my career was on hold, we had taken up residence with my family, Danny was struggling with health challenges and not able to find a solid path forward – our world looks completely different these days. We have moved out and not just to our next place – but a spot that has felt like home from the start. I have breathed life back into my career and am feeling confident in both my goals going forward and the roadmap to take me there. Danny has become the champion for his own health and seen some really positive results. Suddenly we are not counting the days until transplant – instead looking at alternatives for the fullest life possible.
For most of our married life we have felt like a black cloud has sorta been hanging around, inserting itself into every decision. Should we do XYZ – what about health? Should we spend XYZ – what about emergencies? Should we move/travel/take a job/quit a job/get a dog/have a family/start a new project/end a hobby? Dan’s health is an obstacle for sure, but our reactions and what ifs (ok – my what ifs) – were playing just as large of role in our feeling frozen in place. And when you are frozen – you pretty much just react to life instead of dictate it. That black cloud was holding a lot of power. But over the last 6 months – we are still doing our far share of reacting, but also taking advantage of every chance to dictate and that has felt – well, like living.
Where o where did that shift generate from? There are two factors that we both know are absolutely the ticket – our faith and our marriage. Over the last year we have made both a focal point of focus. Mass is a priority, we have read about our faith together, we have prayed together, we have identified our Catholic roots as an integral part of who we want to be and even if we have still messed up mass or been negligent in daily prayer time – we have continued to return to our faith and given the credit to God for so many changes we could never have designed so perfectly. Secondly, it has take every bit of these five years, a little help, a little prayer, a lot of stumbling, a ton of talking and so many “I’m sorries” – but we have come to truly understand that marriage is a choice, love is an action, and partnership is necessary….and on the other side, we have found the sort of happiness we both wondered if it would ever be possible. This my friends is a reason to celebrate- BIG.
This season of life is so precious, so beautiful, such a gift of time – I wanted to find a way to soak it all up, truly breath it in, let the romance wash over us and bring our lifetime memories to life. We have worked really hard to be here and I wanted my husband to know that the only way we got here was together. I could not have done this life with anyone else. My plan translates directly to corny, silly, funny, and thoughtful. Sure a cruise would have said the same thing – but since that was not in the Target dollar aisle, I had to go to plan B.
Plan B drew me to one of my absolute favorite things about the world of blogging – people LOVE to celebrate. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, change of season, heck – a simple picnic lunch – I have witnessed with a little effort and a few sparkles – you can make ANYTHING feel like a celebration. So for starters I wanted both of us to just be in the festive mood. I wanted Danny to wake up every morning excited for what this week means and to know that I sending my love vibe all week long. So bring on 5 days of gifts that he would find each morning on the dining room table.
Day 1 – little things that cross my path in day to day life that make me think of him. How funny that for 20+ years I would see a PayDay in the candy aisle without a passing thought (besides “Gross”) – and now I always think of Danny. Or how a cold Coke and oatmeal cookie reminds me of hanging with him that first summer at his parents. We added in a few little trinkets from our years together: bags that were favors for our wedding hotel guests and the monkey from our first Valentine’s Day together – and he was pretty surprised.
Day 2 – the soundtrack of us. From our first date music has played a significant role in our world so I dug out CDs we have given each other over the years – specifically the first gift Danny ever gave me of Keith Urban CDs – from road trips, mixes we made for each other, to birthday CDs – and then a gift card to enhance his current library and design a few songs for our future musical lineup.
Day 3 – a tribute to our favorite adventure together – honeymoon at St. Johns. One of the things that drew me to Danny from the very beginning was that everything felt like a great adventure – even if we just ended in a field looking at stars only to get drenched in a summer thunderstorm. He could make anything sound exciting or fun and I would follow that boy anywhere…..so today I wanted him to remember where one of his greatest adventures has taken us.
Day 4 – five years of marriage and ten years of dating are no reason to let the adventures stop, so day four I gave Danny a few gifts for some new adventures – cooking class, home depot gift card for some house projects, and the latest list of “Bests in DC”.
Day 5 – anniversary day. This was the big day – I wondered about a really big gift and even researched a few options. But we really have our eyes set on a few pieces of furniture, upcoming trips – and I was just not sure if a big gift was the best idea. I worried – already four days of solid gifts and he was probably expecting something AWESOME. This was the official day! This was July 17!! And then it hit me…..today was the day we would celebrate our Wedding Day and I suddenly wanted it to be all about what this day really means – us as husband and wife and remembering our first day as Mr. & Mrs. So I set up a lot of little pieces from our wedding day and a little road map for how to spend July 17, 2015 – with some specific – “stop and remember at this moment” requests. We texted each of those moments and reminisced where we were just 5 years before – it was perfect.
My days of gifts turned out magical – and in my quest for Danny to feel loved and treasured, trying to help him remember where we started and how blessed we are to still have butterflies – I surprised myself and ended up feeling it all again too. I truly cherish the weekend that I traded my last name for a family of my own. Each day that week I was sure to wear our wedding colors of black and white with touches of red – and we exchanged texts, memories, and dreams for our future throughout the 5 days of celebrating. We honored the start of our marriage and had a lot of fun laughing about all the in-between until now.
In addition to learning more about each other, more about ourselves, more about marriage, and life as a family – our five years married and our ten years together – we have come to know that all moments are fleeting. The beautiful time we have fallen into these days is wonderful – but not guaranteed. We have watched as people drift in and out of life – in an instant. All you find comfort in, all you trust, all you work for, and all you dream of can be gone – and just as quickly return. The only certainty is uncertainty – so we are going to go ahead and celebrate the blessings we have now – BIG. And encourage you to do the same – remembering that the small things really can be the big things.
Grateful for my five year celebration, touched by my husband’s effort (in addition to sweet frogs and flowers left all over the house throughout the week – he is a keeper) to honor the day and the commitment we have to make it through a 100 more. OO and a place to capture those future moments here on the blog! Next celebration you have – big or small – go ahead and deck the halls, you might surprise yourself with what you will find.