Five years ago, Kyle and I stood in the kitchen of our beloved Des Moines house chatting after dinner, still coming off the high of our incredible wedding weekend, and doing what we like to call “schemin’ and dreamin’.”
His brother Nick had told us on our wedding night that he and his wife were going to start trying for a baby (I’m pretty sure our nephew was conceived in Des Moines, you’re welcome, Noah!), and to my surprise, Kyle was getting all soft about the idea of kids.
Until I blurted out, “I need 5 years!”
I was 27 at the time and surprised myself that kids weren’t on my radar. Kyle was quickly sold on my idea. We wanted to enjoy our marriage as just the 2 of us before we would devote ourselves to children.
Plus, I had just quit my job to start freelance writing. After a few years of aimlessly flailing about wondering what to do with my English degree, I was finally driven in my career. I wanted time to experiment without the financial pressure of supporting children, and I wanted to see what I could do.
Now, 5 years later, I never would have guessed our lives would look the way they do. Despite my 5-year plan, I would have guessed we’d be having dinner in that same kitchen tonight with a toddler or maybe even 2 running around.
But now we live across the country in a rental home with a brand new baby crawling around, making it his own. What Labor Day weekend once signified for us was kicking off the season for Iowa State tailgating and busting out flannels. Now it signifies holding on for dear life because there’s just one more month of brutal summer left. We’ve lived in an apartment and two houses since leaving Des Moines. While I wouldn’t trade this sunny state, nothing compares to that first home for me.
Still, it was a no-brainer just 7 months after we said “I do” to each other to say “I do” to picking up and moving to Arizona together. For many of these big things, Kyle and I have always been on the same page.
While everything looks different today from what I would have forecasted back on our wedding night, I guess some things did go according to plan.
I gave myself time to experiment with freelancing, but instead of making it a great way to be able to stay home as a mom in the future, I promptly totally failed – failed in the sense that I wasn’t making enough for us to get by and live the lifestyle we’d like to have (for Kyle to golf and be debt-free, for me to wear Lululemon and drink quality coffee every day). But I succeeded in gaining more work experience and clarity about what I wanted in my career. Eventually, I found something I enjoyed and actually did get to work from home by the time we started our family.
And our baby boy came into our lives in our 5th year of marriage.
Then there are things we never planned on, like losing Kyle’s dad.
Or losing Kyle’s dad before we had Leo. It’s easy to kick ourselves now for waiting, but how can you plan for that?
The celebration of our 5-year wedding anniversary coincides with the weekend of John and Sharon’s wedding anniversary, followed soon by John’s birthday – the first of both since his passing. We have the video of John giving a speech at our wedding, a beautiful memory of him as his goofy and healthy self. Never could we have imagined 5 years later we wouldn’t get a happy-anniversary call from him.
There are things we tried to plan for, and things we mostly hoped for. There are things we wish we could take back and things we wish just didn’t happen, weren’t our circumstances. There are things we want (to buy a house, Leo to sleep through the night) and things we must make peace with (the housing market is insane, Leo hates sleeping).
Kyle and I had our first overnight getaway without Leo this weekend to celebrate our 5-year anniversary. Just two hours away from home, we escaped to the beautiful, forest-y, 30-degrees-cooler city of Flagstaff. We spent much of our car rides, hikes, dinner, sunset, and coffee time schemin’ and dreamin’ about where we see ourselves in another 5 years.
Will we have a house? Will we live in Phoenix? Will Leo sleep through the night then? Will we have another child?
Will I have any idea what I want to be when I grow up?
It’s all up in the air. But there’s no question as to who will be by my side and there’s no one else I’d rather discover all these answers with.
Happy 5-year anniversary, my love.