I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we have a lot of anniversaries in June: the anniversary of Gracie’s birth at the beginning of the month, the anniversary of Tommy’s birth at the end of the month, and we just had our wedding anniversary a couple of days ago. It snuck up on me more than usual this year.
We have so much hustle and bustle at this stage of our life that it could have easily passed without Tommy or I noticing. On the morning of the tenth, our anniversary, the whole family got up early. Wednesdays are our most hectic days of the week because we have help cleaning on those days. The lady who comes and helps us clean comes early in the morning so that she can get to her other job later in the day. During the school year that coincides with school drop offs, but we’re still figuring out how to make it all work with everyone off of school for the summer.
So this week Tommy woke us up early, and we all scrambled to get ready for the day.
“Happy anniversary” he whispered as I tried to snuggle deeper under the covers. I’d been up till one the night before…I was trying to find inspiration to write a poignant anniversary post to go up in the morning, but my brain felt like tired floppy worms instead of an organ capable of producing written beauty.
In the end I went to bed knowing that the 6:45 wake-up would hurt less the sooner I hit the pillow. We all rushed around in the morning picking up a few last minute items to help get the most out of the cleaning services.
I’ve been trying almost desperately hard to give the girls a memorable summer, and on a whim, that morning I decided to take all four children to the zoo during cleaning time…even though I had already promised a trip to the splash pad in the afternoon. I dressed the boys and girls and packed a couple of snacks and our water bottles and the sunscreen. We arrived just in time for the bird show at 10 AM, and sat in the AC. It was fine for the first 20 minutes, but the boys got restless sitting still and started screaming. The show ended just as I started wheeling the stroller towards the door.
As I walked around with the kids and felt the sun on my back, it was already quite hot at 10:25 AM. But I felt deep gratitude, gratitude for the life that I lead. We have four healthy happy children. I can drop everything and take these children to the zoo for an hour or two. We get to have help cleaning our home. Tommy and I have an easy relationship with trust and openness. We’re content.
We left the zoo at 11 after a lap around the penguins, a carousel ride, and a visit to see some of our animal statue friends.
When we got home from the zoo, both boys were asleep. No this is not ideal, and I didn’t know exactly what to do when they both woke up and cried. Should I try and nurse them back down to sleep? Or should I give them lunch and try for a nap after lunch? I tried nursing them back to sleep. But it didn’t work. So we tried lunch. We hadn’t gotten a chance to go to the grocery store the previous weekend, so I reached into the fridge and pulled out some tortillas, cheese, and some bread and peanut butter. Plus we had a couple of leftover dishes. The girls ran and played while I set food out on the table. Even in our “bare cupboards” state we still had plenty to eat and enjoy.
On other days I may have been stressed about such a busy day. Zoo. Interrupted nap. Lunch. Spray ground. Somehow it was a great day though. I think it comes from knowing how far we’ve come, as a couple and as a family. I feel like we work together better and better as time goes on. We learn small nuances of how to talk to each other. We learn what makes the other tick. What makes each other stressed, and we work to play to our own strengths to help each other.
When we got to the splash pad, the boys were asleep in the car again. Grace and Ava carried their own backpacks and I put the boys into the stroller. The girls ran and played in the water and the boys sat and watched and ate snacks. They still aren’t sure about water. Granger did eventually decide that he would wander around in the dry areas. And Finn splashed in a couple of puddles (that’s progress, right?).
I got to spend time with some friends while the children played. True it was hot and humid, but it was also really fun. When we left it was 4:45. I called Tommy and he was already leaving work. I asked if he would like to pick up some take out from our favorite Chinese restaurant. He did, and we had ice cream for dessert.
All the kids were asleep by 9. There was a point in my young married life with a baby where I remember thinking that we did the same thing every night and how boring we were. I was afraid that we would be dull and boring and that THAT was NOT okay. Now I just see seasons of life. Right now we’re just in the child raising season, and I’ve looked forward to the child raising season for my entire life. One of the ways Tommy and I knew we were right for one another was that we both have always wanted to be parents. And right now that defines us more than any other aspect about us.
So to me, our 9th anniversary celebration was absolutely perfect. And I wouldn’t choose anybody else to walk this road with.
Tommy, it’s you. It’s always been you.
I love you.