Today is 9 years. 9 years of being married to my husband, Ben Bergeron.
9 years ago yesterday, I was somehow even more of an insecure, emotional basket case than I am today. That’s still, technically, “improvement”, though.
I was a puddle in a white robe in our kitchen in our old apartment wondering if he changed his mind and ran away the day before our wedding because he wasn’t answering my phone calls or texts. I already couldn’t believe he wanted to be with me, why he chose me to spend the rest of his life with. I mean, you want to talk about a woman with baggage?
I had 9 and 5 year old kids. I had an ex-husband. I had outstanding college loans for my Masters program in Business and Accounting…and, I was working as an aerobics and yoga instructor. I barely had any income. I only showered a couple times a week because I considered swimming in Farm Pond just as good; and, that was during our Ironman triathlon training years. I was living out of my soft-top Jeep Wrangler, through winters in New England, because I couldn’t afford anything else. I was living out of friends’ guest rooms, with Maya and Jonah, in an effort to save money. And, I wore the same Sun Devil maroon athletic shorts and blue bandana in my hair about 4 out of 7 days of the week.
Thinking back on it all, I sort of question his character a little given that he didn’t just give up on me altogether.
When you ask him about all of that now, he just says, “I saw hope in her.”
I’ll take that 😉
This is the first relationship in my life that has grown and endured in so many ways, and has gotten better and stronger over time.
It’s not easy, you know? It’s not all going to Red Sox games and Patriots tailgates all of the time. It’s not all bar hopping around Boston and driving boats to The Chart Room on the Cape for mudslides with friends whenever the sun’s out. Families aren’t always happy with your lifestyle and the decisions you make together. The money’s not always there. Sometimes, and I really hate this one, you go to sleep angry with each other even though you swore in your wedding vows that you’d never do it.
So far, we got it right. We are both so different than the people we were when we were doing all of those things, but we’ve grown together…not in our own, separate directions. So, in essence, we are still the same people in the ways that actually matter.
We totally still mess up. We’re still not always great at communicating; it’s not always easy to know the difference between when it’s necessary and unnecessary to bring something up that doesn’t feel right. The line isn’t always clear as day. But, when you’ve crossed over that line it makes it much, much tougher to fix something and rebound.
Having said that, we get better every year. I know that because, ironically, what’s evolved into one of my very favorite things about our relationship is that we have both gotten so easy to talk to. The 98% of the time that we are now so much better at communicating has come from both of us working on being better listeners, being more open and eager to hear opinions from each other on everything from parenting to helping more to fixing our own flaws and struggles…and, spending time doing things that aren’t exactly #1 on the list of things that we want to spend our time doing.
And, one of the things we are both enjoying so much right now that we haven’t really ever had is very simple: balance.
We’re nowhere near perfectly balanced, but we’re getting to a place where we’re not weighing and measuring every ounce of food that goes in our mouths. We’re trying new foods that didn’t “fit the puzzle” before. Especially on the weekends and on vacation, we’re putting family time ahead of training time because we’re just at a place where we’re ok with going a day without exercising if it makes more sense for the rest of the family. While those things were important and great for us at one point in our lives, we’ve just moved on from those things. Together. And, it feels really nice. Especially when we’re both sharing and appreciating the change with each other.
I guess the thing that I am, personally, sort of celebrating in my own heart today as I honor all of the memories and evolutions Ben and I have shared together is our family’s understanding of what love means: to care more about someone else than you care about yourself.
I would consider myself an often selfish person. I use up time in my day to do my hair and play around with fashion. I put my training before many household chores. And, I choose to contribute to this blog everyday instead of putting more time into cooking dinner for my family.
Being with Ben, a man who somehow makes my heart grow bigger and stronger every day I get to be his wife, has awoken that part of my heart that would do almost anything for another person…instead of taking care of myself first.
As I walk through my day, I think about things I can do to make his life easier, ways I can help him achieve his health goals, people I can connect with that will bring more happiness to his life, insights I can give him to help him move CFNE in the direction he envisions it to go, reel him in at home so he can be the father figure he wants to be in our children’s lives, ways I can identify and improve on my own personal weaknesses and flaws so our relationship can become even stronger, and just make sure that he spends as much time as possible every day smiling.
I love watching him sleep.
Because it gives me a second to hit the pause button, look at that face that I fell so hard for 9 years ago, and never ever forget how grateful I should be that I found him.
In this enormous world of more people than I can even wrap my brain around, I found my perfect man. The man I truly, on every level, was meant to be with. The man I can’t imagine not having with me to share all of this goodness and happiness I have around me.
And, the man who will forever hold my love-filled heart in the palm of his hand.
Ben Bergeron, thank you so much for giving me the most beautiful life full of a kind of love that I would never be able to know without you.
I loved you more this morning than I did when I fell asleep last night.
And, I will love you more tomorrow morning than I do right now.
Happy Anniversary, my love.