“That is how long/how much you have been my husband. We are us. We have made it. I have made a promise to never underestimate how difficult this commitment we have made is. I have promised myself to each year, quantify in this way, just how long/how much you and I have been us, Mr. and Mrs. Ernst. Seeing the years, months, days, moments, seconds add up makes my heart swell with pride. I chose to allow your love to fill my life and my heart and whilst that makes me happy and content so much of the time, I knew going in to this that this was never going to be easy. Not by any fault of our own necessarily but because of the world, society, people that we will meet or have met that will influence us in one way or another, raw deals and lost dreams that we will have to let go of, money, air, wrenches and who knows what else… Easy or not, we are in this together, for better or worse, such easy words to say, so much more difficult to live them, I’m proud of us for doing so.”
This post is ridiculously LATE and overdue, but we’re just going to go with “better late than never”!
Our third year of marriage has been… a BLUR:
- We went out for our last anniversary to spite me being SO pregnant that all I wanted to do pretty much ever was sleep and hope that when I woke my ankles had returned!
- We celebrated our last Thanksgiving as “just Jen & Don”
- We took a trip to Jacksonville Beach and had awesome times with Anita & Chris, ate some amazing food at The Maple Street Biscuit Company, and burnt ends from some BBQ joint whose name I don’t remember, checked in at the local hospital for an NST that would later prove to have been a waste of time… Sigh and got to have brunch with the one and only Mr. Paul Ferlita.
- We had our maternity photo shoot cancelled at the last minute and you were so kind and sensitive to my super prego hormones and my insistence that it was “THE WORST THING EVER”. Good friends once again came to the rescue and we did end up getting beautiful maternity photos during the busiest time of year for professional photograhers! (Thank you Bobby, Erin and Kai!) I have yet to edit any of these and do something with them… its on “the list”…
- I did an engagement shoot at 9 months pregnant while you worked your butt off at the shop to try and get ahead for us.
- I FINALLY got our wedding photos printed and hung up in our home, seeing those photos on display makes me smile on a daily basis. Our wedding day will forever be one of THE BEST days of my life.
- A week prior to my scheduled c-section I went in for my NST and for the first time didn’t pass the second round of tests, on December 16th around 5:30pm I called you to tell you that they were admitting me and inducing me, you said “Ok, well I still have 3 alignments to do” LOL and I said “All good, we should have plenty of time”.
- Everyone made it in time and after every one was sent home they were all called back as it was decided that we were going to do a scheduled c-section around 2:30am.
- You stood by my side in a cold operating room with your least favorite Dr. performing major surgery on your wife and your son and you kept your calm, said all of the right things. In that moment I had never been more thankful for you.
- At 4:01am on December 17th, you and I heard our baby cry for the very first time and it was the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard.
- You managed to not lose your mind going stir crazy being in the hospital for 3 days and you helped me and Baby Don in any and every way you could. Fatherhood looks so good on you my love.
- We argued about Elf on The Shelf pictures while in the hospital and you not having any jeans to wear for our coming home with baby pictures (I’m pretty sure you had on two opposing styles of plaid at the time LOL!) but, we worked it out and got an Elf picture and you changed into some jeans for our pictures once we got home. (Looking back now I’m not sure why either of these things really mattered but I love you for humoring me!)
- We somehow survived a mandatory 48 hours of consecutive hourly nursing sessions for our first two days home with the baby AND managed to drive to the hospital two times to get his blood tests. We were speaking in tongues by the end of it, but we were also working together as THE BEST TEAM and we kept our son from having to spend any time in the NICU by bringing his billirubin levels back to normal. I am still so proud of us for this!
- Speaking of those blood tests, in my first of what will hopefully not be too many “too much for my momma heart to handle moments”, you took over mid blood test as I could not bare to see them cut his tiny brand new foot anymore! You handled it like a champ and took care of my heart and my baby. Thank you.
- We had visits from DON ONE when Don Cubed was brand new and also in the summer where we got to splash around in the pool at The Tahitian for a whole day.
- Uncle Doug has become one of Don Harvey’s biggest fans and has come to visit with him a couple of times now even reading him a bedtime story each visit.
- We have watched Harvey infect everyone he meets with a smile and love. He is so much like his daddy!
- We have been the luckiest to have my parents take on such an active roll in being Harvey’s grandparents, he is SO loved by them and we are so fortunate to have them.
- Baby Don is incredibly lucky to have three aunts and an uncle that also love him very much!
- You went on your annual race weekend in Daytona and once again NO ONE got arrested! LOL It was the first time I was alone with the baby, he was just about 6 weeks old at the time. I missed you while you were gone but I have very precious memories of that special time Harvey and I got to spend together alone. I also remember having a really sweet phone conversation with you during a 3:30am feeding, it was one of those talks where we just seemed to get one another and it made my heart really happy.
- We have dealt with all things baby: gas, constipation, sleep training, scheduling, teething, crawling, talking, almost walking and even when our days may not have been the brightest we both put a smile on our face and showed our son the best parts of ourselves.
- We managed to keep baby Don home and with a nanny for his whole first year which was so important to me and is yet another thing I am so proud of us for because it certainly has not been easy!
- As I write this post (late…) your “Family Car” #projectslowsaab is said to be almost completed! So sometime soon you and Don Cubed will be able to cruise around town in your own ride, which I know is going to make all of us SO happy!
- We went to “The Price is Right”and did not get to spin the wheel… But had an awesome time!
- Went to see Dave Chapelle and we laughed hysterically to spite my weird worry that I was going to somehow not think he was funny and be the only one not laughing!
- You supported me through 6 months of breastfeeding and willingly took over the morning feedings once you could.
- I got to meet Colbie Caillat while you got your own alone time with the baby for a weekend.
- We had date night at Duffy’s, I love our mutual appreciation for SWEET dive bars!
- We went to bachelor and bachelorette parties.
- Coordinated a friends engagement party at the very last minute (refreshments and all!) LOL!
- Went to a Vertical Horizon and Tonic concert at The Water Works Park and walked the length of the River Walk afterwards.
- Went to John’s Pass for a visit with Laura.
- Went to lots of birthday parties and dinners for friends that are family, for family and for babies of friends that are family.
- I set up mini-sessions in our backyard and finally made some good use of our crazy “jungle wall” and you helped as much as you possibly could to spite being worn out and super busy with your own responsibilities.
- We also DIDN’T do A LOT of things that we wanted to, we missed out on two weddings that were so important to us to be at.
- We didn’t get the chance to go back to the OH to visit with friends and family like we had hoped we would.
- We got robbed, more than once in our own front yard.
- We stayed strong and confident to spite health concerns for our family that turned out to be minor but could have been major.
- We lost friendships and forged new ones.
- We lost our way, grew apart and back together again over and over.
In spite of plenty of opposition, disappointments and challenges thrown our way we are still forging our way forward. Marriage and parenthood are harder than I ever could have imagined they would be. The weight of it all can feel like way too much at times but I am now and will continue to be committed to doing my best each day to be the best wife and mother that I can be. Because at the end of the day knowing that I can always count on our family being together makes each day worth it. Thank you husband for continuing to show up and do the same even on the days when not “adulting” is the much more appealing option! I promise to do my best to acknowledge my own shortcomings and try to improve on them and to continue talking AND listening it all out with you while doing so.
I am still smiling and still falling my love.
I’m quoting this part from our original anniversary post along with the intro because I STILL mean it:
“We are of a generation that is fickle, that runs away from the scary shit. I promised myself and you that I would not run away from the scary shit in our marriage. That in and of itself IS SCARY! But, I meant it, I will mean it. I may write this “review” some years and mostly hate you! But, I will love you, I will forget and forgive, I will smile and laugh, I will let go and move on, I will go crazy and find sanity, I will want to quit and join the majority and I will overcome and subscribe, once again, to the minority. I am yours, you are mine. It will not be easy. It will down right suck at times. I knew that going in. I knew that when I sat in the corner eating two bites of a fish-filet pushing you away to no avail that I had completely jumped into the abyss that is us.
I will get jealous, I will worry, I will cry, we will experience loss in many ways, but we will see our way through it. I will grow old with you, which means that there is so much that will occur, that the seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months, years will just keep stacking up to remind me just how sure I was/am that this is love, this is us.”
“I belong with you, you belong with me, you’re my sweetheart”
With all my heart husband,
Your Loving Wife