On 2nd May 2018, we had been married for three years. It is probably telling about the state of things that it has taken me almost a week to write something about it; I considered sacking it off entirely, because I'm sure most people are not interested in my annual musings about marriage - but whilst I blog for you, I also blog for me, and I like to be able to look back on these things, so here we are.
Last year, I wrote that I was excited for us to face the challenge of parenting together - and what a challenge it has been. There are some distressing statistics on the number of people who get divorced in the first few years of their child's life, and I can see why. It is hard to be married and be a parent; you have so little time for yourself, let alone for another adult human. Babies take it all out of you, and in the stress and the exhaustion of it all, it can be difficult to prioritise your relationship. Case in point: cancelling our long-anticipated anniversary dinner due to our sick baby last Wednesday. That stress and exhaustion doesn't leave anyone being their best self, and it's far too easy to snap at each other or get frustrated.
That said, I also cannot imagine doing this whole parenting thing without Paul. Not just for the practical reasons, although it is helpful to have another pair of hands to help clean, tidy and wrangle a baby. But also for all the joy that comes from sharing parenthood with someone else; from the complete conviction that your baby is in fact the best baby to the shared fascination in every aspect of their life, from the magical to the functional. It is wonderful to see the person that you love become a parent; Paul is a fantastic father and it only makes me love him more. At the end of a long day, Ben and I watch out of our front window for him to come home, and I'm not sure who gets more excited when we see him walking up the path! I hope we always feel that way.
Of course, we are not only parents, we are still ourselves, but I would be lying if I said that these first nine months haven't been all consuming. I'm sure that one day, we'll fondly shake our heads at the memories of these days - the hard edges sanded off by time and nostalgia. The challenge is all worth it, and it feels like it's getting easier all the time. We're learning, slowly, how to do this parenting thing and be married and keep our lives.
The past couple of years, I have expressed my hopes and fears for the year ahead, but it feels so difficult to do that now. Every month is so very different from the last, and this time next year we'll probably have a walking, talking little pal tagging along with us, which is something I almost can't contemplate. We're in it for the long haul. though, so watch this space...