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It’s 20 years of marriage for me. That’s right! I got married when I was 10.
But seriously, I started reflecting over the last 20 years together. How we’ve grown up together. Been through struggles. Had kids together. I thought it was important to share the good times, the struggles and what’s to come.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
It was Spring Break 1991 and I’d driven to Key West with some of my sorority sisters from Stetson University where I attended.
Spring Break in Key West was the best. Back then they blocked off Duval Street so you could be underage and still hang out with all of your friends. You’d drink in the hotel room and go meet up downtown.
There was always lots of drama in college. Breaking up with boyfriends. Broken hearts. Hooking up.
My girlfriend ran into a group of fraternity guys one night. She had been flirting with this one guy on campus who she was hoping to run into. I was kind of the wing girl helping her out within this group. Not looking for anything, there he was standing there. Little did I know that the guy standing in the circle with me would be my husband one day.
We both ended up walking and babysitting some of our friends’ siblings stumbling back to the hotel. My husband and I sat outside the hotel and talked all night long.
Nothing honestly happened. You see we were both really nervous and no one wanted to make the first move because of rejection.
MAKE IT HAPPEN
It was a really amazing spring break as it was my first for college, but really uneventful with my husband.
So when we got back to campus, I thought I would get all stalkerish and find out his schedule so we would end up in the cafeteria at the same time. (Stetson is like a big high school. Only 2500 kids at the time.) Sororities and Fraternities sat at their own tables, so I knew where to look to see if he was there.
But I don’t think my husband cared at that point. He is one of the most laid-back guys I know. I knew I would have to pursue him. And I did!
That has not changed over the 20 years of marriage. If I want something, I make it happen. If he wants something, I make sure he makes it happen.
DEALING WITH DEATH
A few weeks after spring break there was a terrible accident. A group of girls from different sororities were heading north on I-95 and were struck head-on by a driver. A few of them were badly injured and two of them died. One of them was my sorority sister whom I was just on spring break with in the Florida Keys.
This was my first time dealing with death.
It was tragic!
She was so too young to die!
It rocked the campus and the end of the school year for me. My how things would take an unusual turn.
I pretty much shut down and as I look back we really should have had more counseling.
The funeral was in Pensacola. Many of us wanted to go. Too many for one car and not enough for a bus.
I knew I had to be there. I needed to process and at this time I had not thought a moment about my husband. He wasn’t even an interest at this point.
This is a fuzzy party that I can’t remember how it came about that my husband would be driving me to the funeral. Three fraternity brothers decided to drive us and one of them was dating my friend (ala Key West).
But I didn’t really care. The drive home was what was interesting.
We rotated cars and I sat in the front seat of his Ford Probe for 10 hours back to school. We listened to The Doors, Oingo Boingo and Talking Heads. I told him all about my parents moving from Tallahassee to New Jersey. He told me all about Boca Raton, Florida and that he had a job at Wingfoot Country Club for the summer.
Wanna know where that was? Two hours from my parent’s new house.
SUMMER OF LOVE
I believe there is a reason for everything. It can be a serious challenge, but I have to figure out the “WHY” when something bad happens.
As I processed, the death of my friend during that summer, the one thing that came to me was I met my husband. But we wouldn’t have gotten together if it wasn’t for her passing. I never forget that.
When I tell my story I usually say we met through the death of a friend. I swear she came to me in a dream all dressed in white which is what we wore for our initiation day. She told me to let her go and move on. And so I did with my husband.
I GOT CANCER
My last year of college was a bit of a tailspin. My husband had graduated that December. Two weeks later I would find out I had Malignant Melanoma. Thank goodness for my mom. She’s a nurse and a pillar of strength as she took amazing care of me.
This would be our first challenge as a couple and it didn’t go so well.
After graduation, we kind of broke up. I moved to New Jersey with my parents and tried to figure out what I was doing with my life. Monthly trips to the University of Pennsylvania hospital would become part of my routine. The cancer was completely removed but back then being so young they worried about it possibly spreading to your lymph nodes.
Just to keep my mind active, I decided to work at Nordstrom in Freehold, NJ. In the meantime, he was fighting for me.
LIFE IS TOO SHORT
As we dated via phone, I took a leap of faith packing up all my belongings in my car and moving to South Florida to be with my husband. It was not an easy time as the job market really stunk. But I don’t give up and eventually, I found a job.
The caveman theory is so true for some men. Making sure they can provide is a constant thought racing through my husband’s head. It took this kid 7 years to propose. He was focused on his career and so was I. I was 26 when I got married. It was a great time in our lives. We worked hard, traveled and had good friends at the time. Little did we know our journey of conceiving a child would not go according to plan.
OUR INFERTILITY JOURNEY
Our twenties and early thirties were amazing. No cares in the world. Partying on Saturdays. Sleeping in on Sundays.
Gosh! Do you remember that?
My body clock had not been ready for a baby. Right around 32 years old my bell went off.
It’s supposed to be like the movies. You have sex and then you get a baby. That was not the case for us. The first year I realized I was ovulating 32 days instead of 28 so our timing was off.
The next year would consist of all the fun testing that goes along with having a baby. My results were inconclusive. His boys were fine.
The journey would take us to surgery for endometriosis and then my fallopian tubes flushed. Finally, when nothing worked we decided to do IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). During this time, all of my friends were pregnant with their second child. It was a time I will never forget and a feeling that I remember to this day.
OMG!! The probing, the drugs, the trips to the doctor. It had become a full-time job. But along the way, I made sure my husband went with me to as many appointments. He gave me painful shots in my butt and not so painful ones in my gut.
I made sure to include him on everything because this was not my infertility journey, but ours.
We had the best eggs. They were blastocysts and lots of them which is a good thing.
But unfortunately, none of them stuck.
THE SADDEST DAY OF OUR LIVES
I remember sitting on the back porch the two of us crying and drinking Heineken. That was one of the saddest days we’ve ever had. But I knew if we could get through this together, we could get through anything.
10 YEARS OF MARRIAGE
I found out that acupuncture can help with fertility and started it before the IVF. Dr. Zole was getting 75% of his patients pregnant at the time.
And so we had a Valentine’s Day miracle. After 4 years of trying and ten years of marriage, we would soon randomly become pregnant with our first child.
Did the IVF jump start my body?
Was it the acupuncture that did change my cycle for the better?
Or was it the disgusting Chinese herbs I was drinking each day made in Chinatown NYC?
Who the hell knows?
I guess it was finally our time.
(By the way, please don’t ever tell someone trying to conceive that they need to relax, drink more, stand on their head or if you lived in a trailer park…. Just don’t say anything at all. Got it!!)
KIDS CHANGE EVERYTHING
I made the life choice to be a stay at home with our first daughter. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made.
Did I start to lose myself?
Did I end up taking on everything in our personal life?
My problem was I didn’t know how to ask for help. I’ve always been a do it myself kind of girl. But I was really stupid.
I will say I made my husband get up and feed the baby, change diapers and other baby duties. He has always been a hands-on dad and I made sure of that. But it’s easy to become resentful. If you don’t have something for yourself then you can lose yourself if you’re not careful. This is why Local Mom Scoop was born.
RELATED: A MARRIAGE INTERVIEW THEN AND NOW
FAST FORWARD ANOTHER 10 YEARS
So in 10 years, my husband changed jobs. I had a second child. We’ve had 3 broken arms, 1 broken foot, the stomach virus seasonally. I started Local Mom Scoop. I launched Local Kid Scoop YouTube Channel and Soflo Moms On The Go Facebook Live Show.
And it’s been a roller coaster ever since.
My husband has made me cry. Juggling family, homework, work, sex, kids, dinnertime. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Life is really good. I’m not going to play it down. I’ve decided it’s okay to be happy in a world that is so sad right now. I’m celebrating the journey that we have been on because we should!
Here’s to another 20 years. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Hang on for the ride!!
20 Things I’ve Learned During My 20 Years Of Marriage
- Your Relationship Is The Most Important Thing before kids, parents, friends and so on.
- Stop Trying To Win – Compromise is really important as you realize being right all the time gets you nowhere.
- Listen To Each Other – Stop and get off your phone and be present to each other when they are talking. It’s just rude!!
- Read the Book the “5 Love Languages” – I was shocked when I discovered my husband’s. I had it all wrong.
- Stop Playing Mind Games – He seriously does not know that you are mad at him.
- Communication is a must – Last year I decided we would have Sunday family breakfast or dinner and talk about the activities for the week. We both made sure there was a parent available and we knew each other’s schedule.
- Take Turns Taking The Kids To School – This bonding time has been precious to my girls. Sometimes they don’t see their father all week. But it’s a great way to start the day and it gives me a break.
- Have Spontaneous Sex – When the kids are sucked into a show or technology, go sneak in the back and turn the sound machine on. I can’t tell you how many times we planned on “hanging out” when the kids went to bed and they were up all night.
- Have Date Nights – Whether you put the kids to bed and hang out on the porch, go to the beach or a fabulous dinner. Make time. Just once a month.
- Make Sure You Both Have Self-Care – I’m such a pleaser and a doer for my family that I’m trying to take more time for me. When I’m happy, everyone is happy.
- Don’t Overschedule Your Life – PTO meetings, Girl’s Nights Out, Guys Nights Out, Football games, Friday Local Events, soccer games and the list goes on. If you’re not careful, you’re kissing each other good night and starting all over again the next day. Let go of the FOMO (fear of missing out).
- Make Him Change Diapers – You need to empower your husband to feel like he’s got this. He’ll do it differently, but who cares.
- Laugh A Lot – Put on a funny show or movie you’ve laughed at before. We talk in movie quotes which we’ve changed over the year’s and can’t even remember what movies they are from now. But we laugh!
- Tell Each Other How You Feel – If you love him, tell him. If you’re upset, tell him. He should do the same. Stop internalizing and holding it all in. Be kind with your words no matter how angry
- Keep It Interesting – We play Mario Kart after the kids go to bed. If you lose, you lose a piece of clothing. Gotta keep it real after all these years.
- Try To Be On The Same Page When It Comes To The Kids – Each one of your kids is so different and you have to talk to them differently. Make sure he knows what’s going on.
- Try Not To Go To Bed Angry – You’ll just have nightmares and you won’t sleep anyways.
- Feel Good About You – Make sure you exercise, eat right and take care of your body and mind first.
- Be Best Friends – How easy you can become roommates and forget that you are best friends. He’s seen me pee, have a baby ripped out of me and dressed up for a gala event. He’s the person I call first when anything exciting or bad happens.
- Celebrate Each Anniversary – Don’t ignore it or make light of it. Look back over the last year because you probably went through some serious crap. Hug and kiss each other and acknowledge that you made it.
Thank you for taking the time to read.