[Editor's note: This story is a letter from a woman to her husband. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]
I was just thinking back on what life was like for the two of us before we got hitched, bought a house, and crammed three kiddos into said house in a short span of five years.
Pre-kids, we'd go out to leisurely dinners on a whim. We'd spend money on ourselves. We were more spontaneous.
Post-kids, we love a night of Netflixin' (and yes, sometimes chillin', too #wild) and take-out on the couch. We love plans and routines.
I mean, sure, we'd still probably love a spontaneous trip to Nashville or something—but that's just not in the cards right now. And that's cool. We are tending to our (still young) marriage, while also raising small children.
It's not easy—but everyday we're choosing it, we're doing it and we're learning along the way.
I was thinking back on our wedding ceremony and how nervous I was to recite our vows in front of a big crowd of people. And then I kind of chuckled to myself thinking, If those two only knew the road in front of them!
I can laugh now, because I understand the chaos that is parenting babies and toddlers— a.k.a. wild tiny human dictators. I understand the unconditional love I have as a parent to said (super cute, snuggly) dictators.
So, I want to write some new vows. Some “We are no longer newlyweds but now some wise thirtysomethings about to drop some knowledge on newlyweds everywhere" vows.
Here they are:
I, Colleen, take you, Colin, to be my husband/ life partner/ co-parent/ teammate/ good-cop-bad-cop tag-teamer/ fellow tantrum tamer/ love of my life.
I promise to be there for you in good times and in bad, because Lord knows there will be lots of both.
I promise to be there for you after we both have been up on and off all night with a potty training child who's wetting the bed and a toddler who's getting her molars.
I promise to be there for you when I get a “I need to take the late train home tonight" text and have to survive the dinner-bath-bedtime routine on my own and I'm mad but also understand but am tired and mad but also really grateful for your hard work.
I promise to be there for you throughout all the happy parenting moments and milestones like sleeping through the night for the first time (and both freaking out/ wondering if everything is okay), or our kiddos taking their first steps, adding babies to our brood, and successfully sending our littles off to preschool.
I promise to be true to you in sickness and in health. Your sickness and health. My sickness and health. And our kids' sickness and health. I promise to keep my cool while we're up at 3:00 am changing puke sheets and bathing our poor sick baby. (At least we're doing it together!)
I promise not to stay mad at you for too long after you've walked in on me using the bathroom because you didn't knock or if you continuously leave your sneakers in my path, and/or keep complaining about your poison ivy for the millionth time while I am 38 weeks pregnant with our third child (and are probably slightly more uncomfortable than your itchiness. #Justsayin')
I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. Especially when you come home with surprise ice cream or pretend like my greasy hair looks pretty or figure out childcare so I don't have to or encourage me to go out with my girlfriends or take me on a date.
I will love you more and more every day. More each time we have another baby. Because watching you hold the newborn we created together just does something to me.
I will love you more and more each time we successfully solve a problem together and work as a team. It can be so hard to figure this stuff out, but somehow, we do it right more often than not. (Or we convince each other that we are…) And it makes me so proud of what we're building together.
I will love you more and more each time you encourage me to set goals and reach them. I have so many dreams. And you're here cheering me on every step of the way. It means the world to me, and I promise to do the same for you.
I will love you more and more every day. I swear. No matter what. (Seriously. No matter how many times you still leave your sneakers in the exact spot I ask you not to. #Truelove)
We have seen each other at our worst, but we are also lucky enough to beam with pride next to each other when we're at our best. You are my person, my forever. I wouldn't choose anyone else to ride this wild, roller coaster of a life with, other than you.