Well, we survived year one. Survived. That’s a strange way of putting it, and I’ve been saying it over the last week or so in a jocular manner, laughing that neither E nor myself has killed the other. We’ve gotten the old “the first year is the hardest” response, although a friend also said that year two was actually more difficult, but I tend to consider it the way I do most things: it all depends.
For our anniversary, we mostly drove in the car–at least on the day of–as we set out for Chicago for a few days of city life and to celebrate the start of Year 2. We did a lot of things, including a second trip to Wrigley to see the Cubs beat the Tigers in comeback fashion, toured several of Chicago’s finest breweries and even saw the most random play I’ve ever witnessed called Bat-Hamlet, which is exactly what it sounds like. All in all we had a good time, although Chicago is far away from where we live, which meant we essentially traveled for 4 days of the trip. Man, teleportation would be incredible.
Still, I think it was important to make the trip, even if this doesn’t start a tradition of longer-term vacations for each anniversary. It was important because Year 1, while it was edifying and mostly excellent, was actually quite difficult. I’ve discussed the idea of transitions before and how neither E nor I is very good at them, and how our lives seem to be filled with them, probably because we are no good at them and need to learn to cope. The constant movement between families, with little L (who is now 4 and getting smarter and sassier by the day), between each other has kept the boat rocking pretty much from day one; but none of this is wildly surprising.
What is surprising is that I actually might have learned a thing or two about how to get through the chaos. I’m seeing now how vital it is to protect our little family above all other relationships, even if that means telling other people “no” from time to time, as well as realizing that pretty much everyone else in our lives knows how important this is, too. For some reason I came into things believing that most everyone else in my life would hold some sort of grudge against me for choosing my wife first, but the more I recognize that this isn’t the case, the better I feel about making that choice.
And this is the best option, it seems to me, and not just in the long run. Moment to moment remembering this helps me to know that this is what matters the most of all my human relationships. It’s not as simple as happy wife, happy life or some other cheesy sentiment like that; instead it comes down to priorities and doing what’s right for my family, which is me and these two girls.
And somehow I’ll keep making mistakes, but I’d like to think, one year in, that I’m a little better at standing up and doing what is best more than I allow the feelings and worries of those outside of us push me in one direction or another.
And now, for fun, here are some photos from the trip.