Monday, June 12, 2017

Another year later and a year's worth of lessons

When our first anniversary rolled around, we had a 7-week old baby. That morning, the bakery that made our wedding cake delivered a top tier to our house and we enjoyed as much of it as we could in one sitting. Almost begrudgingly, we left that little one with my parents to go out to dinner. We were exhausted and talked about the baby the entire time. We celebrated it because it was our first. But our heads weren’t in it. Everything was still upside down in our lives.

And that was it. We passed our first milestone. Although between the day we got married - June 12, 2015 - and our anniversary we had hit so many other milestones.
  • August - we found out Linda was pregnant
  • October - she started a new job
  • November - we bought our first home
  • April - Nicky arrived
Of course, we had all the other stuff that happens along the way, like unpacking boxes, decorating, buying furniture, prepping for the baby’s arrival, and we managed to see Billy Joel in concert and take a Caribbean babymoon in between. When the 1 year hit, it felt like 10. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, but how could we possibly have done all that in just 1 year?

When we dropped him off at my parents’ house, we briefly contemplated going back to the couch and cake and enjoying a few hours of “us” time again. But we soldiered on to Chart House in NJ on the Hudson River that overlooked New York City. We had drinks and dined and watched a couple get married right in front of us. And for a few minutes, we remembered how we got to where we are. We felt like a couple again.

Year 1 ended and year 2 began. I got deeper into my job and she returned to hers, post-maternity. The baby began to do more than just sit there and stare at us blankly. Time started to be our most precious commodity. And that’s when it all started to happen. We became parents. Sure, we actually became parents the day Nicky was born (arguably before that even). But somewhere into year 2, we became more parents than we were husband and wife. We commuted and worked and commuted again. We raced to wash bottles and clothes and a tiny baby tushy. We fell asleep watching TV.

In January of 2017, we were nearly at the 1 and a half year mark and we knew something had to give. Linda left her job of 15 months to just be Nicky’s mom for a while. One piece of the sanity jigsaw puzzle got put back into place. Maybe 2 if you consider the 3 hours of commute and 9 hours of working she got back. But we were down to a single salary.

And this is when we learned that life - adult life, married life, parent life - is a zero sum game. You get and give and end up no further. It’s an even swap. Or is it? We sure thought so. We weren’t unhappy. We were just too busy to be actively happy if that makes any sense. We enjoyed each other. We still did things. We saw friends. We hung out. But it felt a lot like the hamster wheel.

At the end of April, Linda went back to work. She feels good being able to leave the house and function as a professional - something always important to her. Our income grew again. Nicky became a toddler. And the upswing began.

This was another inflection point. We realized something. We had to be us again. Jason and Linda. JayLynn needed to be more than a clever blog title or wedding hashtag. But how would we find the time to work on that? Here’s the secret. Some things in life are not zero sum. The energy you expend on your loved one pays you back many orders of magnitude. You get more than you spend.

And now we’re at the end of year 2. This time we dropped NickyT off at my parents again and took off for Atlantic City. We had drinks by the pool, we gambled, we ate (at a different Chart House this time), we gambled some more and we had a fun, mini, road trip both ways. We didn’t go out because the calendar said it was time to go. We didn’t celebrate the arbitrary trip around the sun. We celebrated our love. We celebrated each other. We celebrated our family. And we had fun.

Tomorrow year 3 begins. Who knows what it will bring? Some of the next 50 or so years will be up, some will be down, some will be in the middle. But we know how to approach it. We know where to focus. We know that we’ll always come out the other side - together. Maybe this blog shouldn’t be titled “The Adventures of Jason and Linda.” Maybe it should be called “The Adventure of Jason and Linda” because that’s what it is - one long adventure. One long life together. Each event matters less than the whole journey. It’s a hard journey, but it’s our journey and it’s worth it.

There’s nobody I’d rather eat/fall asleep on the couch/travel/cook/fight/raise a family/play/laugh/BE with - my best friend.

P.S. - Nicky can come too!