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“You can make anything by writing.” ― C.S. Lewis

Posts for marriage

A Letter to My Husband on Our Third Anniversary

Dearest Shaun,

I have promised us that this year, for your anniversary letter, I will keep it short – what with both of us working, and Ariadne, all the demands on our time, and the fact that I’ve written a whole separate post for our anniversary on how we met.

And I think we both know me trying to avoid being long-winded is just not really likely to happen.

I’ll try. I’ll try to keep this short.

On the day we were married, we spent the entire day preparing for the ceremony and party, and then celebrating – a day of cool weather and fall leaves and wine and laughter and kisses and hugs and dance trains and bliss. On our first anniversary, we got to sleep in, and then drive across the river to the Encampment, to gorge ourselves on Ye Olde Timey Food and giggle at the terrible announcer for the battle reenactment. Last year, on our second anniversary, we were with Lance and Tara at Seahorse Ranch, and we walked down to the river, and all over the property, and then hiked at Munson Lake, and cooked dinner together – a beautiful day of family and peace and nature.

This year, on our third anniversary, things are a bit different. I was up at four thirty in the morning, and I got you up briefly at five. I was up again at six fifteen, and I got you up again at seven thirty. I was at work all day, and you were home in charge of child care. We spent most of the day apart. We contemplated going to a nice dinner tonight – but now it seems we’ll wait until the weekend. So much has changed, and we’d both rather be home in pajamas, snuggling our girl, than out and about after spending most of the day with our family in two different places.

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How We Met

An Anniversary, Laureny, My Little Family, Our Marriage, Shaun, Will - Emily - October 18, 2016

It is October 2009. I am 22 years old. I have had what most would call an Interesting Year.

2009 is the year I go through so many changes and life lessons, my head is constanly spinning trying to keep up.

I graduate college after the most soul-sucking, insane semester of my college career. At one point, I actually consider quitting the semester. Between my four upper level lit Classes, the usual German workload, running dance company, editing a creative writing journal, and dabbling in theatre — I am already exhausted and stressed with a ridiculous work load. That is before my grandfather passes away and I must watch my mother grieve, before I “break up” with a best friend of years after a stupid fight that took place during my 22 birthday party, and I have to mourn and struggle with that lost relationship, and then there are other family members in extreme emotional situations I won’t discuss here.

By the time I graduate in May, I feel like a shadow of myself. Absolutely running on fumes. And yet — I don’t know that I’ve been prouder of myself. As I walk across that stage to accept my diploma, I am delirious with pride and shock. I seriously consider quitting in March — and I stick it out. I pass all the classes and pull together all the shows, turn in my final portfolio and write the last German Aufsatz. It’s not all my best work. Most of it is not my best work. But I get it done. I graduate in May, and I come home with a nervous twitch in my right eye, and a determination to rebuild my family ties and have some sort of new adventure.

I go to Germany in July. I love it there, and I hate it there. It is everything and nothing that I expect it to be. On the one hand, I feel like I make deep connections with a few people there. On the other — I feel like a complete outsider, and I realize, I have never done anything this hard without my emotional support system before. I realize this is a great idea but a bad time to do it. It is a damn brave thing to do, moving to Germany alone. Turns out I wasn’t ready for it yet.

(And you know what? That’s OK. I was 22.)

So I come home, in late August. I feel more empty than ever. I feel like I failed. I feel like I have no direction in life. The plan was a year in Germany, then grad school — but in August, I feel like I have completely lost my way. I don’t feel confident I am able to do anything, at all. I feel like I have embarrassed myself and everyone I love.

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A Two-Month Letter to My Daughter

[Previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

Just the other night, your papa said, man, she’s been here eight weeks. Just eight weeks.

Eight weeks felt like an eternity. Or I guess what I mean is, the actual time you’ve been here with us feels like an eternity. To say out loud, eight weeks, two months — those phrases sound like a short amount of time. An impossibly short time — surely, you’ve been with us forever? I remember my mom, your grandma Marmee Suh, saying to me while I was pregnant, once she’s born, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without her. You won’t be able to remember what it felt like to live life without her. It’s so true. It’s only been eight weeks — the blink of an eye in the grand scheme of years and decades. But now that you are here and we have spent a good chunk of time with you, I really can’t remember what life was like before you.

I suppose you could say some of the newness of having a baby is worn off.  I still have moments of that holy wonder and shock — this is my child, I made her, she belongs to me and I am  her mother. But they’re spread out through the day now. Every single moment isn’t a moment of wow, woah, how anymore. We’ve settled into our roles as mom and dad and daughter, and while your papa and I aren’t experts yet, we seem to have managed to learn how to take care of you well enough to the point where some (some!) of the time, it feels easy and familiar.

I am cherishing every minute I get with you these days. I will admit, there were a few days here and there, around weeks five and six, where I got a little — not burnt out, exactly. But I felt more comfortable in my mothering skills, and I’d had weeks of being home and taking care of you, and I took it for granted, a little. I set you down whenever I had the chance. I tried to buy a little extra time in bed snoozing before I got up with you. I still loved being with you and being a new mom — but I was happy to have my arms free, or get more accomplished during the day. And then it hit me that this maternity leave home with you won’t last forever, and I was coming to the final weeks home alone with you every day. I really thought about what it would mean to leave you with others for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Do my 40+ hours. I couldn’t imagine it. I’d known it was coming, all along, but I’ve been dreading going back to work after having you literally since I was pregnant.

I won’t focus on that now, because we still have some time left, and I want to enjoy every minute, instead of weeping off and on all day long like I did that day. After that day, I stopped taking this new mothering time for granted. I knew my time with you would be limited once I went back to work, and so the more menials tasks of taking care of you stopped seeming like chores. It is a privilege and a delight to rock you to sleep, even at four in the morning. I am lucky to have you fall asleep on my chest, and I spend even more time looking at you, drinking you in, stocking up all these memories for when I go back to work. I’ll be wearing those moments of bonding like armor as we all transition into this next stage together.

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