The Hand Basket’s Tale 1


Five years ago today I married this handsome, smart, funny fellow on a beautiful beach. Fairytale stuff really.

Eloped to Key West. The perfect wedding.

Eloped to Key West. The perfect wedding. Just us, the officiant, and a bird.

And we had a great honeymoon.

A rainbow over Bahai Honda Key

A rainbow over Bahai Honda Key

Here we are at Mile 0 having no idea what the future held.

Here we are at Mile 0. There really should be a helmet law for the first year of marriage.

Then all hell broke loose.

Learning how to paddle together in a boat that is falling apart is a crucial skill for the modern married couple.

Learning how to paddle together in a boat that is falling apart is a crucial skill for the modern married couple.

I changed jobs.

We endured a pregnancy that required heavy steroid use and over 60 doctor’s visits.

I was diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome.

Smiling for the camera a week after we learned our daughter had a serious congenital heart issue.

Smiling for the camera a week after we learned our daughter had a serious congenital heart issue. Because we were going to “do this”.

We started an addition onto his wee little house.

We started going to dinner with a great group of saintly friends every week to keep ourselves grounded.

He designed (from scratch) a circuit board and software that allowed us make Christmas lights dance to music. He called it the Rudolph 16

The saintly friends who have treated us like family for the past five years even though our younglings have ruined more dinners than they haven't

The saintly friends who have treated us like family for the past five years even though our younglings have ruined more dinners than they haven’t

He changed jobs. (He went to work in a HELL where the other wives at the Christmas party welcomed me to the widows’ club.)

My Dad had a stroke and died.

Our daughter was born premature and spent 12 days in the NICU. She came home with a pacemaker.

His Mom had a stroke.

Taking a break at our favorite BBQ joint in between Surgery 3 and 4. It was the first time either of us had seen the sun in days.

Taking a break at our favorite BBQ joint in between Surgery 3 and 4 and somewhere after a joint effort to take a door off the hinge to get to our daughter and making a cardiologist druel from nervousness. It was the first time either of us had seen the sun in days.

Our daughter had 3 emergency surgeries and spent a few more weeks in the hospital.

We put 10,000 Christmas lights on our house.

 Year 1. 10,000 Lights

That was the first year.

We lived through it. Learned a lot more about each other than we knew going in. Still together. Huddled and battered but standing.

Figured surely we would get a minute to breath?

Then I got pregnant with our son.

And here we go again.

And here we go again. Again. Really. Yippee.

Enrolled in a clinical trial.

Bought a bigger house so we wouldn’t need to put him in the attic.

Gerdie.

No need to put the boy in the attic unless we want to now.

Moved.

We went to Disney world with a nine month old.

Disney six months pregnant and with a 9 months old in tow.

Disney six months pregnant and with a 9 month old in tow.

Put 25,000 Christmas lights on our house.

Had our son and one epic case of postpartum insani… I mean depression.

Enter Baby 2

Enter Baby 2. And hang on for dear life.

And two wrecks. (And the damned insurance company still wouldn’t total the car.)

He kept working regular on-call weeks (1 on 3 off) where he might average 8 to 9 hours of sleep for the entire week followed by a week of being sick from sheer exhaustion. Nasty cycle.

Sold our old house

I started asking “Are we doing this right?”

Is this how you do it?

Is this how you do it? Kennel training right? No? That’s for dogs? Damn.

He started answering. “Yes. Because we are doing the best we know how to do.”

That was the second year.

Just the four of us.

Just the four of us. A seventeen month old, a three month old and two exhausted, sleep deprived parents. No one in our house remembers this photo being taken.

We lived through it. Still together. Hanging on the belief that we were good.

And for the most part we were.

Note the T-shirt

Note the T-shirt. Sums it up.

As good as two people with two kids under two can be.

Especially when they take them to Disney World with their 10 year old niece and everyone gets a stomach bug.

Two under two, one ten year old and a nasty stomach bug. But hey, we weren't pregnant this time.

Two under two, one ten year old and a nasty stomach bug that hit all three kids. But hey, we weren’t pregnant this time.

And the lawnmower breaks twice. (Because Husquavarna is Swedish for crap.)

We  did start a semi-sorta-regular geek game night at the house since it was hard to find a sitter. Oh the adventures and hours spent “hanging on the wall” that hath wrought.

Geek On

Geeks who don’t mind our kids crawling all over them and loosing their dice. Bless your hearts. We love you.

And if we attempted to put 5000 more Christmas lights on the house…well.

Christmas 2012

Must. Be. Bigger.

That was year three. We had successfully made it through a year of marriage without another baby.

Still standing…with our hands around each other’s necks. (Just kidding. Maybe not really.)

First trip to the beach

Thing 1 and Thing 2’s first trip to the beach. Thing 2 saw the ocean from the balcony . Promptly stuck his head through the railing and couldn’t get it out. All we could do was laugh at the poor thing.

Still learning more about the other than we knew going in. Learning that sometimes there are moments you might not like the person you love very much. But you still love them.

He changed jobs. I rescinded my membership in the work widows’ club.

 I changed jobs.

We failed our quest to complete Beer Around the World and came back from Disneyworld two days early because my grandmother died.

One country shy

One country shy

Leaving Disney

Leaving the best vacation ever.

I changed jobs again. Because well , Canada I like you but I Iike my kids more.

His Mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

Nannie's last Christmas with all of her grand babies.

Nannie’s last Christmas with all of her grand babies.

He lost all function of his hands for a week and was subsequently diagnosed with Lupus. Yes, Dr. House. This time it really was Lupus.

We added a few more Christmas Lights. And a dedicated power circuit.

So may lights got added this year that we had to have a soldering party to run them all.

So may lights got added that year that we had to have a soldering party to run them all.

That was year four. Standing.

Our house went diaper free.

I kept asking, “Are we doing this right?”

Is this how you do it?

Is this how you do it? You aren’t supposed to give them an ax? That wasn’t in any of the books.

He kept saying, “Yes because we are doing the best we know how to do.”

Beer Around the World Complete

Beer Around the World Complete

We went to Disneyworld, Bibity Bobitied, completed our years long Beer Around the World quest  and didn’t want to leave.

His Mom died. Even when you know it is coming, it still knocks you on your ass.

My grandmother passed away.

My grandmother, and my kids last living grandparent. So glad we got to take this.

My kid’s last picture with any of their grandparents.

 We found ourselves on the sidelines of soccer games, swim lessons, and dance rehearsals.

Dance recital with the best Aunt a kid could ask for.

Dance recital with the best Aunt a kid could ask for.

 

We finally crested the 40,000 Christmas light mountain and started planning for 50. He said “This is ridiculous.”  I said, “Isn’t that our specialty?” He said, “Yes it is. Let’s do it.”

40,000

40,000 lights dancing to the music.

That was year five.

Yar!

You are on a pirate ship and you are going to like it! Now smile!

Still something…having lost the illusion that this thing was going to slow down.

Holding on for dear life screaming ‘Oh God, Oh God we are all going to die” maybe.

But still upright and above ground.

You wanna know the Hulk's secret? He is always angry.

You wanna know the Hulk’s secret? He is always angry.

Now we head into year six. Which will have at least one pacemaker surgery and the start of Pre-K.

 Still chugging. Still together.Still learning more about each other than we knew going in. Liking each other more days than not.

warsvtrek

And if the last five years have taught me anything, it is that you are only as good as right now.

Who the f*ck knows what is going to happen next.

So right now I am good. Because this handsome, smart, funny man is standing next to me. And I know he will still be standing there whatever does happen next. He has my back.  If he hasn’t had the sense to run away screaming yet… I mean seriously, a lesser man would have hidden his assets and disappeared by now.

Did you know Disney has a rule against pretend violence in pictures taken at its parks?

Did you know Disney has a rule against pretend violence in pictures taken at the parks? So we had to hug each other. Boo.

We both feel pretty old most days. But here we stand. Still together. Still friends. Still laughing. Still squabbling over Wars or Trek. Still lamenting the sudden popularity of IPAs and that kids these days have no idea what good beer is.

Still planning our next trip to Disneyworld.

Once upon a time there was this princess and this starship captian...

Once upon a time there was this princess and this starship captian…

Whatever happens next…well there is no one else I would rather paddle with. Even if it is up sh*t creek. As long as there is a paddle. Seriously. A paddle dude. I need one. You know I’m talking to you husband. And you know why.

Smile if you are on a boat...that isn't sinking.

Smile if you are on a boat…that isn’t sinking.

This fairy tale turned hand basket has been the best thing that ever happened to me.

Thanks for sharing it with me you crazy man.

Bless our hearts. Here's to 50 more.

Don’t spend your life with someone you can live with. Spend it with the one you can’t live without.

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