13 Lessons for 13 Years

The wife and I aren’t into sappy stuff.

Sure I swear (and sway) by my slow jams, and we’ll take a nice, private, romantic evening with battery-operated candles, but overall we’re not into the overly-mushy crap.

We tend to vomit in our mouths every time an Amazing Race couple call each other babe or baby and we laughed out loud when people would post mushy love notes to each other on social media.

Still I love to write and well, the past few years I’ve written something out loud about our anniversary, so here I am contradicting myself again.

Last year I wrote 12 Boyz II Men Songs for 12 Years of Marriage.

The year before it was 11 Star Wars phrases, the year before that I talked about the vows we made when we started this journey, and before that I called her my “It Girl.”

What would I do this year? Thirteen Friends episodes…nah. Thirteen sports moments…nope! Thirteen unlucky times…no fun!

Instead I thought I would look back at each year starting with 2004 (our first complete year) and figure out something I learned in that year.

Let’s get started shall we?

2003-2004: I Learned That I Love Spending Time with My Wife
Sounds dumb right? Sure. I decided to spend time with her for the rest of my life so I should enjoy spending time with her. Still it’s your first year together and after a year of ‘dating’ we still aren’t totally sure what we’re getting ourselves into.

That first year was fun – from my memory. We played sock baseball in the hallway of our first apartment. We went to San Francisco and worked up a sweat walking up and down those streets (plus attending a Giants game). We went to Astoria, Oregon together just to see the Goonies house. We went to the movies when we wanted to, we watched TV when we wanted to. We had fun when we wanted to.

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2004-2005: I Learned That She Knows How to Be a Mom
Let’s be honest, before we were hitched she mentioned that she didn’t really want to get married and didn’t really intend on having kids. I got her to do both! Booyah!

Turns out she’s pretty good at one of those things! Booyah!

Sure she may show tough love, but she’s also a wonderful role model for the kids.

She’s strong, wise, calm and collected under pressure. She doesn’t get too upset or let things get to her. She doesn’t use foul language, doesn’t complain and is an incredibly hard worker.

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2005-2006: I Learned that she is a Fighter
She went toe-to-toe with cancer and knocked cancer on its butt! No bone marrow transplant. No other real scares after she was in remission. No complaints, no worries, just strength. She’s an inspiration to me and our kids. I’m so proud of her, and despite my love of being a do-gooder, this is the true reason I come back out every year and do the Relay For Life – because of how proud I am with how she demolished cancer with no bitching and moaning.

2006-2007: I Learned She’s Not a Bad Cook
Okay, so I needed to toss this somewhere and this seemed like the best place to put it.

I didn’t think I was getting a chef when I married her. No, she was a nice-looking Brazilian that had a great family and a sense of humor.

Bonus! I also got someone that can cook up some mean food and dessert! It started with that salmon and whatever she put on it that I love but she’ll never share the recipe probably because it includes onions. Then it was Stevanato Pizza, and cupcakes and … I’m getting hungry thinking about it.

2007-2008: I Learned That We Make Bad Decisions Together
To be fair, we didn’t think the house was a bad decision when we made it. And to be fair, I’m just happy because I make 98-percent of the bad decisions in this house, but buying the house was led by her so that makes me feel a bit better.

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2008-2009: I Learned She Tolerates Me
Fine! Go cuckoo for Star Wars…GEEK! You want to blab on about your fantasy football draft? Go right ahead. I’ll tune you out and you won’t know it. I’m sure there are tons of things more, but she lets me go ahead with it.

And she even let me push some of that stuff on Lukas…or is that domestic my child with Star Wars and sports stuff?

I don’t have to fight with her, or make oddball deals on Sundays over football games. She doesn’t care. I don’t have to make a deal with her so that I can go see Star Wars at midnight because she understands. Plus she knows that it’s silly, but it makes me happy and she’s okay with it. At least that’s what I’m rolling with!

2009-2010: I Learned That She Was Extremely Patient
As I mentioned 2008 and I guess ’09 sucked! I was unhappy. I was tossing Lukas around. I was commuting over an hour (and sometimes close to two) one way. I was sometimes driving from Sultan to Seattle to Arlington to Sultan on a Friday night in the snow. I was miserable!

Many, oh so many, wives would’ve walked away. She stayed strong. She told me to get my act together. We’re still here! Thank you!

2010-2011: I Learned That We Can Get Lost Together
Okay, so I wanted to throw something fun in the middle of all this. We spent a lot of 2010 watching Lost but we loved it and it was quality time together. We stayed up until 2:30 a.m. on a work night watching the show. We dreamed of moving islands together. We talked about it incessantly.

What am I getting at here? Just that we loved spending time together, doing nothing but spending time together. And we still do!

2011-2012: I Learned We Share the Same Values
This is HUGE! Especially as we’ve gotten older. Sure we may have some differences (or do we? I can’t even think of one!), but mostly our values and morals are the same. We know how we want our kids to be raised. We believe in the same way of discipline. We are together on the ‘technology’ thing, and finances, and our faith. It’s HUGE! We have no need to argue because we’re in the same boat. If we do have a disagreement, we can both get together and talk about it and come up with a middle ground to solve the issue. Rarely is one of us losing a battle that we felt passionate about. Again, this is HUGE!

2012-2013: I Learned I Can’t Be Left Home Alone
She left me for 58 days and I was a wreck. Seriously! A wreck! From the second her plane departed I couldn’t find the car in the parking garage, I didn’t know how much money we had (or didn’t have) to pay for parking, I locked myself out of the house, I couldn’t find anything in the house, I forgot how to do the laundry and cook, I was lost without her! Always a good laugh, you can read that list of 58 Shades of Loneliness here.

2013-2014: I Learned That She Can Stand the Rain
AKA … she’s supportive. We started an insurance office from scratch with no money in savings. Back to that bad decisions thing. The entire time she stood by me. We thought it might work. We didn’t know if it would work. It didn’t work. And when we decided to blow things up and start over, the decision was made together to blow it up and start all over with a new job, in a new location, and she supported me.

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2014-2015: I Learned to Be Passionate
We both know what this means. A lot of this was actually in 2016, when we were forced to have date nights together on Saturday in our living room because we only had one night to visit with each other. Still, things changed…for the better.

2015-2016: I Learned I Need Her to Talk To
The last few months have been tough. I’m overwhelmed with volunteer work, and being a father of three all alone at night. I don’t get to visit with my wife until Saturday. For 12 years I came home from work and word-vomited all over her, and now it’s little text messages here and there. It sucks. I need her to listen (or pretend that she’s listening) to me talk nonsense. I need to spend time with her, even if she’s watching Criminal Minds. I just need her! (Cue Lady Antebellum)

And I learned that together we’ve created a crazy, wonderful, beautiful thing so I need to do my best to stop trying to screw it up!

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