Right now I’m supposed to be sitting on a lounge chair in Antigua, eating anything I want and maybe even sipping a cocktail.
Darrel is supposed to be sitting by my side, and the kids are supposed to be happily playing and being spoiled back home by my parents.
At least, that was the plan on July 17, 2012.
On that day, as we sat at Chipotle, eating what turned out to be our last meal out as a family at a restaurant, Darrel and I discussed how hard the previous two years had been for us and how on our 5 year wedding anniversary, we were going to treat ourselves well.
We were going to travel to the islands, leave the kids at home with grandparents, and indulge in a little “couples therapy” via time alone, romance, and did I mention? NO KIDS.
On that day, the day the story of this blog began, we had just been through two years of MSPI and IgE allergies with Jed, which had forced me to spend most of those two years dairy, soy and egg free.
I’d had to re-learn how to cook without those ingredients, and we had learned there were only about 7 restaurants that we could safely eat at out of all the restaurants in the world.
We’d spent 2 years being nervous and stressed because so many people “just didn’t get it” about our sons food allergies and intolerances.
While Zac had presented us with bloody diapers two weeks prior, and was obviously sick at that moment in the restaurant, we were confident that by January of 2014, our 5 year wedding anniversary, we would have all our childrens food issues well under control (maybe we’d even have grown out of some of them) and could give ourselves a well-deserved respite from the grinding ordeal of daily living with food allergies.
What blissfully ignorant naïveté we had then.
Four hours after planning our tropical paradise escape, we were standing in an emergency room watching our son be tended to by almost a dozen ER personnel, all of whom were obviously on high alert.
And our new lives began.
New lives that do not involve tropical escapes.
New lives that don’t allow for even a short date night away from our children.
New lives that make me sick with longing for the ease of the two years prior to that night; the two years we had thought were so extremely hard to endure.
New lives that are dictated by the demands and needs of FPIES and Fructose Malabsorption.
Truly, our issues with dairy, soy and egg, once so daunting and overwhelming, barely register in our consciousness as “issues” at this stage of the game.
They’re second nature by now, and the other demands are demanding in ways we never could have foreseen on that innocent July night.
Yet time has passed, as time will do, even in our new lives, and we have reached the five year mile marker of our marriage nonetheless.
We won’t be going on a date tonight. Frankly, we’ll be lucky to get an hour to cuddle on the couch…and that’s only if the kids cooperate at bedtime.
After five years married, three and a half of which have been shadowed and clouded with serious health concerns for our children, I can honestly say a few things about my husband and our marriage.
Nobody is perfect, but Darrel is still my Dream Man.
This last year has been the hardest of our married life, but our marriage is still solid.
We have had to accept that at this point in our lives, our marriage is unfortunately relegated to the bottom of the priority list most of the time, but we never forget that as soon as we have some breathing room, WE must get some attention and care.
It’s inevitable that, when facing such crazy pressures and stresses daily, you will eventually lash out at your partner at times. We both find it humorous that when we do that, we always end our “fight” with a “this sucks, I’m taking it out on you, I’m sorry, one day we’re ditching the kids and going to the islands” apology and hug.
No, it’s not all romance and flowers in our marriage right now (can you imagine how guilty we’d both feel if Zac ate one of the flowers and reacted?!), and maybe I’d like it if we could spend more time together…going to movies, going out to dinner, playing video games (yes, we were both gamers before kids), snuggling on the couch…but at no point do I ever have anything less than absolute happiness about my decision to marry Darrel and the life we lead.
In the ways that matter, in the ways that truly keep a marriage solid, we take care of our marriage.
We support one another as much as possible; him for my blogging and writing, me for his photography.
We stand united in 99% of the choices and actions regarding our kiddos health and needs.
We try to lighten each other’s load whenever we can.
We still regard each other as our best friend.
One day, yes, one day, our kids will be stable and healthy enough that we are SO running away from home for a couples getaway.
And when that day comes, we will not be the rosy-eyed, gooey, romantic saps we were during the first year and a half of our marriage.
But we’ll have enough of US still standing solid that we can work our way back to that lovey-dovey state.
Because Darrel is the best man, the best father, the best husband, and the best friend I’ve ever known. (And I don’t think I’m too shabby, either.)
So, five years married, Darrel, and I still adore you. Thank you for…everything. You’re the love of my life.
~One day we will go on that romantic getaway.~