April 28th was mine and Joe’s 5th anniversary. In one way it seems like it was just yesterday but also when you step back and look at all we’ve went through it seems much longer. This post is not only a way to celebrate our 5 years but also his birthday that is coming up on the 12th. I want to celebrate him and all that he is to me, but I want to give you guys a window into what our lives have been like for the past 5 years and where we are today. I started jotting down some of the major events in our lives and I realized how hard this was going to be. To lay some of these things out for the world to see is not going to be easy for me, however I believe that to be open and honest about our desire to adopt we also have to be open and honest about ourselves and our lives.
If you have read the welcome page on our blog you know how we met. What you might not know that I fell in love with him after one date. I know that sounds crazy but it’s true. I knew I was going to marry him. I knew because he healed parts of my heart that had been damaged and for the first time in a long time I could look forward instead of backwards. Through the months that we dated and then were engaged there were a million moments I fell in love with him, each new part of our relationship was exciting and made me even more sure of my future with him.
After we were married was the hard part. In the two years after our wedding we went through more than we ever imagined. There are specific times I remember when I asked myself why he stayed. Moments when others would have walked away. Four months after our wedding I had my sixth surgery to treat my ongoing sickness. After that surgery we needed a more aggressive treatment. I went on treatments that were equivalent to chemotherapy. My hair fell out, I was always sick, I was in pain and had horrible mood swings. I remember having to leave my nephew’s first birthday party because I was in so much pain. I was devastated not only to have to leave but for taking Joe away from a family event that had it not been for me he could have enjoyed. He lovingly took me home, tucked me into bed and sat with me all evening. He didn’t complain about being pulled away from his family. He didn’t complain about how bad it was to be stuck with someone who made his life so much more complicated. He kissed me on the forehead, told me he loved me and I fell in love with him even more.
One side effect of the treatments were panic attacks. Something I had never really dealt with until then. One evening the worst one I remember ever having, hit me as I was getting out of the shower. Over an hour and a half later Joe came home from work where he found me curled up on the tile bathroom floor where I had been paralyzed with fear. He didn’t tell me I was crazy, even though I honestly felt like it. He didn’t tell me to get up and get over it. He didn’t make me feel any less. He helped me up, he held me until I stopped sobbing and could move again. He stayed close to me, never leaving me alone. I loved him even more.
He kept his sanity when we started infertility treatments when I felt like I was going crazy. The medications and hormones you are on throw you into a chaos. He held me when I cried after ever negative pregnancy test. He would hold me and say, “Next time.” and I loved him even more.
Then came that September, sitting in the doctor’s office, when he put his love for me above all else. When he held my hand when I signed the papers. He never complained about what were were losing. He focused on the fact that I would get better. That this surgery would help me live life. He didn’t ask me to wait and try one more round of infertility treatments, even though I would have and talked about it. He put me above every other dream and desire. He gave me hope and made me feel like I was enough. For that, I loved him even more.
When people started finding out about the upcoming surgery they weren’t always kind. Some were rude and harsh, saying things to me that sent me home crying. He was my champion. He stood between me and anyone who had a negative word to say. He protected me from their words and for that I loved him even more.
On that October morning I woke up with my hands shaking. He woke up beside me, hugged me close and told me he loved me. That’s how I got up and got ready to spend the next couple of days in the hospital. When they took me back to prep me, he stayed by my side. He helped me change. He tucked me into the hospital bed and sat by my side. He held my hand and told me I looked beautiful, even though I knew I didn’t. My doctor came by to see me and go over the plans for the hysterectomy one more time. When she asked if I was ready, I nodded because my voice was shaking. He squeezed my hand to let me know everything would be okay. When I was taken up to a room after the surgery he settled into a chair beside my bed and didn’t leave my side. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and there he was, sleeping in a hard hospital chair beside me. I loved him even more in that moment than I thought possible.
If you know Joe then none of this probably surprises you. You know what a great man he is. He has a caring heart that makes him easy to talk to. He loves people and they can feel it. He has the greatest sense of humor. He makes me laugh all the time even if it is the goofiest thing I’ve ever heard. He sees things in a way that is different and amazing. He has so much drive, passion and stubbornness. Just this year he has started his own company and I couldn’t be prouder. He works so hard and gives 100% into whatever he is doing. He gives his all. He keeps me smiling, he keeps me laughing and he loves me more than I ever deserve.
Nothing about life or marriage is easy. There have been times of great hardship. There have been many arguments. There have been times when I honestly didn’t know if we would make it. There have been more surgeries and treatments. There have been times we drew lines in the ground and stood on opposite sides. But I can honestly say that I have never loved him more. Each day he amazes me. He loves me in a way that leaves me speechless. We celebrated our anniversary by taking a little weekend trip not far from home. We walked around an art museum. We explored book shops. We ate some great food. We talked about our future family and dreamed of our baby. We took the time to enjoy each other and not rush around with a lot of plans and site seeing. We simply enjoyed each other and it was wonderful. Our lives are not perfect, far from it. But we love each other. We have grown and learned and made the choice to stay. That’s what I think is important you know about us. We truly love each other and, “Love conquers all.”