Thursday, June 26, 2014

15 Years After "I Do"...and why I wouldn't marry that guy again

Today, June 26, is our 15th wedding anniversary.  We were so young. 

Now we're....well, not so young!   Why wouldn't I marry that guy again?  He doesn't exist anymore.  We've both changed a lot since our wedding, especially since becoming parents.  And to be completely honest, we've changed a lot more since Eli's diagnosis.

With our wedding vows we promised to love each other through sickness and health.  We didn't know that meant the sickness and health of our children.  We didn't know we'd have to hand over our child multiple times for major and minor surgeries and wonder if we'd see him alive again. 

For eight years of marriage we enjoyed each other's company, traveled, and moved back to our hometown.  We also helped the other through our own personal health issues; he helped me deal with eye problems that involved a lot of steroids and I helped him through kidney stones.  Shortly after we moved back to Washington, we stood together by my father as he took his last breaths.  A few short months later we did the same thing with Bryan's grandfather. 

We got to surprise our families with the news that we would be giving both sides their first grandchild.  Bryan was at most of the appointments and in the delivery room with me. We hadn't agreed on a name until we were holding our son for the first time.  We looked at each other and one of us said, "He's our Zachary."  No doubt, it was the perfect name for him.  And he's perfect for us. 

Two and a half years later we surprised our family again with news that Zachary was going to be a big brother.  Again, Bryan was with me through almost all the appointments and in the delivery room.  My favorite moment was when he brought Zachary in to meet his newborn sibling.  We didn't find out the gender with either pregnancy so Zachary was the first to know he had a baby brother.  Upon seeing Eli swaddled in my arms, Zachary said "He's so cute and tiny!"  Again, another baby who was perfect for us. 

A few weeks later we were both sucker punched by a small woman in St. Mary's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.  She (who has to have one of the toughest jobs in the world when it comes to stuff like this) had to tell us something was wrong with our newborn's heart.  She drew us pictures.  After we discussed what had to immediately be discussed and she left the room, we sat in silence, staring at our sleeping baby.  We couldn't speak.  We didn't have to speak because we had each other. A few hours later we watched Eli being loaded onto a helicopter.  I couldn't have spent those hours with anyone else.  No one else understood what it felt like.  Only Bryan. 

The guy I married that day wouldn't have been able to look at his child on a ventilator with his chest open.  He couldn't have known he'd be tested on putting tubes down his small son's nose into his stomach for food.  He didn't know he'd have to choose between staying in a hospital room on an uncomfortable couch with beeping machinery or staying away from that hospital for days at a time to spend quality time with Zachary and return to work so we'd have insurance for Eli.  As much as we love spending time with Zachary, I don't know how Bryan stayed away.  I couldn't have, but I'm grateful he did.  He stepped up and provided for us.  And still does.

The guy I married that day wouldn't have gotten up multiple times a night to add formula to Eli's feeding.  He wouldn't have taken Zachary fishing and spent time making sure Z knows he's every bit as important to us as Eli is.  Okay, he might have done those things, but not out of the love he does now.  Now we understand how a simple evening spent on the couch with the four of us reading stories and watching movies can be the best time of our life.  The guy I married couldn't have helped me through a physically and emotionally painful miscarriage last summer that not many knew about.  Together we got through that.  Together we got through being told Eli had multiple strokes and may not wake up.  Incidentally, our lost baby was due fifteen days after Eli's stroke (which was also my dad's birthday).  Emotions were high.

The guy I married that day in 1999 doesn't interest me anymore.  I've found someone better.  Someone I have even more in common with.  Someone who is in love with the person I am now.  Someone who has earned to be loved for the devotion he has shown to me and our family.  No, I wouldn't marry that good looking guy who stood up there with me on our wedding day.  I've found someone better.  Happy Anniversary, Bryan.  I can't even begin to guess what the next fifteen years holds for us but I know we'll get through it together. 

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