Monday, July 6, 2009

Fourth of July

Thirteen years ago Craig and I were married on the 4th of July. This man was and still is my best friend, lover, travel companion, conspirator, sparring partner, father of my children, the only man I have ever truly loved. These past 13 years have been filled with laughter, struggles, adventure, pain, challenges that pushed us to the brink. There were moments I would not have survived without his strength, moments of grief that tore us apart and then brought us back to each other. The birth of our first son together, followed by the shared tears and heartbreak when learning of his heart condition at 3 days old. The fear and anticipation over Cam's three surgeries, followed by relief over his recoveries. The celebration and joy over the birth of our healthy twin girls. Small snippets of days, fights, moments that are only ours - moments that over the years have shaped our marriage, our relationship in countless ways. There is no one else I can imagine sharing my life, my heart, my family with than Craig. He knows me in a way no one else ever has and to my sheer amazement and great joy he loves me even more than I ever could have anticipated. Finding and sharing my life with him has made me want to be a better person for him, for us, for our family, for our life together now and in the future.

This year was obviously very different than the one we shared together 13 years ago. I surprised our family with an overnight stay at a local resort that has a water park. The kids were thrilled, Craig and I tolerated the people, the lines, the crowds. After a while, we relaxed and focused on our kids. Splashing and playing in the pools, laughing and screaming on our way down the water slide, dinner at a local spot. This day was about all of us, the family we have made together and the many years to come as we raise our children. As the evening neared the end, we hopped on the light rail headed for Indian Steele Park to enjoy the fireworks or at least that was the plan. The light rail train in front of us broke down. After assessing the situation, we decided to walk the rest of the way through the warm summer evening. We didn't quite make it to the park, instead staking out a spot on the front lawn of Brophy Prep, away from the crowds we oohed and aahed over the fireworks display. As we adjusted our plans, there was no argument, no frustrations, we adapted, changed, moved forward together as we always have. It seems we have learned over the past 13 years that the most important thing in this life is that we are together no matter what direction life takes us in. Though I don't know what lies ahead of us, I know one thing. I want this man, my husband by my side, no matter what comes next.

A Time to Dance

When I was 4 years old my mother took me to Miss Genevieve's School of Dance near our home in Long Island. The pictures from those first few years of recitals reflect a happy, smiling little girl. Dressed in the requisite layers of tulle and frills, tap or ballet shoes on her feet enjoying every moment. Once we moved to Arizona, those dance classes became for me endless hours of torture. The giggles and innocence of little girls turned into cattiness accompanied by a level of competitiveness I dreaded. Truth be told, I was not much of a dancer. I was a dreamer, searching for every opportunity to lose myself in a book, or write in my journal. So, after much begging and pleading on my part followed by downright refusal to go on any longer, I quit dance for good.

Last week, I sat in an auditorium surrounded by vivid memories of those dance classes and recitals. For the past six months, my girls have been taking tap/ballet classes once a week. Their first recital was for them one of the highlights of their summer. For me, I had to take deep breaths, reminding myself this is one of the many things I have and will continue to do for my children. Given the choice, I would have been anywhere, but in that auditorium surrounded by pageantry and stage moms. They were lovely, in that sweet effervescent way only little girls can be. They smiled, giggled, tapped their way through their routine in their own layers of frills and tulle. There were my daughters, enjoying their first moment on stage, while I with tears in my eyes sat watching, cheering them on. Despite my hesitations, not to mention the two painful hours of performance I was subjected to during the course of the recital. I wouldn't have missed their five minutes for the world.