De-Mystifying this Unicorn Couple

The “Unicorn Couple”: That couple that has it all together and has their happy ending. Nothing gets them down, nothing can tear them apart, their love is boundless and has no end. They shower each other with love and affection at all times, under all circumstances. They never fight, they never fail, they never have hard times or struggles.

I don’t know who they are, but we get mistaken for this couple time and time again. Comments on Facebook say we’re an inspiration. Friends ask how we can still be this in love after “all these years” (its been 7). Still others want to know how they can end up just like us one day. People think that we are this perfect example to look up to, a Unicorn Couple. Really we don’t have it all together either. We may not air our frustrations on Facebook or at family gatherings, but that doesn’t mean that we get it right all the time.

When J and I met, neither of us knew what we were getting into. We worked at the same place (and she worked with my mom in a different department than me) and had seen each other from afar. I was not out yet, she had pictures of Kelly Clarkson all over her desk. I had just turned 21, she was 28. We had mutual friends, but our circles never really intertwined. The first time we hung out together was New Years’ 2008, which was the start of our story. Like all new love, sparks flew, passions were high, and we couldn’t stay away from each other. We fell prey to U-Hauling and moved in together within 6 months of officially becoming a couple. By the time we’d been dating a year, we both knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, but same-sex marriage wasn’t an option in most of the country yet. We planned to elope to Canada to get married, but then we both got laid off and had no money to make that dream a reality.

We’d been together three years when we decided that we would start trying to have a baby, resolving that we’d get married someday. The original plan was that I would be the only one carrying, but J decided she wanted to experience it after all and so she went first since she was older. We tried for about a year before finally moving over to the RE’s office. In April 2012, we were finally able to afford to get married, as we had to fly out of state, pay fees to have the paperwork filed by proxy, etc. We were married in Washington, D.C. on April 27, 2012 in a private ceremony, just the two of us and our officiant. It was not ideal, nor what we’d always dreamed of our wedding being (we wanted the pretty white dresses and the huge reception with our families and friends celebrating with us), but the important thing was that we were legally married and the ceremony we did get to have was beautiful. J got pregnant with Jaxson the following month, and we always say that God was waiting for us to get the order right (love, marriage, baby carriage).

People tell you, and you never really listen, but marriage is tough. Despite being together for four years before tying the knot, things still changed after we became Mrs. and Mrs., especially with having Jaxson right away afterwards. Three years later, I can say we’ve had our ups and downs, we’ve struggled and prospered, and we’ve had times of unhappiness and times filled with absolute joy. We’ve had a baby and bought a house and a new car, and we’ve also gone for weeks without having sex. We deal with my chronic illness which has left my paycheck close to $0 sometimes from missing work, but we’ve also been able to afford to go on family trips. We’ve fought, we’ve cried, we’ve yelled, we’ve slammed doors, but the one thing we’ve never done is stop loving each other.

I can honestly say that I love J with everything I am, under all circumstances. I was raised not to casually date, but to instead date with purpose. When she and I started dating, I could see a future with her. I could see us happily married, with children and the white picket fence in front of our house. She was just trying to have a good time with the cute girl in the next department, but she knew that there was something special about me from the beginning, too. She never thought she’d get married or have kids, but she couldn’t stay away from me, despite trying to talk herself out of pursuing me. Sometimes we have moments when we don’t like each other very much, but we have never ever said or felt that we didn’t love the other.

The other night we were talking about how people ask us: How do we do it? What’s our secret? How do we keep the love alive? The “You’re an inspiration”, “you’re a Unicorn Couple”. Surprise! The love is not the hard part. It’s everything else that life throws at you to test that love, and show how committed you are to your spouse and to solving those problems together. We’ve watched couples young and old around us fall apart. They split up or get divorced, going their separate ways seemingly without a second thought. Sometimes its over irreparably damaging things like cheating or abuse. Other times its over something like one person wanting kids, the other not, which comes as a surprise after the rings are exchanged.

When we got married, we both went into it saying that divorce was not an option. Not “not an option” in that we couldn’t get divorced, but we promised each other that we would literally do every single thing possible to ensure that divorce was not the final answer to any of the inevitable problems we would someday face. We’re not stupid, we’re not naive. We both agreed that we’d always talk about our issues and try to figure them out together. Partners. That’s what we wanted our marriage to be, a partnership, and for that to be true we have to be on the same page.

In our years together before getting married, we talked about everything: having children, where we’d live, what we wanted to do with our lives, where we saw ourselves in 5, 15, 30, 50 years. We knew what we were getting into, we truly knew the person we were marrying, and we talked about the hard subjects ahead of time so we were sure we were on the same page. We got married because we loved each other, yes, but we got married because we knew 100% that the other person was the person that we wanted to build a life with. We started laying the foundation for our life together from day 1 of our relationship, not day 1 of our marriage. There are no unpleasant surprises in our relationship, no “you couldn’t have mentioned that 7 years ago?!” arguments. We do argue and we do fight, but it’s never about something that can’t be fixed with a little work. Like making sure I communicate more often with her about our finances. Or her being mindful of her tone of voice when she’s offering suggestions. Or me making sure the dishes from the dishwasher are clean before putting them away. Or her expressing her feelings better instead of hinting things at me.

Our Facebooks are filled with tons of pictures of Jaxson, of our life, of us. We are still smiling, still enjoying each others’ company, still loving each other. We always say we would have found each other eventually, despite the varying paths our lives could have/should have taken; we truly believe we were meant to be together. I still look at her today and get flutters in my stomach and think to myself just how lucky I am to have found her.

So, what’s the secret? How do we love each other so much after all these years? How can you, too, experience one-of-a-kind Unicorn Love? All that I know is that I love J with all of my heart, and I fight for her and our relationship every single day. Not a day goes by that I take her for granted and I’m thankful every day for the love she’s given me and the life we’ve built together. When we wrote our wedding vows, we wrote words we could live by, and we work every day to keep those vows:

Today I love you completely, as I did yesterday and as I will tomorrow. I will be there for you when you need me most and I will share in your dreams, delight in your joys, and console you in your sorrows. As we travel life’s journey together, I will always try to be understanding and forgiving and sensitive to your needs and feelings. I will be your comfort and support through hardships, and celebrate with you in life’s successes. You are my life; you are my dreams; you are my joy; you are my love; you are my everything. You are my forever.

Loving J is easy. She is my soul-mate and my best friend, the one person I know I’ll always have by my side, forever and ever. She is beautiful and smart and funny and driven. She is the constant in the chaos of life, my life-raft in stormy seas. I trust her implicitly and value her immeasurably. And I know that whatever life throws at us, we can overcome it together.

So when people call us a Unicorn Couple, maybe that’s what makes us so inspiring: We’re just two normal girls 100% committed to each other, and to building a marriage, a life, and a family that can weather any storm. We may not have it all, but we definitely have the love.

Today is our third wedding anniversary. It’s felt like a lifetime already, but I know we are just beginning and there is so much more in store for us. This past year in particular has been really rough on us: We’ve struggled with poor self-esteem and feeling unattractive to each other (and all the issues that go along with that), health issues, balancing work and Jaxson and finding enough time for ourselves at the end of the day, dealing with the struggle of trying to get pregnant (and paying for it), and of course stressing about money (or lack thereof) for all of the crazy expenses that come with owning a house and pets. It’s been a hard year, for sure, but I’m looking forward to next year being much, much better.

Happy Anniversary, my love! Here’s to many more magical years together; I can’t wait to see what comes next, and I’m glad I’ll be seeing it with you. ❤

Our Wedding Day

Four Years Later

Three Years Later

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Party Animal

Jaxson is so good with people. Friends, family, strangers – it doesn’t matter, he loves everyone! He’s never given us an issue going to anyone that’s wanted to hold him (ok, well ONE time but I completely understand why!) and he doesn’t look around fretfully for mommies if someone new is holding him. He’s Mr. Personality with a capital P and I’m so delighted that he isn’t afraid of social situations (unlike me, as I’m super shy and take a looooooong time to warm up to people. But that’s beside the point!)

Jaxson had a GREAT first birthday party (other than sweating to death since it was 80+ degrees in FEBRUARY – Oh, Florida). We held the event at a local park of ours that had a covered outdoor pavilion with picnic tables. It cost a little bit of money to rent it but it was definitely worth it to avoid having to have 40 people at our house, eating no less. (We’re a little clean-freaky so yes, that was a concern.)

We had Jaxson’s actual birthday celebration at home on his birthday itself, January 31. He loved getting to open gifts! And he had some cake too, although he seemed like he wasn’t a huge fan – maybe it was too sweet.

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My best friend from high school came down the night before and she helped us pick up the food the morning of the party and decorate too. She even helped clean up everything afterwards which was such a huge help. You never realize how much there is to do until you’re doing it! After all, one of the moms has to supervise Jaxson while the other actually accomplishes a task – that’s how we roll.

Let me just tell you about the damn birthday cake, while I’m on the subject. First off, we ordered his cake from Super Target because Publix only had a Hawaiian Luau Mickey Mouse themed cake and seeing as he’s a January baby it just didn’t seem right. So Super Target had Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, so we ordered it from them instead to be picked up at 2pm on Friday. I got off early on Friday to go pick up the cake and got there at 1:45 – the cake looked awesome except that….HIS NAME WAS SPELLED WRONG. Ugh, so I ask them to fix it and their version of “fixing it” involved scraping off the misspelled icing and re-writing over it, leaving the white icing showing through what was supposed to be the road. REALLY. Then I go back and ask if they can possibly just take the writing off and re-airbrush the road so that it doesn’t look like total crap. The baker grudgingly agreed then informed me that she had to scrape off the entire top and sides of the cake to RE-DO THE WHOLE THING. Seriously?! By this point, I’d been on the phone with J on and off again, we’re both crying, we’re both angry and frustrated, and gosh darn it we are on a time crunch! So the baker finally finishes the cake and hands it back, so I ask if I could get a discount since she had to re-do the cake twice. She looks at the clock behind her and promptly tells me that its only 8 minutes late because it is currently 2:08 and it was due to be done at 2pm. Angry, I take the cake, checkout, and head home. NOT a happy experience, but the cake ended up looking fine and we had a free $10 Target gift card we got last week buying diapers so we didn’t have to pay full-price at least. Ugh.

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We had subs, popcorn chicken, fruit, potato salad, and all sorts of snacks. We even found some Mickey and Minnie chocolate-covered pretzels at Target. And we made our own favors – Mickey Mouse Oreos! They turned out so good, everyone was really impressed, and they were super yummy too. Jaxson got a “smash cake” free with his birthday cake we ordered, but he really did not like being gross and covered in frosting! Usually you see babies just go for the cake all crazed and insane, but he just daintily kept sticking one finger into it until finally J shoved his whole hand into the middle of it. Still, he wasn’t interested, so his friend Noah came to help him out.

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After the party, those that hadn’t already seen our new house wanted to come over to visit, so we packed up all the gifts in Nana and Papa’s SUV (yes, we really needed an SUV to haul it all!) and we had about 20 people come back to our house for the “after-party”. Jaxson ended up napping through the insanity and we opened his presents while he was still sleeping (trust me, it was better that way!). He got so many wonderful, thoughtful gifts, and Mommies even got some gifts too (ie: diapers and wipes! LOL). And when he woke up he had tons of new toys to play with – SCORE!

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His current favorite, a ride-on Batman toy!

Everyone had a wonderful time at the party and hanging out at our house afterwards, and we got to spend a little extra time with Chelsea, one of J’s cousins (aka my BFF!), after everyone else left. Despite all the stress it took to get the house cleaned to perfection, running around for the party the night before/morning of, and actually having the party, it turned out better than we could have thought AND we had enough food for our big Jewish family (J’s side) – that’s quite a feat! I guess we’re not so bad at this party-planning thing after all!

P.S. On a side-note, it was also the 6th anniversary of getting together on February 1st. There’s absolutely no way I could have ever guessed 6 years ago that I’d be spending our anniversary throwing our one-year-old son a birthday party. Incredible!! 🙂

Three Month Magic

We keep hearing everyone tell us that when babies reach three months, it is like a switch gets flipped. All of a sudden they are magically transformed into a baby that is cute and cuddly and low(er) maintenance, and the woes of the previous three months vanish in the light of their wonderful smiles. I don’t know about all that yet, but I will say that things have markedly improved and we are finally able to step back, relax, and enjoy life with our son!

April has been a busy month for us, and Jaxson is getting so big! We don’t go back to the pediatrician until the beginning of July, but we weighed him on our bathroom scale and he was about 14 pounds already! I have to put a pillow under my arm when I’m holding him to feed him, or else I think my arm would literally fall off. I’m sure you are all anxious to hear what our little man has been up to this month, so without further ado, here’s what’s up in month #3! 🙂

  • Jaxson’s personality is really starting to shine! While he is usually a very serious baby, he doesn’t hesitate to smile and even laugh when he’s up on the changing table. He likes to have playtime up there and he furiously kicks his legs like he’s slamming on the gas pedal of a race car! His favorite word appears to be “fart” as in….”Jaxson, did you fart?” to which he replies with a huge grin, a few coos, and a hearty chuckle. Oh boy…we’re wondering if that will be his first word!
  • He can now hold his head up for a pretty good length of time when you’re holding him, and he will pull himself up to a sitting position if you hold his hands. It is surprising how strong a baby really is! He also likes to sit with you helping him, so I’m sure he’s ready to be able to sit up just as much as we are.
  • He prefers to sleep on his stomach, although he only gets to do so during nap times until he can roll over by himself. He is halfway there, rolling from his back to his side, but not the opposite just yet. He still sleeps in the swing at night to help with his reflux, which has gotten so much better since being on the Alimentum formula, and he’s averaging about 6 hours straight in a night usually. He even slept for 10 hours this past weekend…WOW!
  • Jaxson had his first road trip over to Tampa for his cousin’s third birthday party. It was the first time he’d traveled further than J’s mom’s house (about 45 minutes away from us) and he did great! He got to meet his cousins for the first time and he and Caden (who is about six months older than Jax) got along really well. They are both such sweet babies and I think they will grow up to be BFFs!
  • Bathtime remains a favorite activity and he loves to splash in the water and kick his legs. J usually gives the baths and they have a grand old time! I can’t wait until the pool at my mom’s house warms up enough so we can all go in together! I think he is going to be a water baby for sure, and my mom got him a baby floaty so he is safe in the pool when the time comes.
  • His eyes are still this crazy blue color and we are starting to think they may end up staying that way. We definitely think they won’t be brown, and since all of the other TODDlings we have encountered have blue eyes too, the odds are in our favor that his will be staying the same, or at least staying lighter in color. Between that and the dimples, we’ll be fighting the girls off with a stick when he gets older!
  • And the much-anticipated three month picture is below! 🙂

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And here are some others, too:image

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This month also holds a special day for J and I – April 27th was our first wedding anniversary. Now that Jaxson’s issues have started sorting themselves out and we now have a normal baby (as normal as babies can get at least!), we’ve finally started finding our way back to ourselves and each other again. We’ve started back to eating healthy and working on losing the baby weight (yes, both of us have baby weight to lose!) and are organizing our finances so we can hopefully buy a house by the end of the year. We’ve been getting Jax into a bedtime routine so that J and I have at least an hour each night to just be together and focus on our relationship. It has been a lot calmer around our house, which is not to say there haven’t been bad days or issues we’ve been working through, but its getting easier instead of harder and the number of problems and bad days are lessening instead of increasing. That’s all we have been asking for since day one, so it looks like three months is going to hold some magic for us after all. 🙂