Today is our 6th wedding anniversary. 6 years married, 12 years together.
I have a little photo book with one photo of us each year that we’ve been together and, for the last 7 or so years, we’ve taken that photo on our anniversary. I thought it would be a nice way to capture just one moment in our lives to have and look back on.
As I was on my way home from work I wondered what this year’s photo would look like. We didn’t have plans to go out, mainly because we had an argument yesterday and we aren’t ready to be friends yet. Well, I’m ready, Jack isn’t. He is stubborn, you see.
I had a little laugh to myself about how I’d force him to take a photo being grumpy while I smiled smugly, representing the fight we’d had yesterday. It wasn’t a real fight, just a silly argument, a result of us both being tired and grumpy. Jack is stressed about problems at work and I’m feeling exhausted from pregnancy and trying to cope with these new tantrums that have hit our household. Of course, we took it out on each other.
Instead, I got home later than expected. Jack was already putting Lilly to bed and gave me strict orders not to come in. I ate dinner that Jack had made for me, had a shower and peaked in on them, wondering if we were going to be friends now so we could take our photo.
I found Jack and Lilly tucked up in bed, fast asleep, with all the teddy bears carefully placed in a line along the pillows and the Peppa Pig books discarded at the side.
That was my photo.
I’ve now squeezed in next to them and I am smiling to myself as I write this. I love that my little anniversary tradition has meant that I will capture and remember this moment forever. Not a picture of us done up, out for dinner at a fancy restaurant, but this very ordinary moment of parenting, marriage, friendship and love.
Relationships are not something we talk about often when we talk about the juggle. We talk about kids and school and flexible work and maternity leave. We talk about the need to support women, gender equality and the importance of building our village. We acknowledge that our partners are our rock, that we couldn’t do it without them and how wonderful it is that they share the load (while also hating that they get so much credit for it!). But we don’t talk about the ups and downs and the mundane that is daily life. The silly arguments caused by lack of sleep, the date nights turned slumber party with kids and teddy bears, the household chores and little family traditions.
To me, this anniversary photo is a perfect representation of our lives right now. Our sweet little Lilly, in winter pyjamas and welly boots despite the heat because she is so determined to exercise control in any way she can. All her teddy bears lined up on the bed, as is our nightly tradition. No sheets on the mattress because Lilly’s nappy leaked this morning and I forgot to ask Jack to put the sheets in the dryer. A sleeping husband, exhausted from problems from running his business, trying to get an early night so he can be out the door at 4AM for a 5 hour Ironman training session and back home on time for our Hypnobirth class tomorrow morning. Me squashed in next to them on the side of the bed, 5 months pregnant, our baby kicking around inside me, wearing my Kmart “Mermaid hair, don’t care” pyjamas smiling to myself and feeling so happy with my ordinary life. (As I type this Jack has literally just started snoring and totally ruined the ambience. I elbowed him to make him stop but the moment has gone!)
I think we often get so caught up in the busyness of life that we sometimes forget to stop and appreciate it for what it is. It is the little things that make life what it is – the silly arguments, the bed time routines, the reality that we’d both much prefer an early night in bed than dinner at a fancy restaurant. Maybe not the snoring, but we can’t win them all.
This memory will stay with me far longer than a night out. Don’t get me wrong, they have their time and place (our last one was on this day in 2017!), but just as I want to remember the highlight reels, I also want to remember the “ordinary” and tonight is the perfect example.
Happy anniversary. I think this is one of my favourites yet.