Yesterday, Erik and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. Actually, we kind of celebrated it all weekend long... but in the most casual manner possible. With Willow due to arrive in three days, maybe less maybe more, I think we both had this cloud of "this is it, no more just you and me time for a loooooong time" floating around in our heads. Neither of us said anything about that, but I think we felt especially connected this weekend because of it.
We didn't do anything noteworthy really. A few people asked us our plans and how we were celebrating and we kind of shrugged because we haven't been making plans lately, it seems kind of silly to plan anything too crazy for the week your baby is due. But we spent all our time together. You might think, well duh... but Erik and I are really both very independent people. We tend to enjoy doing solitary activities side by side if that makes any sense. So... we may both be home, but I could be downstairs making soap bars and he's upstairs organizing and analyzing his card collection. Or maybe we're literally side by side and I'm reading a book while Erik's watching cartoons on his tablet (and Lily is happily lounging in between us of course). We're home and together, and appreciate the other one being there, but we're mentally apart in a way.
But not this weekend. This weekend we were hanging out together without falter. Erik bought me a new video game (Kirby! I'd never played a Kirby game before, can you believe it??) for mother's day, because that's what you do for cool moms like me and mine ;) So we played that together. We went to the archery range. I didn't really feel like shooting, but Erik set me up with a lawn chair and Lily and I watched him shoot. The archery range we go to is really nice and secluded in the woods, so it's just peaceful to be there sometimes. Especially when it's been raining for what, three weeks!? The sunshine was much appreciated, even by me, a rainy day lover! We watched some TV together, including my favoritest show Outlander... yay! It's been fun watching my favorite TV/book couple on Outlander experience pregnancy while Erik and I are going through the same thing. Just disregard the last five minutes of this week's episode if you also watched it... ;)
We also visited our birth center's open house this weekend! We'd been waiting on the official opening and were starting to get anxious that too many construction delays were going to mean we couldn't have the birth center birth we wanted, but it is officially open and we got to see the whole beautiful thing yesterday. You can see some pictures of it here! I'm sure I'll have a whole blog post about midwifery and birth centers once it's all said and done, too. It was very sweet... when we arrived at the birth center, we felt like guests of honor because our midwife saw us and dropped all her conversations with everyone (there were a ton of people there!) to show us our room, all ready and perfect. She told everyone to move out of the way so we could see OUR room haha. It was wonderful to see and Willow's due to be the first baby born there, so we're all very excited.
After our birth center visit, Erik and I headed home and took an accidental nap before officially heading out to celebrate our five years together. We went to The Boathouse because I wanted to eat outside somewhere pretty, but it was cold and windy despite the sunshine so we had to sit inside. Womp womp. It was still nice, and I'm still rocking a gift card from an event I photographed at The Boathouse almost two years ago, so we got to be fancy for free, which is always a bonus.
And of course, we took our annual anniversary picture. I love this tradition and I think one day it's going to be so fun to watch our family grow and change over the years. We only missed the first year, so I use the picture of us on the porch with Zeke since it makes me sad that Zeke is not in the anniversary pictures he should be in. I think Erik prefers it that way because it makes him sad to be reminded of his little buddy, but I like having at least a little nod to the way our little family began... which is totally how we see both the pets we've had.
And as for five years of marriage? Well, I'll say we're even better at it than we were before haha MARRIAGE PROS. I went back to reread my posts from our second, third, and fourth anniversaries... and it reminded me of where we were. Year three of marriage really was a breakthrough for us. Less trying to please each other, and more trying to understand each other. I think it's shown and we feel so much more on the same page now. We know what the other one prioritizes and I think that's helped us let go of little grievances that don't matter. Erik knows that if I take the time to articulate something for him, that it's probably an even bigger deal to me than I'm even saying... but he knows it's hard for me to voice that stuff, so he's learned not to brush it off. And I've learned the opposite of him... that he may need to vent sometimes but when he says "this is ___" he may not mean ALL the time and I don't need to kill myself trying to fix all the things that bother him. Sometimes, just saying it out loud makes him feel better and that's all he needs!
The point is that after eight years together, five of those married, we're still learning but I think we've come to a very healthy place where arguments are fewer, shorter, and more constructive. Where we're just more at peace and thankful for what we have while still remaining sensitive to our different needs. And I can't imagine trying to have a baby without that foundation. It's truly taken years to build. I've been an emotional wreck this year in a way Erik had never seen before. He's the redhead! He's supposed to be the emotional one! haha but not this year. And he stepped up so much. We both did I think, but the role reversal was undeniable. It proved we'll be just fine no matter what comes our way and that hard things make having the perfect partner even more fulfilling.