Right before my baby shower, I wanted to do something special for Mike. He had been so incredible throughout the wedding planning and baby planning that I wanted to make him something to remember that what we have is so special. So I made him this slideshow. Mike and I had been married a month and I got to thinking about all of the things that we had been through in our 4 years together. We had grown so much individually and in our relationship. We had experienced some incredible moments and it was bizarre to think that at our lowest point, we almost didn't make it.
Last year around this time (November 2010), Mike and I were at odds about the future of our relationship. A month prior, I had awoken from a terrible dream that had given me a sinking feeling about us. When I woke up and talked to Mike about it, he couldn't comfort me because he was again feeling "unsure" about our future plans. I wanted to make them. He didn't. This had always been a struggle for us. I knew that you couldn't plan love or marriage. You couldn't foresee the future or have a guarantee. You had to have faith, work at it, and communicate. He knew that way too many people end in divorce. He thought that we had so much in common but had very opposite views on some things. He wanted a guarantee or some sign that this was "it" and he wasn't getting it.
That same day, I was going to visit a friend in Brooklyn and I had hoped that when I returned the next day our situation would get resolved. It wasn't. In fact, it got worse and ended with him leaving for the week to see if the distance would help him figure out where he stood in terms of our relationship. When he came back a week later, he had missed me. He wanted to make it work. And then almost immediately, as if watching lightning strike, he broke down again and told me that he couldn't do this. He wasn't sure and couldn't get around it. I was heartbroken. He was heartbroken. And nothing was resolved.
We really loved each other; we knew that. We felt that life without each other seemed dimmer, worse. But we both also knew that under these circumstances we were a ticking time bomb that could explode at any time into a catastrophic disaster. The next month was like walking on egg shells. We were careful (and sometimes not so careful) with what we said to each other. For the first time, we were both on complete opposite sides of the spectrum. We were on rocky ground. Unstable, wobbly, quaking, dirty, rocky ground.
In December, we had a Christmas party. Our apartment was adorned top to bottom, inside and out for my favorite time of year. We ate, drank, and belted out Christmas carols. Not normally Mike's favorite time of year, something in him started to change. I don't know if it was the constant analysis about marriage, the Christmas spirit, or having our most loved ones surrounding us at the most magical time of year that did it, but after this party, he started looking at getting married through different lenses. Mike would start thinking that marriage, while scary, was not the enemy. He talked to me about considering teaching abroad, an idea I had always pushed, and an idea that would require a commitment - a legal one - in most places.
We were all of a sudden not so rocky. Not so unstable, wobbly, quaking, dirty, rocky. And in January, we would be surprised with even bigger news... we were having a baby. Maybe it was the news of the baby or that I felt Mike's mindset was changed, but I started to be less occupied with marriage or at least the legal identity of it. Maybe because he wasn't so scared of marriage anymore, I was able to be calm. Or maybe because I was calmer, he was able to not be so scared. We had finally met in the middle of this spectrum.
February 19, he proposed. With a baby on the way and a decision made about teaching abroad in the Dominican Republic, we were finally getting married.
It is awfully strange to sit here now and look at where we are, see how far we've come. There's a picture in this slideshow of me holding Jersey and Olive at the park. When I showed Mike the slideshow, I reminded him that that picture was taken the day after he came back to our apartment. The day we were still rocky but had decided to not give up on what we had. He said he remembered. I said, "I'm glad you came back."
Sometimes it's hard to see how something good could come out of something so bad. At the time, I couldn't see any way out of this besides an ultimate break up. After all, this, along with a handful of other topics, is a breaking point in a relationship. So, if you had asked me that week in October, what my future with Mike held, I couldn't have answered it. I could never have predicted that 3 months later, we would be on the absolute other side of where we had been. The other side of "almost didn't make it."
But we were. And we had.
This slideshow is obviously dedicated to my devoted, faithful, and encouraging husband. The song, "A Good Life" by One Republic perfectly positioned itself in my life at the right moment, hence OUR BUENA VIDA.
MOM: Watch it in full screen. There is a button on the bottom right hand of the screen that looks like 4 arrows pointing out. Push this!