Happy Anniversary to the love of my life, my amazing husband, Mr. Zoo Keeper, Alex. Today, we are married 7 years–with 15.5 years of “togetherness.”
We have had a very interesting road. Not much in life has come easy to us–except loving each other. Alex and I have loved each other, clung to each other, sobbed to each other, and worked through it together our whole relationship–and we have no plans on stopping.
We started dating as freshmen in high school. Neither of uswere driving yet and we did not go to the same high school. We needed rides to see each other at all–which my parents deemed once a week was enough driving. This photo is our first dance, we were together about weeks. The dance was held at High Cliff Supper Club (why I point this out will be relevant later). That being said, when you have to chose your once a week being seeing your boyfriend or your friends, it put a lot of strain on a lot of relationships….but we over came.
We decided to go to difference colleges. Alex went to UW Madison, I went to St. Norbert. That is a 2 hours drive. I had a car, but he did not. So, I would drive when I could, but with all that went on in our college days and family life and such, we could go as long as 6 weeks without seeing each other. It was tough and it put a lot of strain on our relationship, but we over came.
April 9, 2009 I was a St. Norbert and I was supposed to finish teaching at the Children’s center and then go drive to Madison to pick Alex up and drive him home for Easter (yes, drive 2 hours down, and then 1.5 hours back up to home–I did this often for just a little bit more time together) Turns out, he had snuck up to St. Norbert and proposed to me while I was “called to the front to present announcements” as he had cleverly arranged with the directors. We were excited, we picked a wedding day and ready to start our lives. Not long after picking our wedding day, we realized for a variety of reasons we could not get married on the day we wanted and had to push the wedding back a whole year. I was so sad to push marriage off a year, but we would still be together so it would be fine.
It was a month after we were engaged Alex found out he got into Pharmacy school….in Illinois. I was going to finish my senior year student teaching in Wisconsin, he was going to move to Illinois doing his first year. That put us engaged and about 4 hours apart. We over came.
It also meant I would have to move to Illinois after graduation for us to be together. I had to get certified to teach in another state, find a job in another state (where my college scholarships and honors have less clout), leave my small town, country life for the big city, and be far from family (college was 25 mins from home).
I graduated with my BA in Early Childhood/Elementary Education. I graduated on aSunday and Alex was there for the ceremony, but had to HURRY home that night because he had finals on Monday. He booked it out the door after pictures while his parents helped me pack up my dorm room into the trailer that contained the rest of my belongings from my parents house. Monday Morning 6am we hit the road moving me to Illinois. I searched and searched and applied and applied and could not find a teaching job so I settled on working in a day care. I started work on Wednesday. Graduate Sunday, move Monday, work Wednesday. Ok thats nuts, that is crazy, that would drive some nuts, BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! I get my job, we get the apartment, I move to Illinois to live with my fiance….and he gets a summer internship BACK HOME IN WISCONSIN. So now I am in a new state, I do not know a single soul I know, have a job I wasn’t a fan of, and I am living solo. But we over came (barely 😉 )
Alex moves to Illinois and I struggled with missing family and working all day while he was still doing the college life, but I buried myself in wedding planning our wedding back home in Wisconsin while living in Illinois. It took a lot of coordination so it was a good way to keep me busy. I over came.
Our wedding was an amazing day. We drove up from Illinois a week before the wedding for our bachelor/bachelorette parties. We did the last minute prep from home. We got married on June 25, 2011. It had rained the ENTIRE week but the clouds parted for our wedding day. Our ceremony was held in Alex’s family church, we were married by Monsignor Jim–who married his parents. Our receptionwas at High Cliff Supper Club. We had our first dance where we had our first dance ❤ Then, the stomach bug hit. Yes, it is my wedding day and I am throwing up on the air conditioner while my brother holds my veil while Alex comes to get me to tell me its time for the first dance. Phew, that was touch and we over came! We had a gift opening on Sunday, drove back to Illinois on Monday, and flew out on our honeymoon to Mexico on Tuesday–still feeling sick. BUT we over came….in sickness and ill health as was said during our vows. haha.
We were able to move home for Alex’s last year because he was doing his internships in Wisconsin–but he had to finish his summer internship in Illinois first. I got a teaching job! I got my keys August 1 and needed to start prepping right away since there was so much to prepare and clean out. Alex wasn’t moving home until late August so I moved up with my parents, set up our new house (left Alex with a microwave and air mattress haha), and set up my room. Alex moved back up home the week before I started teaching. But we over came.
Alex worked his butt off for 7 years to graduate with his PharmD. Funny thing was, hedidn’t get a degree in undergrad because he had the pre-requisites he needed to get into pharmacy school and didn’t feel the need to stay in school longer to get an undergrad degree. So on our marriage license, highest degree obtained is high school diploma. I took off of work before the first day of school for this. We drove to Illinois and celebrated all that was overcome in the past 7 years!
We started trying for a baby as soon as we had insurance. We struggled though…it took almost a year to get pregnant. I had an appointment to see a specialist–that I got to cancel because it was that day I found out I was pregnant. Pregnancy with Nolan was rough, I was on bedrest for 8 weeks (another post, another day). But amazing Nolan Alex entered our life after the coldest winter on Wisconsin record and after weeks of bedrest for pre-term labor he came ON his due date.
Getting pregnant was Stella was one of the firstthings that was easy for us….only to find out this pregnancy was going to be another rough one (again, another post, another day). Ms. Stella Rose showed up “life a freight train” on the day of her induction–only a few days early (and all the health concerns ended up not being concerns.)
Stella was 3 months old when I got my gut revelation that Nolan had autism. She was 6 months old when he was officially diagnosed. Here we are with 2 under 2 and an autism diagnosis. It was hard on us individually, it was hard on us as a family, and we are working every day to over come. We are learning the best therapies and Nolan is growing! Stella acts like she was born for this job of Autism sibling–which I am guessing she was. Alex and I are learning, we are growing, and we are supporting each other. We are overcoming.
This post is my long winded way of saying absolutely nothing has been easy in our life. We have spent YEARS looking at our peers and frustrated how well things were working for them and how much harder we had to work to make it work for us. We hate that we always had to over come vs experience. Looking back it also is making us who we are. It is pulling us apart on some days and then pushes us back together again.
Having a child with special needs is a HUGE strain on a marriage, no matter how strong that marriage is. It is hard and it is stressful. That being said, I think our stress and over coming in our past is definitely helpful. Good thing we are so good at this whole “over come” thing because that is what we are apparently set up to do from this day forward!
Cheers to many more years!