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Four Years and Counting…

Jai Girard Photography

We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs over the last four years. As every marriage does, we started out on a high note—and at warp speed. We were on fast forward from the minute we met (or re-met) that fateful summer night in 2007—dated for eight months, were engaged for six months, then three months after our wedding I got pregnant with Preston. My husband opened a restaurant the same month (same week!) we conceived Preston (TMI?), coincidentally also the same night we moved into our condo and first home together.

My pregnancy was easy and wonderful, other than the fact that Jay was always at the restaurant and I was working my ever-expanding butt off. A couple months later we got our dog Barkley. Everyone told us not to do it while I was pregnant, but we knew we wanted a dog, and we knew if we didn’t do it before the baby, it’d be years before we’d do it after. Since Jay was at the restaurant a lot, I was the custodial dog parent those first 6-7 months—getting bigger and more tired by the week. As hard as it was, I wouldn’t have done it any other way—it was great training for us becoming real parents. And we have the world’s greatest dog (“That’s Barkley, my brother,” Preston tells people.)

During that time I also got a big promotion at work—something I’d been working toward for years—which added a little extra pressure during an already stressful (but awesome) time in our lives. Jay and I quickly realized we both thrived well under pressure. We navigate stressful situations pretty damn well together—sometimes it’s how you handle the tough times that’s the real testament to a marriage. And oh, how we’ve been tested.

Then the baby came in August of ’09, a little less than a year after we were married, and everything stopped. Life stood still around us while we focused all of our time and attention on the most precious little baby. Our lives did a complete 180—well mine did anyway, considering I was a former nightlife and dating columnist and worked for Playboy for nearly a decade! I kissed my old life goodbye the minute I became engaged, and have never looked back.

Jay was able to be home with me throughout my entire maternity leave—we enjoyed every minute of Preston’s first three months together, as a new family. The beautiful times far outweighed the difficult times with a newborn baby. We split the responsibilities; we did everything together. 

That new-marriage high didn’t last that long for us, since we jammed a lot into that first year of marriage. We went from newlyweds to expectant parents in three months flat. It’s a different kind of high. And once you become new parents, well, you know what happens—everything changes. We relished all of it—the late-night feedings; the late-night projectile vomiting; the sleep-deprivation; the poopy diapers—but it was easy to forget we were in fact still newlyweds. 

Around the time Preston turned one we started talking about having another baby. I had a nagging feeling it might not be as easy for us to get pregnant the second time—I was 34 when we conceived Preston; 35 by the time we had him. I'd seen friends go through infertility. We tried naturally for 7-8 months before I had my first appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist. And the rest has been a bumpy ride to say the least, which is where we are today… Infertility often feels like it’s taken over our lives and marriage, but I can’t imagine going through any of this without my husband by my side.

My point is, marriage hasn’t always been easy for us. I had a very big, fun, fulfilling life before I met my husband—but nothing compared to what I have now. No matter how hard things have been the last year or so, if there is one thing I’ve learned it’s that family is the number one most important thing in life. No, marriage hasn’t always been easy for us—far from it sometimes—but it’s always been worth it.

We joke that four years has felt more like 20 with everything we’ve been through. I wonder what 20 will feel like…

We were married four years ago today at the beautiful Drake Hotel in Chicago, when we were a little younger and lot more naive about life. Happy 4th anniversary to my husband, partner, and best buddy. I love you.

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