Live – Laugh – Love. Chances are you’ve seen these words scrawled somewhere or on something, perhaps even around the house. They grace everything from magnets to coffee mugs to t-shirts. In our house, they can be seen on three little white vases on the shelf of one of our kitchen windows and high-up on one of our dining room walls. Like with fine art, the meaning of this almost-cliche phrase varies from person to person. And this week, DTT readers, you’ll get my take on it. :0)
Last week’s reflection focused on the challenges associated with juggling marriage and children. Next week’s post will center on the upcoming Father’s Day holiday. And with my seventh wedding anniversary just 11 days away, I wanted to take some time this week to reflect on my relationship with my best friend, partner-in-crime and husband, Taylor.
Taylor and I were introduced by mutual friends back in the summer of 1999 — the summer
between our junior and senior years at Bryant College (now University). And if you ask those who were there to join in on the fun, it was, without a doubt, the best summer of our lives. I had just gotten out of a serious relationship six months before and was looking forward to three months of sun and fun before my last year of college commenced. Weekends were divided between the beach during the day and playing drinking games by night. Weeknights were spent just hanging out and making the most out of the last of our carefree days. Taylor and I agreed that our summer fling would be over once the new semester began. And, 13 summers later, we’re still together.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 13 years since we met over a game of High Low Jack. I still feel much like the same young woman I was back then (although a few pounds lighter and a few years wiser). But, over the course of the last 13 years, our relationship has been tested, as we’ve weathered the many storms that have come our way. When we took our vows on June 18, 2005, we had no idea what the future had in store for us. Had I known that the future would bring the loss of a child and the discovery and burden of NAIT, I’m not sure if I would have pursued my dream of becoming a mom. But, despite all of the obstacles that we’ve faced, there have been just as many, if not more, happy times.
Until I met Taylor, I really wasn’t brave enough to try new things, especially when it came to food. But since we’ve been together, I’ve really broadened my palette and expanded my tolerance for cuisine. I now eat fish, am a lover of sushi and am more willing to try new foods instead of automatically dismissing them. Additionally, Taylor forced me to overcome my fear of roller coasters. But, you really don’t have much of a choice when you’re standing in line waiting to ride Space Mountain. It was the fall of 2000 and my first trip to Disney World — I wasn’t going to let a little fear stand in the way of a wild ride in complete darkness. Since then, we’ve had more than our fair share of fun traveling to amusement parks from coast to coast. In honor of our love of thrill rides, I had a hand-blown glass roller coaster made for the top of our wedding cake and named all of the tables at our wedding reception after amusement parks. The head table, of course, was named Rocky Point.
Together, we’ve traveled to many exciting places abroad and at-home. My passport wouldn’t be stamped at all without the confidence that Taylor gave me to journey outside of my comfort zone. Since our wedding, together we’ve traveled to London, Paris, Ireland and the Czech Republic. Although temporarily grounded with the little ones, I can’t wait until the girls are big enough to travel abroad and share in the experience with us.
One of the biggest compliments my dad ever gave Taylor was when he said that a lot of Taylor’s shenanigans in reminds him of his own father, who passed away 26 years ago. Since 1999, Taylor has kept me laughing with his witty banter and crazy antics. I see so much of him in Clara, and although I don’t admit this to everyone, it really warms my heart. Although we can drive each other crazy, we can also make one another laugh. Sometimes a little humor can go a long way, especially when we’re in the midst of a heated discussion. At the end of the day, I try to remember the good times that brought us together, as well as those that sustained us when life was more challenging than we expected.
Of course, it all begins with love. You know that your marriage is strong when it can endure and overcome hardship. In 2007, we bought our first home together – a condo on the East Side of Providence. It was a fixer-upper and we had little time to get the entire thing updated and painted before we moved in at the end of August. For two straight months, we tore up tile, sanded, painted, put up drywall, you name it. It was probably the most stressful time in our marriage up to that point. I remember thinking (and saying) on more than one occasion, “If our marriage can survive this renovation, we can handle anything that life throws at us.” Boy, was I right. In 2008, we grieved over the loss of our first child. In 2009, we were introduced to NAIT with the birth of Clara. In 2011, we decided to tempt fate once more and try for NAIT baby number two. And in 2012, we welcomed Elyse, our second living miracle, into our family. I know that none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for the love we have for one another. Although I get frustrated with him at times, no one stands by me like my husband. He’s picked me up when I’ve been at my lowest and supported me through the most horrific times of my life. When I thought I didn’t have the strength to go on, he was there to pull me through. He was there when I cried until weak with pain after the loss of our son, gave birth to Clara, had the first bag of IVIG infused into my body, and listened for Elyse’s first cries of life. No one loves me like he does, and I feel pretty confident in saying that no one loves him as do I.
Live – Laugh – Love. These words to live by hang on the wall in our dining room above an assortment of frames that highlight all that we’ve accomplished together during the tenure of our relationship. The wall is not decorated with diplomas, but with pictures of our family on our wedding day and of our children. Thankfully, the wall is quite large and ready to welcome more memories. In the meantime, we’ll keep snapping pictures of our lives as we continue living, laughing and loving. Happy Anniversary, Taylor. May the next seven years of marriage be just exciting and fulfilling as the last.