Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Unexpectedly More

When Ben and I got married 8 years ago today, I thought I knew what to expect.  After all, we had been dating for 4 years already.  We'd been on some amazing trips together--time visiting with each other's families, weekend roadtrips to visit friends, a spontaneous fall break in New York, spring break in Gatlinburg, and of course, our epic 3-month road trip across the United States.  We both had steady jobs, him at Brylane USA and me at Zionsville High School.  We had already purchased our first home, a ranch in Zionsville, and I had lived there for several months while he lived with a family in town.  We had established our church home at Zionsville Presbyterian.  We had four pets (two dogs and two cats) to care for and cuddle.  I thought our future together would be smooth sailing, more of the same of what we had come to know.

In many ways, though, the past 8 years have been utterly unexpected.  We've been through so many changes and adventures together, things that I never could have anticipated 8 years ago.

Those "steady jobs" of ours turned out to only be temporary.  Ben has worked for four different companies since we got married (Brylane, Covance, Ingersoll-Rand, and Camp Tecumseh), and I worked full-time for two different schools (Zionsville and University), as well as held a myriad of other part-time or short-term jobs.  In fact, 8 years later, neither of us is on the career path that we expected back then.  Ben has left the world of coporate finance in favor of fundraising for a Christian not-for-profit.  While I used to be a high school English teacher, now I'm a stay-at-home mom, working on a masters degree in library and information science in hopes of a future career as a librarian.

We always knew we wanted kids, but our timetable was unexpected as well.  By the time our first anniversary rolled around, I was halfway through my pregnancy with our first child.  I've been pregnant 7 times in the last 8 years, resulting in 3 heartbreaking miscarriages and 4 beautiful, perfect kids.  8 years ago, I didn't know anything about the extremes in sadness and joy that these events could bring.

After the birth of our first child, that ranch house in Zionsville seemed too small.  We're now in our third house as a couple.  (Ironically, our current house is smaller than that first one.  Oh, how little we knew back then!)

Speaking of big-ticket items, we've also been through 7 cars in the last 8 years.  Ben had a Ford Taurus when we got married, but he replaced it shortly thereafter with a Volkswagon Jetta.  He also drove my friend Melissa's Honda Insight while she lived abroad for a year, then purchased a Chevy Malibu.  I stuck with my white Jeep for most of that time, but when our family got too big to fit into it, Ben inherited it and I upsized to a blue Dodge van.  The Jeep died a painful death a couple of months ago, so now we're a two-van family, having added a Chysler Town and Country to the mix.

When we got married at Zionsville Presbyterian, we had visions of raising our family there.  We ended up leaving that church two years later to become members of Connection Pointe in Brownsburg, followed by a long search for a new church home after we moved to Delphi.

When we got married, we thought of ourselves as animal lovers and were quite happy with our small zoo.  Two years later, Jag and Dash (our cats) found a new home through the Humane Society placement program when transitioning to a new house with them proved to be too difficult during showings.  Our beloved dogs, Dagny and Tela, had to be put down shortly after Liam was born, as they had gotten old, cranky, and sick.  Now we're a no-pet household.  The rule at camp is that full-time families have to live here for five years before getting pets, but I think Ben might be hard to convince even after that.

As for those amazing vacations, we did take one to Ireland about four months after we got married.  Since then, though, our only vacations have been with family, and even weekend trips to visit friends are now a rarity, since trying to travel anywhere with four children is quite a challenge.

So 8 years in, is married life what I expected?  Absolutely not.  It's more, in every way.  Sometimes overwhelmingly so.  More chaos, more decisions, more changes.  More chances for us to grow together.  More memories as part of our life together.

So happy 8th anniversary, Ben.  Here's looking forward to 80 more!


Chris, Britta, Grace, Gianna, Toby, Josh, and Sam said...

I'm so happy for both of you. You're a great Christian witness to honoring the vows of marriage.

Chris, Britta, Grace, Gianna, Toby, Josh, and Sam said...

Congrats to you both and thank you so much for your Christian witness in living out your marriage vows.

Cathy Willman said...

I don't know how I missed this. Marriage is all about how you traverse the ups and downs of life together. And you guys do a great job with that. Keep up the Great Work!

Lora said...

This is so beautiful, Amy! Isn't it funny how we think we have everything all figured out? It makes me think of Jer. 29:11. Here's to many more happy years together!