365 to Sunshine

Holy crap that was fast.

I’ve been trying to write this post for about the last month or so and kept coming up with nothing. The best way for me to fix that is to just start typing. That’s probably why my first two words were holy and crap. But yeah, holy crap.

My little girl is a year old.

Take me back 365 days and I promise you I would not have been able to see this day in front of me. 365 days ago, we were just concentrating on making it to day 2. Then 3. Simply trying to snowball it up. But I don’t want this post to be about the events that occurred 365 days ago. That’s been documented here. Just scroll down a few posts if you haven’t read the moments of a year ago. This particular post needs to be about everything that has brought us to where we are today. A little baby and her determination to grow up and for all to take notice at just how awesome life can be. Today we are celebrating our little daughters first birthday. A sunshine party.

It’s amazing what you learn in that first year as parents. You are automatically tuned into everything around your kid. The same dogs that you loved unconditionally before your kid shows up you now kick in the stomach when they go in for a face licking feast on your kid. (no we don’t “kick” our dogs).

You absolutely die inside when they get sick.

You can be having the absolute worst day, and still melt when you watch her reach for you.

It’s amazing how happy the can genuinely be, with that much poop in their diaper.

You want everything to start right now. The crawling, walking and talking. But you get sad when they rip the bottle from your hand to do it themselves.

You need a break, some parent time, but instantly miss her the second you drive away.

You are terrified to drive on a 15 hour trip with your 10 month old and marvel at the fact that she handled the journey better than her parents did.

The first time you take her out to eat to a restaurant, and a stranger stops to let you know just how well behaved your daughter is, mentioning that she would know because she’s a grandmother.

This list could get freakishly long and I’m a believer that blog posts are usually better short, what with the attention spans of this generation and what not. So let me end with one more. And it will stay with me forever.

I’ll never in my mind have enough days with her.

It’s pretty much the most sombering thought possible. To love someone so much and know you will leave them at some point against your will. And the lesson there I suppose is to make every day count. I’m just really sad about that next day.

Again, I still can’t believe 365 days have come and gone so slow at times and like lightening at times. To say I would have wanted this year any different is a tricky thing. Of course, any NICU parent would not want the issues that struggle can bring. And your heart truly breaks for those struggling parents and babies. I can’t put enough emphasis on that. Genuine heartbreak. But for the truly lucky, it’s amazing what some of us get to have on the other side of the isolette. A healthy, smiling, happy baby who now is just dying to tell us all about it at any moment.

Happy very first birthday my little love.

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Future

Part Two. And I can’t believe how short this one ended up being.

The obvious answer for this part would be the upcoming marriage. I’m going to choose the obvious answer for two reasons. 1. Well, it’s obvious and self-explanatory. 2. I’m in love with this obvious answer.

The future in the general sense holds everything you want for yourself. The future in a getting married sense seems to hold a bit more weight: It’s everything you want for the both of you. You sort of have to relinquish some of what you want to get what you both want. And I’m totally excited about that.

My future has changed into the talk of babies, houses and the need of emergency funds. I’m now in the emergency fund category. A few years ago my life did not require emergency funds.

The future is ever-changing. It evolves based a lot on your present and how you deal with things. The future is scary. And exciting. It holds the unknown and it holds the promise of life. No one knows how much of their future will turn into their present and eventually their past. I’m just hoping that I’m lucky enough to get that chance.

It’s kinda important to me.

 

The Proposal

I wasn’t nervous until about 4 hours prior.  Even when you know the answer, you really don’t know.

Having known for myself since December, the past few months have given me the ability to think it through with how I wanted things to go down.  I knew I had friends to involve and family to consider.  All of that is important to her so I started early to make sure all bases were covered. 

It first started out that I wanted to create a website with only one post.   One post that would encapsulate all that I was thinking and all that I wanted to say before I actually asked her the question.  Then we would have the site to look at and she could send her friends the link to the site and I can always be known as the greatest, most thoughtful person on the planet.  That’s right and one that would never have to clean a dish or a diaper from that moment on. Ahem.  Then I thought it really wasn’t personal enough.  Sure, being somewhat of a blogger, announcing it online and dedicating one tiny corner of the internet to the proposal is pretty cool but it just wasn’t us.  She needed something tangible.

I decided on a book.

The idea of writing a story on a web post changed to writing a story in a book.  Something she can hold and turn pages with anticipation.  Soon after trying to construct a story, I realized that it might not be the best way to go about it.  I started writing down all the things that I love about her.  Random thoughts that made me smile and made us completely us. 

I also wanted to make it visual.  I wanted to share pictures that mean the most to her. Pictures of us, family, friends and things.  Throw all that together and you get this:

My nose is not THAT big. It's the camera angle...shut up, I bet your nose is huge.

As you know, we had scheduled a date night and before we left her house I told her that I had a date night present for her.  I wrapped the book up and had her sit on the couch. I think just the idea of the book was enough for her to display her big smile that I love, but she was soon to find out that it was just a bit more than just a book.

This book is filled with pages of what I love about her and visual proof of some of those things.  Pictures of her family and friends.  The pups.  Her favorite picture of me as a kid.  Funny stuff.  Meaningful stuff.  The book ended with stating that it wasn’t finished yet.  It read that it still needed three more words.  Courtney struggled with what those three words could have been.  Why?  Because of course when you think of three words, it’s always “I love you” and we have said those words many times. 

When I saw that she had read it and was mildly confused, I started sharing what the book means to me and some other stuff that I don’t really remember.  I’ve heard that what you say can sometimes be remembered as a blur.  It was definitely a blur because all I could think about was what I needed to say next. 

And with one deep breath, I simply stated that “I’m going to get down on one knee now.”

I shared with her why I picked her couch as the place, that it was where we had a lot of our first date watching Flight of the Navigator after the State Fair.  It was where we first kissed.  It was where I first told her that I loved her. It was the perfect spot for us and with her chocolate lab laying on the ground not giving a care in the world and my chocolate lab literally going insane as I’m on my knee.  I also share some things that aren’t going in this post.  By this time, she had gotten down on the ground with me.  

Here it goes…

“I was wondering if you would be my wife?” and opened the box. 

She wouldn’t even look at the ring and said yes a couple of times and kissed me.

“You haven’t even looked at the ring yet?”

“I don’t need to…”

Perfect.

Well she did in fact finally look at it and I could tell I got it right.  Mark that fear off my “things I never want to experience bucket list”.

Oh yeah,  the three words I needed to write in the book to finish it?

She said yes.

The First Time With The Three Words

So long story short, I knew this was it.

I knew that I had found her.  The exact moment that I knew was the first time I said that I loved her.  I am not one to use those three words carelessly.  Main reason being that if you don’t really mean them, you can’t get them back.  They are out there, floating and causing pain and confusion.  No thank you.  Any time I have used them in the past, I meant them.  This time it was different.  This time, I knew those three words finally would last a lifetime.

It was Christmas time and we had both decided that we would only spend 20 bucks on each other.  A couple of reasons why:  We wanted to save money for other stuff to do together.  We thought it would be fun to see what we can come up with for just 20 bucks.  You can’t really buy anything special for 20 bucks that isn’t a gag gift or completely lame.  Which in hindsight would have gone over with flying colors.  I however had a different idea.

Cue the shmoozy move.

I decide to paint her something.

Remember the first date story?  A night filled with fatty foods and the smell of manure?  I noticed one of the things that she really liked and thought was cute were the mini pig races.  Those pot-bellied pigs stole the night.  She wanted one.  Like right then.   She had to wait a couple of months but on Christmas day, she got her pig.  Kind of.

 

 

This went over quite well.  Something about the thought and the remembering and shmoozy shmoozy rainbow sprinkles.  I’m not good at all this part.  She liked it okay?  A lot.

It was now my turn to see what she did with 20 bucks for me.  When I saw the size of the present, I knew what it was.  I also knew it wasn’t under 20 bucks.  She assured me that it wasn’t as much as it seemed so I just took her word for it and started taking off the paper.

 

 

I’m not sure why because in all actuality, I had only had Lyla for just over 4 months…but this was emotional for me.  When I saw it, it made me realize just how much I loved that dog and floored me that she knew it.  I was really amazed at how she got Lyla to stop licking and pose like that.

And in that moment, with our pig and pup, I knew I loved her.  And I told her with all the honesty I had in my heart because I knew this was the last time to tell a girl that I loved her like that. 

I’ll never forget it.