These last couple of months, I've gotten so caught up in working full time & mom-ing, that I've began to overlook the one thing that has acted as the glue to hold all of these tiny pieces of our lives together; my relationship.
After recently getting engaged, Adrian & I have been assessing our relationship more than ever. We've really been taking the time to discuss the true meaning behind this big, shiny, pretty, rose gold, sparkly (sorry, was I rambling?) ring on my finger.
We've gone back & forth with the idea of taking this step for a while now, & although I was totally caught off guard at Ayda's 1st birthday party when he proposed, the decision to get engaged was 100% mutual. Prior to this exciting event, our conversations on "the topic" usually consisted of us entertaining the idea for about 20 minutes, & then being interrupted by remembering that we had a paper due that night- or Ayda cannon-balling off of the couch.
It wasn't until one random day in August, Adrian went all poet-&-you-didn't-know-it on me & said:
"There comes a day when you stop dreaming of the man you want to be, & you become that man"
This time I knew the conversation was about to get real. It didn't take long to come to the agreement that we were just ready for this next step. As unconventional as our story has been thus far, we have learned more about each other in the last 2 years than some people learn about their spouse after 10. I mean, on top going to school full time, raising a newborn in a city far away from family, working three jobs, playing sports, graduating from college, moving, starting a career, all within 2 years of being together, we really had gotten to know each other *insert sarcasm*.
In all seriousness, the decision to get engaged really made me realize how much the strength of our relationship is accredited to our struggle. And because of that struggle, we have ultimately acquired a set of morals & values to carry with us through the rest of our (soon to be) married days.
Values such as learning how to give & take. Really coming up with a plan that worked for the both of us in our day-to-day lives.
For example, scheduling our classes so that we had just enough time to hand Ayda off to each other in passing. Or when he would take her the beach by our school to wait for me to get out of my 3 hour lecture, just so that I didn't have to take the bus home. Or when he would go for a walk with us in the evenings, even though he just got back from a two hour long practice, because he knew it was something I enjoyed. Or those nights where I drove to the further train station with a crying baby in the car so that he didn't have to sit in a crowded train for 5 more minutes.
And the bigger matters like me supporting his dream to play football again, even if it's for no reason other than simply loving the game. Or him agreeing to move to Southern California, 400 miles further way from his family & friends, just so we could be closer to mine.
And there are other things like transforming our individual hopes & dreams into one consolidated list comprised of bits & pieces of our own. A list that we check things off of everyday together, while celebrating accomplishments that were never a big deal in our minds before we joined as one.
Like how waiting for an email back from the football coach stating whether or not he was on the team became one of my daily stressors. Almost as if it were me who was going to be playing under the lights every Saturday night. Or when I accomplished significantly raising my credit score- I think he was more excited than I was!
Additionally, and almost more importantly, being compassionate to the ones in which we failed.
Like when I got a call from a top entertainment firm telling me that they had chosen someone else over me. He understood my pain & frustration, as I had to cross that specific goal off of our list, but he also handed me a pen to write in an alternative.
With regards to our characters, I'm not really sure where people get the idea that they'll meet someone one day whose personalities perfectly align, and the rest of their lives will be sunshine & rainbows. I'll be the first to admit that on paper, mine Adrian's personalities are polar opposites.
I'm hypersensitive (ok, what girl isn't?).
I think logically.
He's a dreamer.
The list could go on forever. But again, when you're faced with a situation as serious and life changing as ours, you quickly learn to embrace the differences & use them to balance each other out. Like being able to recognize when I'm being a little bit too emotional, or he's being a little bit too resilient, without even saying a word. And to go beyond just recognition, we have learned to swallow that big piece of pride & own up to it.
Each time a similar situation arises, our dominate traits rub off on each other little by little, resulting in a harmonious balance of just enough sensitivity and just enough willfulness.
As I've mentioned in previous posts, he is my phone call that I make when I'm having an "oh shit" moment, just to hear him tell me, "Babe, you need to relax. You're stressing yourself out for no reason." Or when I'm feeling all too defeated & I need his inner poet to come out & pick me back up. Or if my logical thinking convinces me to take the easy way out, he's always standing behind me, pushing me to reach a little bit further, to dream that much bigger.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, I am his voice that makes him consider the alternatives when he has his heart set on one. I instill a little bit of rationale in him to keep him from getting too ahead of himself. I am the reminder that goes off telling him that we are only 22 years old & there is still time to own our 5 bedroom house with the big backyard (and have some more babies).
Inevitably, we go through rough patches. There are days when driving the extra 2 miles to pick him up at the further train station seems so pointless & unreasonable. Days when I just wish he didn't play football anymore so he could just be home to have dinner with us. And even more days when sleep seems way more important than owning up to any mistake & finding a solution.
But at the end of every day, no matter how frustrated I get with his hard headed-ness, or how annoyed he gets with me taking offense to small things, the one thing that has encouraged us to make this relationship work since day one, and will continue to so for the rest of our soon-to-be married days, is our daughter.
I've known Adrian as Ayda's father longer than I've known him as a regular guy.
We took on parenthood five months into our relationship. To some poeple, that seems like complete insanity.
To us, it is the very reason for the strength of our foundation. The foundation that we are slowly but surely building the life of our dreams on. Every day we solidify a new post, hammer in another nail, & squirt a little bit more glue in between the cracks . Our engagement has really caused us to put the tool box down, take a step back, & admire the work we have done thus far.
Our masterpiece is nowhere close to being finished, but it sure is beautiful already.