Year 11

Today, Tom and I celebrate eleven years married.

As we reflected on this year we really couldn’t think of anything gigantic happening.

But then we started thinking about all the small moments we had this year.

George is really blossoming and figuring out his way at school. He is learning to read at lightning speed, and he joined Boy Scouts this year. Watching him become someone outside of our unit is such a bittersweet thing!

Daphne started and finished pre-K, and we really are starting to see her come out of her shell. She is a beautiful soul, and I cannot wait to see her in kindergarten.

And Wally. We are starting our last firsts. He is our last baby, and so with that comes all the firsts for the last time. He is the last to learn to walk in this house. He is the last for us to hear talk for the first time. We are trying to embrace all these little moments with him.

And with that, on the plus side, I am out of the breastfeeding fog. This is always a freeing moment. While I love being able to provide that experience for my babies, it really does change our life when I am not tied to that time table of feeding any more.

We also both experienced a lot through work.

Tom is now certified as a combat firearms instructor and a law enforcement jiu-jitsu instructor. He is very passionate about training officers, and these both were significant steps in his career to learn more about his field.

This last year seems like a blur to me work wise. I had so many growing moments with “other duties as assigned” and had to pivot many times in my leadership role. I took on supervising two other departments temporarily while other things at the institution shifted into place. Both of these areas where new and made me stretch in ways I could never have imagined. I led campus wide initiatives to impact culture changes, which can be hard but also fun and inspiring to navigate through the challenge. Fortunately, I am surrounded by phenomenal colleagues who help me learn each day, and I am grateful to be where I am. I am extremely proud in the work that I do, and this year, while hard, made me realize that even more.

We didn’t last long as a no-dog home, and we brought Daisy into our lives. I honestly don’t know how we could have found a better dog after Grace and Crosby. She is seriously the most docile and sweet thing who we have had to do zero training with. She just is a happy go-with-the-flow kind of dog, which perfectly fits into our crazy little family.

Being together this long is no easy feat.

It is not as simple as “just don’t give up.” Every day is its own small thing. There is always something to solve together. It could be paying down debt, who is taking Daphne to gymnastics, what new show are we going to commit to binging, or how do we advocate for our kids’ needs at school.

Marriage is fixing and deciding these things together. You pick someone that you want to do the hard stuff with, and then the good stuff is the bonus part. These decisions become more impactful when you choose someone to share them with.

We have learned that everything happens one step at a time. We didn’t just all of a sudden become married over a decade. It was a lot of little commitments to each other over the years to get here.

We still have the ability to surprise each other. Both of us are still striving every day to be better than we were the day before. So in a sense, we have never gotten truly comfortable and said this is good enough. We are still learning about each other and ourselves. We have both gone to counseling, and we are constantly looking for opportunities for growth. We make an effort with each other every day to connect in some way. And for us that is the only way that this has been successful.

15 years ago, many people considered our success a long shot (or a no shot). Just a summer romance that would sizzle out. But here we are coming off of a vacation with three kids happier than ever. Eleven years married and many more ahead!

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