You will have significant experiences.
I hope that you will write them down and keep a record of
them, that you will read them from time to time and refresh
your memory of these meaningful and significant things.
Some may be funny. Some may be significant only to you.
Some of them may be sacred and quietly beautiful. Some
may build upon another until they represent a lifetime of
special experiences.
- Gordon B Hinckley

Thursday, July 14, 2011

This Ones for Mama and Dada...(Everett is 21 Months Old)

Dear Family and Friends,
This Sunday will mark seven years since Zac and I walked down “the aisle” and started our lives as husband and wife.  Many of you were there and are probably shaking your heads in disbelief, thinking “That couldn’t have been SEVEN years ago?!”   But it is true…and to us it still feels like yesterday.  Our wedding was one heck of a party (I’m biased, of course, but I think fun was had by all).  We were married at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, underneath the shade of large sycamore trees in the most beautiful English garden you’ve ever seen.  It was one of the hottest days that summer and in our wedding video, Zac is stealthily wiping his brow while everyone has their heads bowed in prayer :-) The thing I remember most is the overwhelming feeling of happiness…so much so that when Pastor Vince pronounced us as husband and wife, I practically jumped into Zac’s arms.  It truly was the best day!

The thing about weddings is that they are such a hopeful event; hope for the future, hope in the existence of true love, hope in growing old with someone and sharing a lifetime of memories.  That is what I love the most about weddings…I let that emotion wash over me at every wedding I go to, and it never gets old.  But after the wedding comes married life and reality.  Putting those vows into everyday actions…that’s the hard part.  For Zac and I, the past two years have been about making good on the promises we made to each other seven years ago.  And I’d like to take this opportunity to “toot our own horn” about making it through with marriage intact :-)

The statistics for a marriage surviving a high-stress, catastrophic event (such as Everett’s first year of life) is about 25 percent.  I learned that stat in nursing school and it was constantly on my mind especially immediately after Everett was born.  Pastor Vince came to visit us the morning after Everett arrived and I can remember bursting into tears when he walked in, confessing that I was so scared of not only losing my son, but also my husband.   I knew that this could rip our marriage apart.  I knew that this could be an unrecoverable event.  So from the beginning, we took great care to take great care of each other. 

Our very first photo together

High School Graduation
“For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.”  Powerful words.  Big commitment.  Zac and I started dating when we were 15 years old.  Yup, high school sweethearts.  We’ve now been together longer than we’ve been apart.  Being high school sweethearts is more of a rarity these days and people are always asking us how we’ve made it work.  I usually answer that we are a great team, what each of us lacks, the other makes up and we’ve grown in the same direction.  But getting back to those vows…respecting the vows and living up to them…that’s how we’ve really made it work.  Our journey with Everett put each one of those vows to the test and amplified their meaning by a thousand.  We worked really, really, really hard to fulfill each other’s expectations and I think we’d both say that we have succeeded. 

Senior Prom
Magic Mountain
It is easy to let your spouse see you at your best, but I will tell you that having a baby in the hospital for six months will quickly put you at your worst for days and days on end.  For me that came in the form of lots and lots of meltdowns, of crying for hours telling Zac that I just couldn’t do it anymore, that my heart was so tired of hurting.  I could swing from laughter, to tears, to yelling in 45 seconds flat…talk about living with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde!  Through it all, Zac allowed me to cry, he allowed me to fall apart, and never once judged me or called me weak.  In fact, he would always tell me that I was so strong and he never once blamed me (or my body) for what happened.  For Zac, the worst came in the feeling of helpless, of having no control over the situation and being powerless to make a difference.  For a man who fixes problems for a living (Zac’s a mechanic in case you didn’t know), it was hard to accept that Everett’s problems could not be fixed with his hands.  Allowing your spouse to see you at your most vulnerable is a scary thing…especially when you’re not acting always in your “right” mind.  But Zac and I learned that with this type of vulnerability came an increased intimacy…a type of intimacy that we probably wouldn’t have if not for Everett.  We’ve had conversations that most married couples never have.  We’ve faced each other at our worst and said, “I love you anyway.”  Unconditional love…the stuff of fairy tales. 

Wine Tasting in Sonoma
Weddings vows usually cite opposites.  I think this is an allusion to how husbands and wives often work to balance each other and I think that is true of most marriages.  For Zac and I, when I was falling apart, he was strong.  When he was angry, I was calm.  When one of us was the pessimist, the other became the optimist.  It was a balancing act so that neither one of us was out of control at the same time.  We always joked that one of us had to keep a clear head…it just depended on which one of us was on duty for that particular day :-)  

White Water Rafting in Oregon
The financial hardships of having a prolonged hospitalization (or chronic illness for that matter) seem unending.  Insurance does its part and the leftovers are up to you.  Add in co-pays, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums…well, it’s enough to make you scream.  In facing those bills, you begin to realize what is really important.  I will tell you, it isn’t the clothes you wear, the cars you drive, or the house you live in.  What REALLY matters is family, togetherness, and health.  The saying in our house is it isn’t the house that makes the home; it is the people inside when you get there.  Your relationships are the things you can’t put a price on!  And those relationships are worth everything!!!

VEGAS Baby!!!
I don’t mean to sound preachy about marriage or like I’m giving advice on how to make it work, as many of you have been married a lot longer than us.  But I so much want to show the pride that I carry in my heart for the road that Zac and I have traveled together.  Seven years…gone in the blink of an eye…from two kids growing up together, making a life, learning to live…to working professionals, accomplishing our dreams, becoming proud parents, and still as much in love as the day we said “I Do.”  I can’t wait to see what the next seven years hold…whatever it is, as long as our family is together, it’s going to be good   
October 2010

Happy Anniversary to us!

Zac and Sara

P.S.  Everett is doing GREAT!  I took him to the beach last week for the first time since he started walking.  He ran straight into the water, up to chest high, and screamed at me when I plucked him out.  I think we have a swimmer/surfer on our hands.  He is fearless!!!

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