11 years ago today, Dan & I got married. It really does not feel like it’s been that long, in that I don’t feel like the time Dan & I have been married encompasses nearly 1/3 of my life so far. If I look at what we’ve done in that time, though, I guess it does seem like 11 years.
Many things have changed in that time. Dan & I have each changed (I think, mostly, for the better and more mature), our jobs have changed (at least twice, each), our continent of residence has changed and we’ve had two children (not at all in that order). When we got married, we didn’t even know if we wanted to have kids — neither of us could imagine a time where we would feel like we were grown up, responsible enough or “ready” to have kids. We didn’t think there would ever be a time where we’d want to put our needs, desires and ambitions on the back burner for the sake of being the kind of parents we wanted to be if we ever had kids.
What we didn’t know is that it doesn’t work that way. (How could we know?) I never looked around and said, “Hmm, I think I’d like to radically change my life, my priorities and my goals so that I can have kids.” Instead, I literally sat up in bed one night, in shock at the realization that I didn’t know how to imagine my future without picturing myself as a mommy. It wasn’t a lack of imagination — I could think of things I’d do with my time/money/energy/youth in the event that I didn’t have children. It was realizing that what I wanted for my future was to be a mom . . . and after I realized that, nothing else mattered.
At first, we had plans that involved staying in our careers as dance instructors. We devised complex strategies for childcare, travel, competitions and finances that included being parents and full-time dance instructors. I worked until I was over 38 weeks pregnant, on my feet and in high heels, so that I could insure that my job and income would be secure for me to return to. We had plans to return to our students and to competition. And it all evaporated within the first 12 hours after Benjamin was born.
In that first day, I knew I didn’t want to go back to work at the studio, and I didn’t want to go back to work at all if we could figure out a way to make it happen. I don’t know that Dan & I have ever been so much on the same page about something without needing to talk much about it. We immediately set about making new plans, with new priorities and new goals, for our new lives as parents. We have ended up in places (literally and otherwise) that I never saw coming.
We are more to each other than just the other halves of Benjamin’s and Liam’s parents, but that honestly accounts for most of what our relationship is to one another right now. That’s ok — that’s where our energy needs to be right now. But looking back over the past 11 years, I don’t think I could have chosen a better person to take this particular journey with . . . and I’m as surprised as anyone.
Happy anniversary, Dan. Thank you for being on this grand adventure with me. I love you.