Happy 8th Anniversary Ben!
Today marks 8 years that Ben and I have been married. On September 4th, 2004, just less than 4 months after I graduated from college, Ben and I secretly got married so the Army would station us together. It sounds like the premise of several romantic WW2 movies were the couples were rushing into the arms of their loved ones before they rushed to war. I look back now and I realize this is how OUR love story began. At the time Ben was a Lieutenant at Ft. Benning, GA and he just finished some of the most difficult training the Army has to offer, Ranger School. Once he completed this training, he was headed to Germany to be stationed for the next 4 years of his life. I just graduated from BC and was entering the Army. I was naïve as ever as to what the Army WORLD was and was headed to boring Texas (I told you, Texas and I did not get off on the right foot) after my first initial training in Arizona commenced in December. I won’t bore you with the details but Ben and I got married on our 4 day pass during Labor Day weekend and drove from Ft. Huachuca to Las Vegas and got married at the Cupid’s Wedding Chapel. It was an intimate ceremony. I say we “secretly” got hitched but the truth was our parents knew but no one else did; it was our little secret. Heck, our photographer had to sign as witnesses on our marriage certificate. I will cherish that moment for the rest of my life. That moment when we said I do (although the “reverend” swore we just met) I knew I would be committed to this man for the rest of my life. Again, that day was September 4th, 2004. It was not until our year anniversary that we got married in front of 120 of our closest friends and family and had a beautiful Catholic wedding at the place where we met, Boston College. That was September 4th, 2005.
Fast-forward to today, September 4th, 2012 and I can’t help but look back at these 8 years and see how far we have come and I am also giddy with excited for what the future holds. I would like to believe that I knew exactly what I was getting myself into at the little chapel in Las Vegas but we all know I did not. Today I do know that day was one of the most defining days of my life and I thank myself every day that man is still here. Ben and I have been through a lot these past 8 years; the Army moved us several times and of course deployed us to combat were I dealt with Ben getting wounded. Now we are more than husband and wife; we are Mama and Dada. So 8 years of the Army life and the birth of our two loving boys, Jackson and Julian, have done nothing to our relationship but make it stronger. All I can say is I am so lucky that smart and quiet boy from Connecticut picked this crazy and loud New Jersey girl to be his wife.
In honor of our 8 year anniversary I want to tell you, Ben (and my 10 habitual blog subscribers), 8 reasons why I love you…
1. First and foremost, Ben you are smart, driven and take (calculated) risks. This is something I envy about you because you know I stress out about the minuet details and I cannot handle the unknown. I commend you for going out of your comfort zone and following your dreams to making it big. I know Cross Web Creations is your ticket.
2. Secondly, you have a witty sense of humor and always, always make me laugh.
3. You and I share the same values when it comes to fitness and nutrition. We want to live long lives and we want to be able to run after our great-grandchildren when we are old. I love that we workout together, try to teach our kids that having a healthy lifestyle is integral, and most importantly I love when I make cauliflower rice you don’t scuff and ask me to make you something else. Yes ladies, that’s my man!
4. You are adventurous and do crazy things like parkour. Now teaching our kids to jump off park benches, I draw the line (for now) but whatever makes you happy, makes me happy.
5. You love to read everything from books, to articles, to you name it and therefore you are my walking encyclopedia (or iPhone these days). You know the most random tidbits about everything from foreign policy to pop culture. What you really do is try to better yourself everyday and I respect that. Now that doesn’t mean you have carte blanche now to read on the computer as much as you like.
6. You are my best friend and listen to me gripe about the day and gossip about menial topics, but most importantly you challenge me to be a better person even when it is tough and we all know that’s what a good friend does.
7. You are an amazing father. I believe you can TRY to teach a man to cook and clean (and he will still fail miserably and not do it to your standards) but you can’t teach a man to be a good father. Ben I can’t tell you how blessed I am to have someone by my side who not only shares the parenting duties 50/50 but loves his boys as much as you. Thank you for being an amazing father. I know people think we are crazy but YOU are the reason why I want more kids; we make such a great team. “They” would too if they had you on their side.
8. And lastly, I love you for your favorite back-handed compliment. You always tell me that you bought me when my stock was low. Now some might think that statement is insulting and insinuates that I was nothing when you met me and I will admit there is some truth to it. Ben you have always believed in me from day 1. You saw me for who I was, which is way before I saw anything in myself, and you didn’t run. So Ben thank you for helping me blossom into the crazy person I am today, putting up with me day in and day out, and never never never giving up on me.
So, Ben, I know there were times that I didn’t celebrate our anniversaries (I am still apologizing for it). But you know that was before my wonderful Sister-in- Law, Lizzie, told me her theory on anniversaries which changed my perspective on it forever. Lizzie once told me everyone has birthdays and really what did we all do to have a birthday? Nothing! In fact it was the Moms who worked hard on that very birthday but I digress. So really why do we spend so much importance on birthdays? But what about anniversaries? Every year we must work to make it to that year’s anniversary. Relationships are work. I agree with Liz and I now value our anniversaries.
No one’s marriage is perfect and every relationship requires maintenance. I am the first to tell you that Ben and I needed a lot of “maintenance.” Last year was the first time we did this, but since then Ben and I have promised each other to frequently carve out some time out for ourselves sans kiddos. Thanks to my wonderful sister for taking care of my crazy boys and the Army for sending me to a tropical place like Hawaii, last year Ben and I were lucky to go all the way to Hawaii alone to sip mai tais for our “maintenance”. This year, we are again lucky that my Mother-in-Law is flying out to Texas to take care of the kids while Ben and I fly to Charleston for a long weekend. Another wise person told me, “Trips” are when you bring your kids but “vacations” are blissful and without children. So yes “vacations” cost additional money and logistical planning but don’t let that hinder you. It is an investment on your marriage. If you can’t afford a mini getaway for your maintenance, get away for one night to a local hotel or even go on a day date (Ben and I did that once and it was so much fun). Do something and don’t feel guilty about not being there for your kids 24/7. A happy and striving family must start with a happy and strong relationship. Let’s face it, we don’t think twice when we maintenance our cars every 5,000 miles so don’t feel guilty maintenance your relationships too!
So Happy 8th Anniversary Ben! I cannot be happier to share the rest of my life with you! So what do you say, here’s to another 80 more! I heart you, forever and a day.