Year Three

Friday, June 14, 2019

Three years.

I loved this day three years ago. I loved every single person in the room, I loved what it all stood for, I loved the man I was marrying more than I thought I ever would another person. But one thing Brian and I often disagree on is whether it was the best day of our lives. More and more, I love the in-between moments, and the rush of emotions I get witnessing them make my heart soar.

Late nights when Brian sings Moon River into my stomach, to our babe. Breezy spring bike rides where he doesn’t think I realize he rides 90% of the ride with his head turned back towards me making sure I’m OK. When, at our first ultrasound appointment, Brian was overcome with emotion and asked the doctor to affirm that what he was seeing was so cute (and, when, as I laid on the cold table, terrified of the future, he kept the conversation going with the doctor to keep me distracted and calm). Chopping up vegetables for dinner as fast as we can while arguing about how great of a band Cake is because we’re starving, tired and a little bit cranky. Finding the best mussels on vacation and swearing nothing has ever tasted that good. How hard we laugh chatting in bed. The coffee B makes on Saturday mornings. The spreadsheets he makes that make our life so much easier. His hand on my back. Evenings and slow Sundays where we’re both quietly chipping away at chores, when I stop and realize this all works so well.

Maybe this is just what marriage is, and I’m just still surprised, but this life with Brian is such a good one, and I am reminded of that every single day.

To celebrate our anniversary, just like last year and the year before, we each answered some questions separately and then shared them with each other <3

1. What's the other's greatest weakness and greatest strength?

L: His greatest weakness to me is something I struggle with a lot myself. It often feels like he says yes to everything personally and professionally (because he wants to and always wants to give everyone and everything 110%, but I’m worried he’s burning himself out). It leads to a typical 12 hours for him being a “quick drink” with friends after work, building a crib with me late in the evening because he had promised to and feels he must stick to his commitments, only to wake up with the sun the next morning to run a race with his mom in the suburbs — all after a 13-hour work day. It's hard to narrow down his greatest strength, but if I were to choose, it would be the kind of husband he is to me and the kind of father I already know he will be to our child.

B: This is probably a repeat of something I've answered before, but her commitment and passion are unbelievable. If something needs to be done, I don’t think I could come up with a person I'd trust more to make it happen than Ladan. No matter how hard or unlikely, or how many people she needs to ask for help to achieve it, it feels like she can really make anything happen. If she can't do it, she'll definitely round up someone who can. She's got hustle.

One thing I chide her for occasionally is downplaying how hard she works. I think she used to give people the impression that she was sitting at her desk watching Bravo for 20 hours a week, and then sleeping the rest of the week. In reality, she has been consistently recognized with internal and external awards or accolades at every job she has held, on top of being an ace freelancer in her "spare" time. I never hear her telling stories of the nights and weekends spent working or freelancing. In a world of frequent self-promotion I truly don't mind her sense of modesty, but I will get on her case when she acts like she doesn't work her butt off at work as much as she does.

2. What do you hope to accomplish together in the coming year?

L: We keep joking that our motto for this year is to just survive, we don’t have to thrive. With all the big, new, unknown changes that are to come with a baby in the mix, it’s comforting to just focus on getting through it. We’ve been sitting on a gifted bottle of Dom Pérignon for a few years, unsure of what warrants it being popped open. We’ve decided the baby’s first birthday is exactly what we’ve been waiting for :)

B: This one is easy: survive. I think we will naturally be learning a lot in the coming year about how to (and how not to) parent. I'm imagining the year will be full of emotion beyond what we've experienced before, both good and bad. So, my hope is that we are able to continue to enjoy all the ups, work through the downs, and come out the other side still standing. I expect year four of marriage to be the wildest one yet. I'm all for setting the bar low this year.

3. What was your first impression of the other’s personality and is it true today?

L: That B was funny, kind and sharp. And yes, more so than ever.

B: Beautiful! Oh wait, personality... I remember thinking of her as funny and self-assured, which I think are both still accurate. Also as a bit of an exaggerator, which, ya know...

4. What is the other most passionate about?

L: Our family.

B: Making the most ;) She has many things she is passionate about (traveling, family, friends, the best foods, quizzing me in Farsi) — but in a broader sense she has passion for getting the most out of our time and our experiences. She isn't afraid to dream big, and she is always down for squeezing in a fun trip or activity even if we are tight on time.

5. Are there any things you don't see eye to eye on (big or small)?

L: Many, but given recent travel, this one stands out: how and when we pack luggage. B practically color-coordinates his suitcase the night before, rolling up each piece perfectly, whereas I prefer to haphazardly toss all of my belongings into one messy heap hours before the flight.

B: Of course! Rarely a month goes by where we don't end up having a drawn out debate over multiple days. The topics tend to vary in severity. One month it might be what is an acceptable flavor of candy and the next it might the reason for some geopolitical crisis. We certainly don't see eye to eye on everything. However, the things that personally impact our day to day lives usually don't require much debate and rarely result in conflict. Which is good because it leaves more time to explain why cherry Starbursts will save the world.

6. You’ve been together for nearly nine years. What still manages to surprise you?

L: How good he is at most everything. Any hobby Brian picks up, he seems to master with ease. He’s also one of those people who knows the answer, no matter the topic (be it ‘80s trivia or directions to a place we went once, years ago).

B: Hmm. There are loads of things that surprise me in a "I can't believe I'm so lucky" sort of way, but less in the "I did not expect this" sort of way.

I think the initial stages of this pregnancy experience surprised both of us, in that initially she was calmer than expected and it threw me for more of a loop than I think either of us expected. We're both pretty used to each other's roles in certain situations, but when we have instances that one of us is playing a different role than usual it catches me off guard still.

7. Is this what you expected marriage to be like? What surprises you the most?

L: For someone who sweats all the small stuff, it’s wild to me that I didn’t think much about marriage before doing it. When it came to getting engaged to B, it was all so fluid, it didn’t feel like something to dwell on (and, yet, whether or not I’m going to get attacked in our shower by a stranger every time I step in is something that crosses my mind…). We didn’t talk much about getting engaged, never discussed or shopped for rings or talked wedding planning before we had to. It just felt right and happened naturally — and nothing in my life has ever worked that way (except other major life decisions with B, like deciding to buy an apartment and that we're ready to grow our family…).

Since getting married, it has been so much more than what I expected. I often tell B I wish we had done this sooner, I want more years. I have two wonderful role models in my parents who are still very much in love after 30+ years. And our relationship mirrors theirs in many ways, from how we entertain to the way we prioritize each other. What truly surprises me is that we're able to spend so much time together and not kill each other. I think we're remarkably compatible.

B: I'm not really sure what I expected marriage to be. I guess the natural feeling it has surprises me. Sometimes it really feels like we've been part of each other's lives forever. I don't think I expected or understood that you could meet someone and they could eventually feel like they are a part of yourself. The depth with which I can personally feel happiness or distress because of something that is happening to her, that may have nothing at all to do with me, surprises me about our relationship (married or otherwise).

Then again, there are other times when she doesn't know about some random pop culture thing from my childhood. Then she feels like a perfect stranger.

8. Any memories stick out from any previous years that you remember thinking, “I love this person”?

L: There’s a memory so vivid in my mind, I don’t think I’ll ever not remember it perfectly. Brian was driving to his apartment from work (he worked in the suburbs at the time), and he was on Lakeshore Drive. I was at my apartment, chatting with him on the phone about my day from my bed. Suddenly, I didn’t feel well, and in a matter of seconds, I was terribly dizzy. My roommate was home, but I was unsure of what was going on and embarrassed to tell her (I was also scared to get up). Brian heard the shakiness in my voice and asked what was wrong, I told him I wasn’t feeling well and getting nervous about it, and he said to hang tight, that he was parking by his apartment and he’d be over before I knew it. About five minutes later, he was inside my apartment, a mile away from his, truly like a knight in shining armor. I didn’t know he could run that fast or that I could be cared for so deeply. He walked in, so sweaty but so casually, and reassured me I was fine, and I remember bursting into tears, from love and gratitude.

B: Many. A lot of times related to when I needed to be picked up when in a vulnerable moment. When she has been there for me in a moment of need, those are times that I remember feeling true gratitude for her and her love for me.

But, more fun memories too. Walking around on a hike in Antibes on our honeymoon. The day she came back from running 10 miles for the first time. The many times one of us is laughing too hard to talk. Biking in Wisconsin. Many, many memories.   

9. What has three years of marriage taught you?

L: The importance of always supporting each other. During my pregnancy, Brian has gone out of his way to ensure that I feel as good as possible. He tells me how pretty I am (even though I don’t believe him most of the time), is constantly offering massages and patiently listens while I tell him all of the things I am most nervous about. It has made me realize that as strong as I am on my own, I'm the best version of myself when I have his support.

B: How good the decision we made to get married has been for me. My end of the deal landed me a stunning, sharp, hardworking and endlessly loving partner, who knows she makes me laugh every day even though I'd never admit it. I couldn't be more blessed to have her as a wife. She keeps me sane, makes me better, and gives me so much love and happiness. So — the main lesson I'm taking is to be thankful for all of that.

10. What’s something you’ve learned about yourself?

L: Over the years, there have been many things I’ve sworn I’d never do, or say, or be. And then, at some point in the future, I’ve done or said or been them. There were many well-laid plans that have, for one reason or another, gone in an entirely different direction. Everywhere I look, there is evidence of unexpected turns — career changes, random opportunities, chance meetings. This is all likely obvious to you, but it has come to me slowly. It turns out no one is immune to that crazy thing called life. No amount of planning can protect you. It’s terrifying in a lot of ways, but I am making myself more open to it. All of it.

B: Of all the questions, this is the hardest one for me to come up with an answer for. I've got no idea what I've learned about myself. Over the years I've certainly changed in some ways, but I don't feel all that different. I probably give my opinions a little more freely, ask for or do what I want a little more often. I've become more willing to take things on myself or try to lead a little bit more. Age, experience, and having someone backing always backing me up all contribute to that. But still have much to learn and many ways to grow. 

11. Closing thoughts — what’s something you want to tell the other person?

L: I see you, I accept you, and I will do whatever I can to make your life better, because I so, so value your presence in mine.

(Also, I think you’re really cute :)

B: You are going to be the best mother. You've handled the ups, downs and uncertainties of pregnancy with a general calmness I don’t think either of us expected, and you've already shown so much love for our future moosh. I couldn't be prouder of you or more excited for all that's coming soon. Thanks for everything you do — you truly are the best and I love you so much!  


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