To me, February looks like it's sprinkled with love dates for us. St. Valentine's is coming right up, of course, and then there's also our wedding anniversary! This year we'll be married 21 years, and I can't help thinking about how our love has grown since February 1999.
I love Us! The couple we make. The family we established and the life we've made together. I don't really know of two more different people who decided to get married -but I'm so happy we did! We got married in our late twenties. The wedding was simple but unforgettable! We loved that it was so meaningful and that everyone came.
The first year we were married, we lived in Argentina and became pregnant with our first son. Then we moved to New York City in June 2000! -What a great adventure! Later we moved to New Jersey, where we had our second son. What a unique opportunity for our family! I loved the chances we took and the choices we made together. I love Us!
Then, we did the toddler years, when 15-extra-minutes of sleep become barter material! I'm convinced that two toddler boys have twice the energy span than their parents on any given day! But how we loved those years and the blessing they were to us as a family! By the time they learned to ride their bikes, figured out the monkey bars at the playground, visited the Library, had their friends over, and went to the beach in the Summer, it was time to go to Preschool! -I loved those years! We loved Us!
It felt quite busy being parents, but I remember we used to have dates with my husband and special times we could dress up and go out to dinner, or a movie, or an outing to reconnect as a couple. Those were some important dates. I loved that we did this! We tried to stick to the rule of not talking about the kids so we could remember the things we used to enjoy before we became parents! It's easy to forget that we were just the two of us before anyone called us Mom or Dad! We knew even in all the craziness of parenting that our love was born first! We love Us.
When the boys got older, they started school, sports, play dates, all kinds of activities. That came with all categories of driving, too, as well as some work-related international moves. But we stayed close to one another with my husband. We'd talk about our day at least a little and always hug. Then the teen years -you gotta love those! They'll test not only your limits but what you're made of! We probably didn't realize it then, but we were role-modeling commitment, friendship, and love. I know they were paying attention, they always are. I loved how we stayed close through it all.
My favorite tradition is to wear my wedding dress every Anniversary! It still fits. -Well kinda! We say our vows and have dinner, and then we remember all over again why we chose to get married. I love to do this because our wedding vows remind us of our choices. Since the boys were little, they've witnessed this ceremony at home. Now the boys are 18 and 20, yet they've seen times when our love was tested through loss and sickness, but we stick together because we love who we've become together.
After 21 Anniversaries, we know it only takes a moment to say our wedding vows but a lifetime to live them out. We Love Us.
Happy Valentine's to you and those you love. Enjoy them for who they are, and remember to tell them how blessed you are to have them in your life!
Wishing you love and all the best,
Maria A. Mansfield, PRS
Author: "Life is Worth Getting Better" & "Honoring Your Recovery"