Marriage is what bring us together today

Moira Mouse was an unexpected blessing. Some say the term is “honeymoon baby.” She was born 9 months after our wedding. And while we were completely thrilled, we were also a little surprised. We had just bought a log house way up on a dirt road at the end of nowhere. (We actually had a bear in our yard one evening.) We had just discovered the pregnancy when Scott got word (he recently retired after 23 years in the Air Force Reserves) he was being sent to Good Fellow AFB in San Angelo, Texas for training. For nearly 5 months. Now, it may have been the hormones, or maybe just good sense, but I shed BIG tears when we found this out and longed to argue with Scott’s commanding officer. He wouldn’t let me. Apparently when the military sends you somewhere, you have to go, whether your new, pregnant, bride wants you to or not.
So Scott left in mid-October and I stayed behind in our cozy, lonesome cabin. I was working as a special education teacher at the time. I’d come home exhausted, sore and hungry, suffering from morning sickness long into the evening. I’d fix tea and toast with side-dish of self-pity and wish I had someone to rub my feet or get me ginger ale in the middle of night.
It was one of the snowiest, coldest winters on record (of course.) During one storm we got a whopping 27 inches. I was so scared of being snowed in if something happened I went outside every 2 hours to shovel the steps and a path to our 4-wheel drive SUV. I was 6 months pregnant. I was working full-time, going to school part-time, taking care of the house, which included lugging in wood for the wood stove that heated the house. The cabin, which had seemed romantic and inviting when there was two of us, now seemed ridiculously remote and impractical as I tackled it alone. This was not exactly how I had pictured my first year of marriage, or our first pregnancy. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but those would be my last months worrying only about me. I could eat, read, sleep, shop, and watch TV, whenever I wanted to, according to no one’s schedule but my own. It was literally the last time I ever slept in a bed alone and I didn’t even know enough to appreciate it (I’ve slept without Scott since then, but never without at least one kid and a dog or two!)
I called Scott one Saturday afternoon in January, feeling glum. The laundry and dishes were piling up, I was behind in my homework, there was nothing good to eat in the house and I was nearly 8 months along and not in the mood to do much of anything. But, he couldn’t talk, he said, because the maid had just come in to clean his room and he needed to get to the barbeque the guys were hosting so they could all watch the Big Game together. At this point in the conversation, I uttered a few choice words and hung up on him.
Those 5 months he was gone were hard. They were demanding physically and emotionally. I was lonely and tired and hormonal. I was happy and sad and pissed off. But, looking back, what feel is pride. I did it! I was so tired I once fell asleep on the floor in the teachers’ bathroom at work (true story), but I survived. I took care of myself and a new house, a new job, a first pregnancy, and I did all by myself. I felt like a lived through a chapter of Little House on the Prairie. I felt strong and invincible and like if I could manage wild snowstorms and morning sickness, below zero wind chills and swollen ankles, I could do anything! When Scott got home in mid-February I was so thrilled to have him home! It was an awesome feeling to want him, but not need him, and to absolutely know the difference.
In a few short weeks we will celebrate our 11th year of marriage. And in our years together, we’ve moved 5 times, had 3 kids, endured a deployment, and numerous other challenges. And though our first year of marriage was less than traditional, it prepared us to get through the tough times. It allowed us to recognize our own independence and skills and to know that being together is a choice we make every day. Our commitment to marriage is what brings us together today….

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