Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Best Part About Marrying Young... that you get to grow up together.

We met when I was barely 20 years old. He was 21, and had been back in America for two weeks after living in the Baltics for the last couple of years. He spoke Russian and sometimes had to search in order to find the correct word in English.

I fell in love with him the night that I was ranting about the injustices in the world and he said, "We always need someone to fight the losing battles." We were married when I was 21 and he was 22. Nine months into our marriage, 9/11 happened. That same day, I had my first cancer scare.

We moved to Seattle, had a baby, and then moved to Finland. We moved back home and found out that our baby had a rare genetic syndrome and might not survive. I was 24. He was 25.

I lost my wedding ring and cried for five years. He never once got angry about it. He was just sad that I was so upset.

He got a very cool, super mysterious job and we moved to Vegas. We had a baby girl. I started getting published. He was promoted. He sings to our kids in Russian, does magical things to make our backyard a children's wonderland, and he's just as sexy in a suit and tie as he is in ripped jeans. And I love the ripped jeans.

For our tenth anniversary, we planned to go cage-diving with great white sharks in Africa. We've been planning it for years. Instead, we drained our savings on medical procedures, ballet, and speech therapies. Our previously nonverbal seven-year old son just said, "I want toast, please." Our daughter danced as Clara in the "Nutcracker" yesterday. My husband took an hour off of work in order to see her. Tonight we're going to stay home and watch a movie instead of going diving with sharks. It's absolutely worth it.

I have a new ring. I finally accepted that I'll never find the old one after moving five times. I love my husband more now than I did when we were first married, and I was pretty head over heels then. We all know the responsibilities of marriage. The hardships. The frustrations and the joint decision making and the bills. Nobody ever mentions that marriage is like a slumber party that continues on forever and ever. There's dancing in the kitchen. Throwing a pillow at somebody and knowing they'll laugh every time. Knowing that when you call him, his cell phone starts playing "Girlfriend in a Coma" and nobody understands why we both think that's so funny.

Today is our ten year anniversary. I've never been so happy! And I still feel like we're children.

*By the way, the picture was taken by our friend Rachel Miller. She's fantastic at everything that she does. Thank you, Rachel!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Nina the Ballerina

I lose a lot of sleep worrying about Nina.  I feel like so much of our life revolves around Niko and his needs.  We don't go to loud places because it disturbs him. We don't go to restaurants because he can't sit still for that long. Twice a week I pack up the kids and we travel for a three hour round trip therapy session.  While Niko is in with his speech therapist, Nina and I talk and sing.  We play games.  We put together puzzles and it's our special time. I was delighted to find out that Nina thinks therapy time is for her. But still, is she being pushed to the sidelines?

We started her in ballet.  She loves it!  If you ask her about ballet, her face lights up.  She tells complete strangers that she spins and then falls down.  She works on technique for the first half of the class, and then they read a story and dress up for the second half.  The best part?  Not even Mommy is allowed inside.  Once they step through the special Fairy Door (a tiny little girl sized door) it's all about them. Parents stay outside and watch through a window until it's time to come in and take pictures.

It's all about Nina.  It's only for her.  I don't think I've ever seen her so happy.