Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One Year Later: Waiting for a baby in Cleveland

I have two completely conflicting thoughts when I think about our first year of marriage. First, it has already been a year? It feels like just a few months ago we were getting engaged and planning the wedding. Second, it has only been a year?!? Every aspect of our lives has been completely turned upside down in this past year and I can’t believe we will have another year quite as dramatic as this one. Each week is a new “normal” with unique benefits and challenges. An amazing, fun year it has been though and I find myself regularly thinking I hope the old adage that the first year is the hardest turns out to be true for us. Every marriage has difficulties and adjustments along the way. I would be somewhat of a hypocrite to be Pollyana-ish about every aspect of this past year but I honestly feel there is no better person for me to be walking through life with. Even though in the past year I have become all too familiar with his sock wearing and discarding habits, his leaving the cereal bowl on the counter instead of putting it in the dishwasher pattern, and that he is quite possibly the messiest cook I’ve ever met (but I have to say a really talented one!) I am thankful each day for the husband I married one year ago.  

Summary of this past year: October – wedding and honeymoon; September – Rob auditioning in St. Joseph, MI; November – Rob auditioning in Westlake, OH and our first Thanksgiving; December – holidays in Nashville, TN and Orland Park, OH; January – our first New Year’s Eve and Rob was finally back in Des Moines; February – (11) found out we were pregnant, (14) found out we were moving to Cleveland; March – Jill job interviewing in Cleveland; April – Rob and Jill house hunting in Cleveland; May – Rob’s medical school graduation, Rob moves our stuff to Cleveland and heads to Chicago, Jill stays with parents in Iowa to work; June – Jill quits job, staycation in Chicago and (finally) move ourselves to Cleveland; July – Rob starts his new job at St. John’s; August – September – Visitors, visitors, visitors, baby showers in Iowa and Chicago, trip to Niagara Falls, and getting ready for baby!!

Those of you who know Robbie well know that he is in no way sentimental. Reminiscing about our first year of marriage was a very short conversation during a gorgeous fall walk on our anniversary. We did, however, manage to share our favorite parts of this past year. For Robbie it was our 8 day honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta. To me, that week was perfect and I regularly wish I could close my eyes and just be back in that time and place. I, of course, picked about six favorite memories. I just couldn’t help myself! It is amazing to me that the things people cautioned us against or said were a bad idea turned out to be some of my favorite moments. Just goes to show everyone is different and things work out differently than you might think. Some of my most vivid and favorite memories from the first year are visiting Robbie in both St. Joseph, MI and Westlake, OH. I won’t forget the old person’s home he was housed at in St. Joe, sleeping on an air mattress because his room only had a tiny twin bed, taking a freezing cold walk on the pier with sand from the dunes pelting our skin yet deciding this was where we wanted to be. I also will never forget the long, long drive to Cleveland from Des Moines with rain and ice the entire way and a cooler in the backseat packed with everything we would need for our first Thanksgiving dinner. Seriously, I brought turkey, sweet potatoes, cream of mushroom soup, stuffing, cream corn, broccoli salad, dinner rolls, and a homemade pumpkin-pecan pie all for the two of us. After almost 13 hours of driving I have never been happier to arrive at my destination! We played more Monopoly that weekend than I cared for and (confession) watched more Real Housewives episodes than any normal person should. Those marathon showings really get you hooked! I decided on that trip that I hated Ohio and would never move there…famous last words, right?? That weekend, however, was one of the best holidays I have ever had. It seems like those two months apart made the time we got to spend together all that much more memorable even though many people had told us exactly how difficult it would be! Having Robbie at home for New Year’s and celebrating by ourselves was, for some reason, also memorable. We were just enjoying finally being in the same place, home cooking together which is one of our favorite things. We made an amazing curried chicken with mango salad on the side and homemade mojitos. We laughed ourselves silly and didn’t even make it to midnight but it really didn’t matter.

Another of my favorite moments was, of course, finding out and telling Robbie that I was pregnant. Although it was too shocking at the time to be overly-joyous, I look back at that moment and just have to laugh. What a week of surprises that was and it changed the course of our lives forever.

Finally, watching Robbie graduate from medical school after four challenging years was so meaningful. I got to walk with him each step of the way from the MCATs to graduation so I know exactly how hard he has worked and the sacrifices he has made. At the end of medical school I read reviews from his two years of rotating through different hospitals and doctors and the comments from those who worked with him demonstrated exactly how much his patients and peers trust and respect him. I honestly couldn’t be more proud of him. Graduation weekend was a bittersweet farewell to the amazing friends we made throughout medical school and a happy gathering of so many people who have loved and supported Robbie along the way – family and friends. His graduation party back in Chicago was just another extension of the weekend. It was a happy reflection of how far he has come and an enthusiastic send-off to our new life in Cleveland for the next 4 years.

We celebrated our anniversary this past weekend in a low-key way considering I was nearly 39 weeks pregnant. Robbie brought home a gorgeous bouquet of lilies (my favorite!!) and roses. After nearly 6 years together he might not understand my flower obsession but when he does something, he does it right! They are beautiful and the whole house smells like lilies. Sunday evening we went to an upscale Cleveland restaurant called Luxe that turned out to have a cute outdoor patio where we were able to enjoy the gorgeous weather (just like our wedding day weather last year!). We are such foodies that we can think of no other way to celebrate than with really great food! Next we headed to Rocky River park to watch the sunset over the beach – not quite Puerto Vallarta but it was still a great sunset. In reality, I watched the sunset while Rob played with driftwood and dug a hole in the sand “for me”. Nothing has changed in the past year… I love my husband! He may not be sentimental but he will really be a great dad…The evening was finished off with dessert at Mitchell’s ice cream shop.

And with that, the final line of year one was written. It finds us in Cleveland, waiting for a baby girl to arrive.  As I write this, little baby Annabelle’s foot is pushing out against my stomach, trying to find her way out I guess. Year two promises to be no less eventful and I am sure one year from now I will find myself saying, yet again, where exactly did year two go?!? 
1st anniversary
Sunset at Rocky River Park
Sunset at Rocky River Park
Anniversary Flowers
Lilies and Roses
Anniversary Dinner
Dinner at Luxe

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