Today is our anniversary. Ten years. 10 years! As my parents are celebrating their 39th anniversary this year, my Mom tells me to talk to her when we’ve been married as long as they have. Nearly 40 years is quite an accomplishment, but in this day and age, when getting a divorce sometimes seems as simple as ordering off a restaurant menu, sad as it is to say, ten years is an accomplishment all its own.
Sometimes it’s seems like just yesterday that we walked down the aisle and said our vows in front of our family and friends. I can remember the details so clearly (and the color pink played a part even back then!). But other times, it seems like that was a lifetime ago … two apartments, three houses, two kids, five dogs, and six cats ago. It’s amazing how much can happen in the span of ten years, but sometimes it’s like everything changes and nothing changes. Although I think I’m definitely a very different person than that day ten years ago, very many pieces of me are still exactly the same. After reflecting on a few weddings we’ve been to recently, I wonder what I’d tell myself then, knowing what I know now, if I could…
1. When you register for things, really think about what you’ll use. Ten years later, I have yet to use my wedding china. I’m so afraid of breaking it, a fear that has only worsened with young kids now in the picture.
2. Enjoy time together before kids come along. We totally did this. We were married for just over four years before Nicholas arrived, and definitely had our share of fun. Looking back on it, I wonder what we did with all our free time!
3. Don’t be in a rush to buy your first house. When you buy your first home, make sure it’s the right decision for all the right reasons. Our first home was definitely a mistake. We bought the house about an hour away from where we lived and worked, and our friends and family, but we bought it there because the area was less expensive and our money went further there. On the day we closed on the house, I cried all the way home. And they weren’t happy tears. While financially, it might have been a good decision, for us, being further away from friends and family and everything we had grown to know and love wasn’t. A year and a half later, the house was sold and we were onto our second. That time, we were way more careful about the neighborhood and proximity to what was important to us. Had I the chance to do it again, I would have waited a year or two, saved more money, and done it right the first time.
4. Remember the little things that your significant other likes. Honestly, it sounds commonplace, but it’s so easy to forget, and, admittedly, I’m just as guilty as the next person. The Husband delights in telling people, “When we were dating, I’d come over and Cate would have homemade salsa and chips waiting for me. I miss that.” I try and still do little things here and there, whether it’s making his favorite chicken recipe or remembering to keep his hair gel or go-to Colombian coffee stocked, but you know as well as I do, that it is all too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day drudgery and sometimes forget the little things. Don’t.
5. Indulge the quirks. They ain’t going anywhere. The Husband will tell you that I have a lot of quirks. I like to get the mail first. The Tivo on the bedroom tv is mine and I use it so much that the numbers on the remote have worn off. I can’t stand someone sleeping on my side of the bed. I have a ridiculous amount of pillows on the bed (comes from needing to sit up to work on the laptop late at night). I like to fill up my cup to the top with ice and then add Diet Coke. I can’t stand coffee or tea. I roll my eyes. A lot. (And now, so does Nicholas). Those quirks are just the tip of the iceberg, and he certainly has his own. But as frustrating and maddening as they might be sometimes, that’s what makes me, me and him, him. Remember that.
6. Choose your battles. It’s a refrain I use often with Nicholas. I am not going to fight about every little thing. Some things just aren’t worth it. Last week, I told him that from now on, as long as I didn’t find food in his room, he was allowed to keep it as he wanted; I wouldn’t say anything about it being messy. The other day I went in there to make sure he was getting ready for school and I stopped when I saw a bunch of things on the floor. I didn’t say anything, but he looked at me and said, “Remember, Mama, you said you weren’t going to say anything. Don’t even roll your eyes or make that sound.” You know, that tsk tsk sound that Moms do so well. He’s right, and I didn’t. Truth be told, he’s actually kept it neater since I told him my lips were zipped. Arguing with Nicholas about how he keeps his room just isn’t a battle I want to fight. I had a messy room growing up, so apparently it’s genetic. I choose my battles. Same goes with marriage. Choose what’s important to you, and how important, and stand your ground for it. The rest of it? Be like a duck and let it roll off you. Everyone will be happier for it.
So, looking back, would I do it all over again, knowing what I know now? Absolutely. Would I change anything? Of course I would. A million things. But then where would the growth be? The challenge? The fun? The journey? We don’t have all the answers going into anything, and we don’t have them going out either. That being said, it’s been one heckuva ride so far, I can’t wait to see where it takes us next. Happy Anniversary honey! Love you.