Wow. I can’t believe I’m writing this. Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated 20 years together. TWENTY. YEARS. It also marked our 9th wedding anniversary.
I can’t believe it’s been that long. I met my husband when I was in high school – he was not. He’s four years older than me. Seems scandalous but we grew up in Hawaii – it’s a small island so no one really scoffed at a 16 year old dating a 20 year old – especially since I had dated seniors when I was freshman. I went to a small school.
Certainly, we didn’t even think about marriage or the future when we first dated. We both thought the other person was cute/pretty and we both liked to surf and dance at underage nightclubs.
Over the first few years we navigated dating through a host of challenges: long-distance relationship, school, living together, jobs, friends, and loss (my mom died when I was 21 and it took years for me to recover). But by the time I was in my mid-20s we hit our stride. We both had careers and finally some disposable income to enjoy travel and eating out (no more $1 menu at Taco Bell like we did in college).
I honestly wasn’t the type of person who really thought about marriage or even thought I wanted to get married. Then around the age of 26 I felt the urge to do it. And because I’m just THAT kind of person – I proposed to my husband. He thought I was joking since I basically put the proposal in a fortune cookie – note: A cookie fortune that says, “Confucius says you should get married” isn’t really effective, though it is funny. I should have just gone the direct route with, “Will you marry me?”
Well, he said yes, of course, and we were married a year later and pregnant with my oldest son about five months later. We now have three children, ages 7, 5 and almost a year. Our third was a huge surprise and the biggest blessing in terms of us prioritizing our family over career and paychecks.
Then, about a month ago we had a huge bomb dropped on us. My husband needed back surgery. He’s been battling back pain for about 10 years. I remember it started the day he hit 30. Over the years, it’s gotten worse – to the point where he now has arthritis and two herniated discs in his lower back. One of the herniated discs basically fragmented into his spine – causing debilitating pain in his left leg.
So the last month has been a roller coaster. He went into surgery (which made me go a little bonkers – I have a phobia about hospital waiting rooms), recovered well at home, and then we found out from his rheumatologist that, well, he’s got a lot of shit happening. He’s got spondylitis (a genetic disorder that leads to arthritis) and food allergies to soy, eggs, gluten and basically needs to be on no-starch, no-sugar diet (because he’s got candida/yeast in his stomach that inhibits his body to get the nutrients he needs).
Let me just say, that have one food allergy is no easy task to manage but having something as extreme as what my husband has is just crazy. I feel awful for him. He can basically eat nuts, meat, and vegetables. And, it’s no fun being around someone who’s coming off a sugar addiction. I’d say most of us are addicted to sugar – even if we don’t do packaged or artificial foods. Think about fresh fruit, dried fruit, fruit juices, ice cream, coffee – heck, even spaghetti sauce and salad dressings have sugar.
And all this is making me think even more about nutrition, additives, preservatives, and just the crap that’s in our foods. We’ve all been reading labels like a hawk – including my husband, who probably never really paid attention before. I’m even more convinced that food plays a role in our health and either making us sick or better – depending on what we eat.
So we celebrated our anniversary at The Counter – where you can build your own burger with toppings like sun-dried tomatoes, jalapenos, you know, the works. It’s great for my husband because he could choose exactly what he could eat within his new diet and get it gluten-free.
It wasn’t exactly the place we thought we’d end up celebrating 20 years of being together. Last year, we stayed at a hotel in La Jolla. The year before that, we went to a concert and stayed for a whole weekend at a B&B in downtown San Diego. But this year with our little guy being just 11 months and still nursing (not to mention he had a bout of the stomach flu), all we could manage was a couple of hours away at a burger joint and a movie.
And it was perfect. It was just the two of us – 20 years later through marriage, kids, health issues and so much more.
I’d love to hear from you. Tell me your story of meeting your husband or partner and how long you’ve been together.