Five years of Josh & Cary
Five years ago, today, I met Josh. I remember sizing him up and deciding he was an amazing catch, but I believed only time would tell what was in store for us.
We hung out about nine days in the first two weeks. We had a blast at dinners and went on hikes. We took the dog to an outdoor park, and felt so comfortable chatting and snuggling with each other—but the park turned out to actually be a preschool—so we were the creepy people hanging out at the preschool without any kids. Oops.
Then a month-or-so later, he made the bold decision to miss the Final Four to be the seventh person in a four-person condo near Mammoth Mountain, with my brother and I and some friends. While there, I woke up and shared with him that I’d had a bad dream. The jist of it was that he was after me and planning to bash my face in. Yuck. It was the kind of vivid dream where I woke up wondering if I should feel differently about him. Well, I somehow managed to tell him about the dream. He gently kissed me and told me for the first time that he loved me, and he’d never hurt me. I knew I loved him and trusted him too.
We had all kinds of fun. We said “I miss you and love you”, so much, it became MULU. He nuzzled me, in front of my friends, family and coworkers, which totally embarrassed me. We danced, played tennis, went to a masquerade party, rode horses, went wine-tasting, and went to about 5 weddings in six months. We had a million of our own characters and inside jokes, ranging from Barthalamule, the giant roach, to Hamlet, the suicidal hamster (no animals were hurt), to movie quotes that never got old.
Three months after starting to date, we were at a good friend’s wedding. After a few glasses of wine, while we were dancing, I wasn’t really thinking and said to him, “You’re the love of my life”. His eyes opened wide and he had a small grin. I immediately wanted to take it back. We’d only been dating for three months, and I thought I was going to scare him away. Ugh, why did I say that?? So, I tried to make it smaller. “You’re the love of right now”, I said. Then, his expression turned sad. Maybe he liked it before? So I tried again, “I didn’t want to scare you”. The next day, I cringed at what an idiot I’d been with the whole exchange, so I decided to try to just get rid of it by saying, “I was really drunk”.
He tells me now that he already knew I was the one, and that he just sat back and watched, and thought the whole thing was so cute.
In September, we went together to Europe, following his friends’ wedding in Spain. Well, I went to Hawaii first for the wedding of a very good friend (thank you frequent flyer miles, friends who let me crash with them, and the random honeymooners from the plane who dropped me off at my hotel). Then, I flew 44 hours to the other side of the world and met Josh, totally jet-lagged in Croatia. We had incredible adventures, getting drenched in a storm while running through a park in Pitvice, Croatia. We had the best goulash (over-and-over) and so much fun at the baths in Budapest. And, we had this incredible hike in Zakopane, Poland, where we were blasted with sleet, until we went in and drank a few snugglers—the Poles didn’t understand what they heck we were doing mixing hot chocolate with our vodka—ha. Then the weather cleared right up and we walked on the mountain ridges together.
Then, our last stop was Czech Republic, where I broke my arm in two places, while we were goofing around running on the cobblestone streets together. Ugh, it was terrible. We took a cab that kept breaking down to an empty soviet-era hospital, where I needed to speak Czech to the doctor once we found one (which I somehow managed??).
But the incredible thing about my broken arm was how Josh stepped up to help me. He tied my hair back into a lopsided pony tail so I could brush my teeth and came with me to my doctor’s appointments. Then he stood by my left side, whenever we were out, to block anyone from bumping into my arm. That was when I knew that even when I was at my worst, he’d be there for me.
That was when I knew, I wanted to spend my life with this man.
He asked my dad for my hand, while we visited my parents in Minnesota. Thankfully, my dad welcomed him to the family. Next, we flew to see his family in New Jersey. My suitcase had broken, it was pouring, Continental had herded us onto the plane for our flight home, and we had kids screaming around us and people kicking our seats. When we landed, I booked it for the baggage claim. Josh stopped me, nonchalantly asking, “Aren’t you forgetting something?” He waited while I checked myself and couldn’t figure out what was missing. I asked what I was forgetting and he laughed. I figured he was holding my wallet or something so checked again, then demanded to know what I was forgetting.
“This,” he said, turning toward me, holding a sparkling ring. “Will you please marry me?”
I attacked him with kisses and somehow remembered to say “yes”. In the background, people were congratulating us as they walked by.
We bought a house and had the best time ever at our wedding and honeymoon. We had six months of what we nicknamed “domestic bliss”, then we got two sweet puppies. We had another really fun year with the pups, then decided to try for a real baby. After a visit to a fertility specialist, an unused prescription and a few months, a baby was on-the-way.
When I was eighteen-weeks pregnant, I ended up in the hospital with a kidney stone and a kidney infection. I was throwing up so hard, I couldn’t finish a sentence. And, I was in so much pain. Josh somehow got the ER to let me back there, even though it was full, so I could at least lie on a gurney in the hall and get some care. That night, he slept on two plastic chairs next to me.
He was still there for me when things got tough.
Between finances getting tough, working all the time, and needing to get everything ready for the new baby, we had some stress through my pregnancy, but we were still great.
Once the baby arrived, things were harder though. Don’t get me wrong—we were totally in love with her and we shared lots of laughs and immediately gave her a dozen goofy nicknames. And he was still by my side the whole way, in the hospital, and on multiple lactation consultant visits.
But it didn’t go over so well, when we got home from having a baby and he said, “It’s been a long day and I have a lot of sports to catch up on”, then he disappeared. Meanwhile, I was paralyzed in one spot, trying to nurse, which was incredibly painful and challenging for me for weeks.
And, it didn’t go over well, when my four-day-old baby pulled off a piece of my nipple and I was crying and bleeding, and he said, “Well, looks like you’ve got it all figured out”, then left me there, again.
He didn’t appreciate me micro-managing how he put a diaper on. And, I didn’t appreciate him snapping at me, every time I tried to say something. Then, I felt like he’d all but said, “Fine then you do everything”, and basically left me totally overwhelmed, sleep-deprived, and responsible for almost all of the baby care.
I’m sad to admit, but I felt like maybe I hated him a little bit, for a little while there.
But, Josh isn’t the type to walk away when things get tough, and neither am I.
We found our stride. And the truth is, I want to be home with the baby, taking care of everything for her. And, he’s working hard to let me do that. He helps with the baby in his own ways, when he can.
We talked through how both of us felt at that time. We started doing date nights, and we binge-watched House of Cards and Walking Dead. We made more goofy code words, like, “Wildebeest”, to mean, “Please don’t swear in front of the baby”. He has a fantastic wildebeest sound effect to go with it. He works really hard to get home for family dinners, and I work really hard to get out to do things he likes, even if it means the baby gets to nap in her carrier.
Our relationship has evolved and it’s so much more meaningful now. Even with having been through some challenges. Maybe even more so, because we went through some challenges. I know I can truly count on him. I know we both will talk it through, even when neither of us wants to, because this is so important to both of us.
Our daughter looks just like him, and loves him so much. She laughs when he nuzzles her and she adores when he puts her on his shoulders. And, he has a gift for putting her to sleep—just last night, she fell asleep next to him on a rug, while I was making dinner.
I love him so much more now, that I ever could have understood. He’s still there for me through the tough times. He’s a terrific father and husband.
I love the family we’ve created together. I love our domestic bliss. I love our baby. I’ve loved our five years together. And, I can’t wait for the next five, and many more after that.
I love you forever, Josh. MULU.
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