When Tom and I first found out we were going to be parents it was the scariest time in my life, I was working at a smoke shop and Tom was working at Arby’s and we were just 18 and 19 years old. We got married when I was 8 months pregnant with McKenzie and I was a nervous wreck. Looking at the photo of my dad walking me down the aisle I was pale as a ghost and I remember my dad trying to lighten the mood telling me that I was going to have the baby as I walked down the aisle.
My parents thankfully gave us our wedding as our wedding gift, and it was filled with our family and friends and those who loved us and hoped we would make it and those who loved us but thought we were making a big mistake and then those who loved us but thought that we were just to young to be getting married and having a baby in general. But it was what it was and we had the love of them even if they didn’t like our choices they still supported us in it because they loved us.
The first year was a crazy mess, Tom was working long hours and going to school and we never saw each other, and then he went off to basic and tech school for the Air Force and was gone for 6 months and then it is when real life started for us. We had been living with my parents (on what little we were making coming up with money for a security deposit was impossible, thankfully we were able to rent from my parents and lived in the basement downstairs that had a small kitchen/bathroom and bedroom) until Tom got home from training and having my parents there to talk to, help out when needed when I could not figure out what was going on with McKenzie as she cried for hours (looking back it was colic but the doctor didn’t pick up on it but I sure wish they had). I had my dad there to help me check the fluids in my car, to get hands on advice for cooking and face to face conversations when I needed them. The other issue that came about was we really did not see each other at all for that year, it was like he was doing his thing and I was taking care of McKenzie but it had to be that way so we could survive.
When the day came to move I was excited to start our own life in our own house but nervous as hell, my parents watched McKenzie for us while we moved our stuff and unloaded the truck and then they left. I cried like crazy (even though they were only going to be 2 hours away) and I am sure Tom thought I was crazy , but this was it. This is when our life would begin and all things would be different.
Our house was filled with unmatching furniture that we had been given by some wonderful people in our lives, we had a dining room set, futon, couch, desk, mattress, box spring, crib, changing table and 2 dressers and then we finally got to open and use the kitchen goodies we had gotten at our wedding. I can not tell you how excited I was the day I found a bedroom set on the side of the road for FREE (It was 1 of 3 that we found over the first 5 years of being married), Tom thought I was crazy and just went along with it, but you could tell it was not what he had been hoping for but it also led to me going out on trash day to see what goodies I could find and soon we had a house filled with unmatched furniture but everything we needed and it was ours.
Living together for the first time was rough, sure we had lived together before but now it was a the real thing of seeing each other and talking to each other and neither one of us was quite sure how to go about things. We had to reget to know each other and by this time we had both grown up a smidge and somethings that we were ok with before we weren’t now. We had to figure out how to handle the household work (which I will be honest sucked, cleaning was not Toms expertise to say the least and for the first few years of our marriage he didn’t clean at all). I had to figure out how to cook, now out of necessity money wise and not knowing how to cook boxed food became a staple and God help me if I ever have to look at another box of hamburger helper.
We had spouts where getting along was great, things like playing a video game together and laughing and having fun then we had spouts where we wanted to rip each others heads off. We had fun times as a family taking McKenzie to see new things and learn and explore. Then we found out we were pregnant with Logan, and then Tom deployed and when he got back it was time to reget to know each other again. There were times then that we were all smiles as a family of 4 and as a couple and then there were times we wanted to rip each others heads off. Things changed and I no longer was the stay at home mom and he had to feed the kids dinner and get them to bed, something that he never had to do before. Then I went to school and we found out we were having another baby which that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage and both of us had no idea how to act and so we went on to deal with it in our own ways, me couponing and him with his love of video games. Then we found out we were pregnant with Alyssa and a few months after she was born another new change, Tom would be getting out of the military. During this time we both were trying to find ourselves, and doing it while being a part of a couple. Counseling helped some with that, don’t ever be afraid to see a councilor, as a couple, by yourself whatever you need. I know there is a stigma with it but really it can and does help. Having friends who are friends with both of you and will listen to you when you want to rip off your spouses head is also helpful (but make sure they know you both and that they have faith in you as a couple).
We had also figured out how to evenly divide household duties and kid duties and so in that aspect things were much better. This is also when I was banned from using the vacuum 😉
If you have not dealt with job loss you are lucky. The strain of that reeked havoc on us as a couple. We had moved back in with my parents and living there while in our own apartment in their house (thanks to my awesome dad and grandfather who quickly transformed the basement into an apartment to fit us all) and no longer were we in our own home, even with the separation we were still in my parents home. The how are we going to pay the bills, the blame of not having any money were constant in our house and we had talks about how splitting up might be an option. After much talking we made the choice to move back to New Jersey and give it another go, together. The times were tough, money was tight and Tom had made the living room couch his bed for quite a few months. But we trugged along and somehow made it through that time. I have to say it could be only love that helped us there because at that point had we not loved each other and not wanted to make it work walking away from each other would have been the easiest thing.
Then Tom found a job, money was less tight and this blog started pulling in a bit of income for us and we were able to get on our feet financially again. I would love to say it has been all rosey and fun, but again we were adjusting to us both working full time and we have had many conversations on how to make things work. Then we moved to the house we are in now, we have figured out how to have the household chores work, spend time with one another and get things done as a team. We still have our fights and empty threats when we get overly stressed out but we have learned to work together. We have great friends who have supported us 100% and given an outside view when we needed it most.
December will be 9 years of being married, 9 long, hard, challenging, wonderful, amazing, happy, sad, angry, smiling, proud years. And while at times I still want to rip his head off I know that it is just another time of change for us and that as we keep getting older these times will come and go. We have learned from our mistakes, and we have grown. We have learned more about ourselves and each other as the years have gone on. We both still have our flaws and we will both continue to make mistakes and not do things the way the other would like us to do them. We will continue to learn about each other and we will need to work together to get things done and make things work and what works for us now might now work for us in a year or 2 years but that as long as we want it to work, and love each other we will continue to beat the odds of being a family that started out young.