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Do you know who the fireworks are for on September 16?

Today is my 11th wedding anniversary. September 16, 2011 on an unseasonably chilly day in San Diego, I finally married the extremely good-looking, mysterious guy who wore glasses and had elbow patches on his jacket that first day of Poli Sci class. My first impression was that he was just the right combination of smart, sexy, studious, and mature. He had come from work so he was dressed professionally (oh my how driven- points to you), he was minoring in Poli Sci (I was majoring, automatic bonus points for similar interests), he lived with his grandmother whom he adores (can you say, "Awwwww!"), and he was Mexican (I'm sold).

I still very clearly remember that first day of class when he sat next to me. We side-glanced at each other, taking each other in, pretending not to notice we were checking each other out, and then he proceeded to ask me a very obvious question. The answer was literally written on the board. We proceeded to write notes back and forth in my notebook for the rest of class and every class that followed. I still have the notebooks because I'm sappy like that. Every day after that first encounter I would walk up to class multiple times scoping the room to see if he had arrived so I could nonchalantly walk in and sit by him, "Oh hey, you again, fancy meeting you here." And then the flirting, blushing, and sweating would ensue. I was madly in love with the guy just weeks after meeting him. I just had to wait three years for him to fall madly in love with me and propose.

He was my everything when we were dating and first married. You might even call it obsessive. Don't get me wrong, even 11 years in he's still very much my everything, there are just 4 other little humans we made together that are also everything to me and are much louder in their demands for attention. When he travels for work I still get mild anxiety attacks because I hate being without him, and he travels a lot, yet I always feel the same way when I watch the Uber drive away. I can't go cry on my bed and text him immediately like I used to because I have to hold our girls who are crying because they miss him already. We grow up, we make little people, and we have to push our own feelings aside to take care of theirs first.

What we don't have to do is push our spouse aside. He's actually not here today, he's traveling for work. I think he has had to travel for work for at least half of our anniversaries. It used to really bother me and I'd be bitter and mean about it, but I like to think I finally grew up after having a couple of his babies, and now I don't blame him. I'm not exactly happy to be blogging about my husband on a Friday night on our anniversary. I'd much rather be some place fancy having overpriced tiny dishes with him. But that's not anyone's fault, it's called being a grown up. However, I did get caught in the other extreme of letting our anniversary go by uncelebrated and that wasn't any better. I tend to be a woman of extremes if you haven't figured that out already by my posts. I went from being resentful about him missing an anniversary to letting the day pass almost unnoticed. The last ten years in Mexico it really couldn't pass by as an ordinary day, because it's Mexican independence day and there are fireworks and parties galore. He would hate if I let this moment pass without telling his favorite joke, "Isn't it funny that he lost his independence on Independence Day?" Maybe it's funnier in Spanish. "No se te hace chistoso que yo perdí mi independencia en el día de independencia?" Nope. I just sigh and roll my eyes in both languages when he cracks that one.

So besides the fireworks being a literal, loud, bang of a reminder that there is something to celebrate on September 16, I need to make a loud bang. Anyone who is married year after year needs to make a loud bang on their anniversary! Marriage is HARD. It's kind of like having your first kid- there's so much stuff you are unprepared for that no one could really warn you about. You just have to experience it for yourself. We have made it through ELEVEN years of growth, intense fights, silent fights, extreme highs, equally extreme lows, overcame infertility (obviously...), four children were added to us, one baby was lost before we had the chance to meet them, 4 different homes, 2 countries, 6 different jobs between us, traveling the world, somewhat resenting the littles a bit for halting all world travel temporarily, our children being hospitalized 4 times in just 6 months, living far from family...and then farther, getting covid that truly messed him up, and our marriage surviving covid (all married couples get a pat on the back for that one).

Too often I let the kids take precedence in our life. Maybe it's because they're just louder than my husband and fight way too hard for my attention. Maybe there are just too many of them now and he's outnumbered. Whatever it is, I have to make a conscious effort now to set aside time for us. After my first child was born and I was completely absorbed by her, my parents had a very direct talk with me. In my defense, I thought we might never be able to have children plus there were complications during the pregnancy, so granted I had some major attachment issues. My dad asked me what the Bible says about priorities in the family. Who comes first? Well, duh, Sunday school answer- Jesus. Who comes second? It seemed obvious that your kids are next in line of importance. It seemed like my mom always put us first. But no. Biblically, next in line is your spouse. Check out Genesis 2:24. It seemed like us kids were first because my parents were quick to give us love, attention and support. What I didn't realize was all the things the two of them did for each other and how they actually put each other before us. I didn't see it as a kid, but I do now. It's why their marriage worked and why our family was a unit. They took time for each other. My husband said his parents were the same. He remembers that none of them were ever allowed to sit between them. They maintained that closeness through their four children as well.

We make an effort to have a date once a month, often it's a lunch date because it's easier (and to tell the truth, we're too tired to go out past 8 after bedtime!). Those lunches we started having a couple months ago have been so rejuvenating. We have full conversations without interruption and can get caught up on each other when we're not exhausted or plain tired of talking. Come 8p I am totally spent, my voice and brain are done, and I do not want to talk to anyone. Just give me some Netflix and reheated dinner I didn't get to finish and talk to me in no less than one hour. He starts his day at 5am when he works in the city. We don't exactly have the energy or brain power to chat each other up at 8:30p on a Thursday. That's why these little monthly lunch dates have been so important.

It's amazing we still enjoy each other's company as much as we do even though we are not the same people who got married 11 years ago. I like to think we're better. I know I grew up real quick once I had Dahlia, my first girl. I'm just glad he still loves me the same even though I sometimes get lost trying to become the mother I want to be while remaining the wife I always was. And to stay true to being the wife I always was, I made dinner reservations at some place fancy with the aforementioned tiny, overpriced plates. Let's just hope no one gets sick and we actually get to go this time...this is our third attempt at the same restaurant. I don't intend to stop trying, ever.

We were so naive, so fresh, our supposed worries seem so trivial now. It's amazing what 11 years of perspective can do. I hardly recognize the girl in the wedding photos.

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