Women I Admire Day 1: My Wife #WomensHistoryMonth

My wife is the most amazing person I’ve ever met. I’m sure it’s no surprise I started with her on this monthly project I decided to do at the last minute. Of course, she’s the logical choice for my top spot.
Not just because she’s my wife, and because I love her, or because she’s the most amazing mom I’ve ever seen, but because she’d probably be the first person to laugh at me when I announced this project. Why? Well because it’s just like me to get a wild hair up my ass at the last second and jump head first into something I haven’t spent even one moment thinking about, or planning out. And she has to live with that every day; and somehow she still loves me.
It’s not just how my wife loves me that makes me admire her, it’s how she loves everyone else.
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Everything I Never Wanted to Know About Vaginas

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I’m just going to come out and say it; I’m glad I’m not a woman. From what I see, being a woman kind of sucks.
Now hold on. Before you start flinging flaming bras at me, and getting all Gloria Steinem on the horn, hear me out.
I love women. Wait, let me rephrase that, I love A woman – my wife. But I think the rest of you ladies are pretty cool too. I just would never want to BE a woman. You ladies have it rough. If it’s not the constant misogyny still rampant in society, or getting paid 25% less than men for the same work, then it’s the bullshit beauty standards placed on you by magazines, advertisers and the fashion industry.
So now that I’ve got you back on my side, torches extinguished and calls to Gloria disconnected, let me tell you the main reason why I’m glad I’m not a woman…the vagina.
That’s right, the lady garden. The area 8 inches below your belly button (give or take, I’m horrible at math). The place we all spend 9 months trying to get out of, and for a lot men, the rest of our lives trying to get back in.
Look, vaginas are a thing of beauty, they really are. I mean, just think about it, a woman takes her pants off and it’s like the gates to some mystical landscape are opening. You half expect a harp to be playing and two of those creepy baby angels to come flying out welcoming you to the land of enchantment. The same can’t be said for the penis. That zipper comes down and it looks closer to a drunk frat boy and his two friends stumbling out of of a taxi at the end of a long night partying, flopping face first on the pavement.
But you know what, with that lack of beauty comes simplicity. That’s right, there is little-to-no penis upkeep needed. However, like any prized garden, the vagina requires a ton of maintenance. So much so, it makes my head spin.
It’s high time my fellow brethren understand, exactly how easy we have it,. Maintaining the tunnel of love is hard work. But most of all, men need to understand the extreme lengths you ladies are willing to go in order to keep your lady-bit resembling a garden, instead of the Everglade swamps.
In order to get an expert opinion to quote for this post I went to the resident expert in the Preach House on all thing vagina; the Wife. Here is how the conversation went.
Me: Hey babe, can I interview you for my blog about vaginas and upkeep?
Wife: Hell no! I have to live that shit. You think I want to talk about it so you can get some yuk-yuks on your blog? You’re on your own. Go Google that shit.
Well, that went well. Seeing that I needed about 1000 more words for this damn post, I set off on my own and did my own research, and let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. I present to you an explanation (of sorts) ofvaginal maintenance and beautification, as translated by a dude.
So, let’s start with the ole #1 on the list of lack of empathy/understanding – monthly menstruation, aka Aunt Flow, Code Red, Flying the Japanese Flag, The Red Roof Inn, Leak Week, or just the plain ole period.
Monthly Period – Ruining punctuation since the beginning of time
Men, we are totally guilty of not being as understanding as we could be for this monthly occurrence. We’ve all done it. Even the most progressive man has, at least once in their life looked at a woman who was angry and thought, “Jeez, must be that time of the month.” Or heard about the pain women go through and simply brushed it off in their mind.
Preparing to receive hate mail from droves of men claiming they are so supportive that they too feel the monthly pain in 3….2….1….let me stop you right there and call BULLSHIT!
Cramps – You can’t walk this shit off dude
Remember when you were a kid and got beaned during a little league game and your coach told you to walk it off and rub dirt on it? Yeah, it’s nothing like that – it’s actually worse. Even in all my unattractiveness, I dated a couple other women pre-Wife, so I’ve seen plenty of women experience cramps for quite some time. And they were always different; no two seemed the same. Kind of like their own red snowflake. They seemed to range from mild irritation to OH MY GOD HIT ME IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD WITH A BASEBALL BAT, and I highly doubt rubbing dirt on the vajay would help this situation either.
Tampons vs. Pads – You stick what, where?!?
There are many options for women to contain their fluid loss, but the most popular options are the tampon or the pad. Put yourself in your lady’s shoes for a second. Just imagine, your only two options for containing a constantly leaking dong is to shove a piece of plastic up your pee-hole only to leave a wad of cotton attached to a string, OR stuffing your drawers with a product that probably feels like having a gym sock folded in half and shoved in your jockeys all day, cradling your coin purse in all that leakage. Plus, because periods can sneak up on ladies like little red ninjas, women have to carry a drugstore amount of these items in their purse just incase shit gets real while out in public. But you know what, as bad as tampons and pads sound, there are options that are way worse.
The Menstrual Cup – It sure ain’t no dixie cup, and it ain’t no water cup neither!
It seems the green initiative has reached vagina status now. The menstrual cup is exactly what is sounds like. It’s a cup, that goes all up in the lady dugout, not to be confused with the male cup that protects the bat and balls from the outside. Another plastic device, that is……(twinge) inserted…..up…in…there, and removed when needed. Kind of gives a whole new meaning to the trem “my cup runneth over.” I threw up in my mouth a little writing that last part.
Douching – Not just the official language of New Jersey
Do I really need to cover this? Don’t we all already KNOW what douching consists of? sigh……alright, fine. Look, from what I’ve been told the vagina, while an awesome place, is a goddamn walking bacteria factory, and sometimes that shit needs a power wash. Ok, there, I said it! However, the one thing I am still confused on is why the scent you ladies are going for is *summer’s eve*. I really think the hygiene industry is missing out on a real opportunity here, why not come out with different *flavors* if you will. Why not bacon? Just imagine how much attention your man would be giving you if your lady bits were sponsored by Oscar Mayer. You think he wants it bad now, just wait.
Vaginal Beautification – Lets spruce the old place up a little
Look ladies, I want to be the first to tell you how much I appreciate the effort you put in to maintain and *upgrading* your sexy spot, but seriously, it’s too much. I know, I know, you might be saying, “I do this for my man. It keeps things fresh in the bedroom.” Listen, I’m going to let you in on a little secret….it doesn’t fucking matter. You offer it, we’re coming for it, no matter what it looks like. I mean, just look at chicks from the 70’s-era adult movies. They looked like they had Buckwheat from the Little Rascals in MMA-style triangle hold, and men were still knocking down the doors to get at it. So waxing and all that other shit, get out of here with that. I’m afraid when myzipper gets too close to my junk, let alone letting someone with hot wax come at me.
And finally…..
Steam Cleaning the Vagina – Easy on the starch there, buddy
Recently the world was graced with advice from faux-British asshole, Gwyneth Paltrow, that ladies should be *steam cleaning* their vaginas.No bullshit. Wow, I don’t even have a vagina and I want you to shut up. Seriously, this is the length some women will go to? What’s next, you gonna figure out a way to iron the ole meat curtains to keep everything clean and crisp? Excuse me if I don’t take someone seriously who A) named their kid after a piece of fruit, and B) named their website GOOP. GOOP?!? Even the name of your site sounds like your vagina is broken and has some major malfunctions. Why not just be real and name it Crotch-Snot.com? At least you’d get a little laugh out of me.
Alright, so here we are at the end of my tirade, and if you have made it this far (may God have mercy on your soul) you might be asking yourself, why the hell is this dude talking about vaginas and vaginal maintenance? Good question, and I wish I had a good answer for you, but I don’t. But what I do have is a piece of advice – don’t ever make a bet on football game (let alone the Super Bowl) with a fellow blogger friend, because they just might get vindictive on your ass and make you write a blog about something you have no desire talking about. Such is the case of my clown-shoe of a friend Ashley from The Malleable Mom. We bet, she won, I lost (FUCK YOU SEAHAWKS), and this was her punishment. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I hated writing it.
Don’t forget to follow along on my daily high jinx on social media. I’m usually on Facebook and Twitter when I should be working
 

Papa Does Preach Year in Review: 2014

2014
We’ve reached the end of another year my friends. It’s said, “Another year older is another year wiser.” Well, I’m not sure I’m any wiser than I was last year, but I definitely feel considerably older; a side effect of having a 35 pound ball of terror that is the Boy.
But, you know, for all the crap I give the Boy about how he’s clearly trying to ruin my life, I have to give him at least a small amount of credit, even if it kills me. Without his daily douche-baggery, there wouldn’t be any of the funniness I bring you on a regular basis. So, thanks….I guess.
I wasn’t planning on doing one of these Year in Review posts, but after talking with fellow writer friend a couple of weeks ago I had a change of heart. We were talking about where we would like to take our writing in 2015 and we could break away from the same ole same ole. I had a rare moment of being in the present and reminded that while we’re looking ahead, we shouldn’t look over or disregard all the awesome stuff that has happened this year, and take a moment to be proud of what we had accomplished in such a short time.
Then we sat there in silence for what felt like eternity because we both felt like we were in bizarro-world after my little nugget of positivity; I felt gross.
So I guess I’m going to get all positive again in this post and talk about my wins in 2014. Sorry, I know I promised you last time I wouldn’t do this again. So here is a list of my top moments (as a writer that is, because clearly my parenting list would consist of “I suck”) of 2014:
Papa Does Preach is born:
After hemming and hawing (or whining if you asked the Wife) about taking my writing more seriously for a while I decided to focus my ramblings on how awesome fatherhood can be. I was so excited to talk about how awesome my son is, and how there is nothing better than being a parent….but then I remembered my son is a toddler, and therefore is more d-bag than awesome, and as far as there being nothing better than being a parent; something about having bamboo shoots stuck under my fingernails comes to mind.  But at least I found the direction I wanted my writing to go, so that’s a win.
The Papa Gets Schooled:
In June I went to my first ever blog conference. It was a conference called BlogU in Baltimore, MD.  Seeing how that was pretty much right in my backyard, I decided that becoming murder victim #4 on The Wire was worth the risk and headed off to Maryland.
I’m really glad I went; If for no other reason I got a weekend away from having a toddler all in my face. The conference was an awesome wealth of information. I met so many talented writers, including some top-level bloggers that I have been reading and following for years. The best part of the conference was that I really was able to come out of my shell and get to know people; it didn’t hurt that I was the only guy among easily 175 women who all wanted to talk to the one dad blogger who came to the conference. My outfit for the conference prom was a hit too.
tux
The Papa Gets Published and Gets Some Air Time:
After the great experience of BlogU I set a goal to get published on the Huffington Post.  Two of the main editors spoke at BlogU and said they were excited to have so many voices in the blogosphere and were looking forward to publishing new writers. I wrote and wrote,but nothing was getting picked up.  I watched as so many of my BlogU friends were getting picked up left and right. I began to get discouraged, but I kept plugging away.  When the Ray Rice domestic abuse incident, and the victim blaming that followed, I wrote a piece confronting this kind of abuse and questioning how blaming the victims will affect our future sons and husbands. That was the piece that finally broke through. I was over the moon excited when I finally got the call that Huffington Post Parents wanted to publish my work.  The Ray Rice piece along with another blog I wrote discussing my views on spanking, also picked up by Huffington Post, led to an invitation to be an on-air guest for HuffPost Live to discuss similar topics.
The Papa Stands Up for Dads and Pisses People Off in the Process:
After being published on the Huffington Post as well as a couple of other minor publications, I started receiving a little bit of attention, and while it felt great to have my writing being read and appreciated, it did nothing to prepare me for what was about to come my way.
In Mid-October I read a blog post on ScaryMommy.com that completely degraded men/dads by portraying them as mindless/useless imbeciles when it came to the labor process of their children.  Of course they tried to hide behind the fake vail of satire.  To say I was offended would be putting it mildly.  I tried to reach out to them (one writer to another) and explain these kind of mean-spirited jokes at the expense of fathers was harmful, but I was rebuffed and pretty much told dads should get over it. So instead of just getting over it I decided the best way answer such an insult would be to write about it and share it with my small, but growing, audience.
The post I wrote answering ScaryMommy’s insults towards dads caught fire like I never expected. I received a ton of feedback on the post, some negative, but the majority of the comments were overwhelmingly positive, and mainly coming from moms saying they were tired of husbands/fathers portrayed in negative ways.  The post was shared by so many other bloggers and received so much attention my blog numbers shot through the roof.  The post continued to thrive throughout the month being republished on many other sites like Huffington Post and BLUNTmoms just to name a few, but when I received word that The Good Men Project wanted run my piece I was truly speechless. Being on The Good Men Project had been a major goal of mine when I started taking my writing more seriously prior to the BlogU conference.  I was also included in an article written by one of the editors sharing positive birth stories from dads.
The Papa Finds A Lot of Love on the Internet:
And lastly, but certainly the most important part of my 2014 is all of you. I started PapaDoesPreach.com, along with the Facebook fan page and Twitter account back in May of 2014 (just 8 short months ago) and they have all steadily grown every month.  In the early months I was so obsessed with numbers and worried constantly about competing with other pages and their number of “likes” and followers, but now I realize having a few very dedicated fans who interact and share my work is way more valuable than having large numbers and little interaction.  That’s not to say I don’t want to grow people, so keep sharing me with your friends!
A Few Quick Shout Outs:
I’ve made some really cool connections over the past few months, and many have turned into real friends.  Friends that understand my humor, my art, my need to express myself, and most of all we all share in the same struggle to get our work seen. Everyone has been super supportive and encouraging, and I suggest you read and follow all the people I’m about to list:
Jessica over at Welcome to the Bundle –  has been a huge supporter of mine from the start. For some odd reason this talented/kick-ass writer enjoys my drivel and continues to sing my praises and share my writings with her audience. And I didn’t even pay her to do it either. Trust me when I tell you, she’s so funny and talented, Tina Fey better watch out.
Ashley from Big Top Family – what’s not to love about Ashley? She’s hilarious, a talented writer, and easily one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  She even invited me to her big 40th birthday bash over back in October. This Dorito loving lady has shared my posts with her audience on multiple occasions and has been a supportive advocate of the last year. I’m so grateful to know her. If I keep working hard maybe one day I can make her list of Blogs the Ringleader Loves (wink wink).
Teri from Snarkfest – Teri is one of the funniest I’ve ever met.  When I tried to sneak into BlogU unnoticed by any of the ladies (because that was totally possible with being the only dude there) Teri spotted me and said out loud, “HEY!!  You’re the dude! You look just like your profile picture.” I owe a good deal of thanks for many of my awesome FB followers to Teri. It seems our sense humors are very compatible. Plus, look at the awesome prom photo we took together at BlogU; how could we not be besties after this?!?
tacky
 
Vicky from The Pursuit of Normal – Vicky (like me) is a native San Diegan. We met with literally only a few minutes left at BlogU. While everyone was nursing different levels of hangovers from the party the night before, and lamenting our rapidly ending kidless statuses, we shared good conversation over coffee. Vicky was the first blogger to share me with her audience and has been a huge supporter of mine.
The Dad from Dad and Buried – last but not least, this guy. Long before I decided to even start talking about my a-hole kid, I found this guy’s blog.  His rants about his son, other parents, and self-deprecating jokes helped me get through the first year with my son, which was super rough (no joke). I’ve gotten to know DaB via back and forth over social media. I’ve reached out to him with questions from time to time, or when looking for advice.  With his knowledge and experience he’s become like the blog version of Mr. Miyagi to my young Daniel, which brings me to two conclusions; #1, I watch way too many movies, and #2, I seriously need to aim higher the next time I go looking for a mentor, lol j/k. But in all seriousness, DaB has been a huge help pointing me in the right direction when navigating the crowded waters of dad blogging.
Well, this certainly turned into a much longer post than I intended. Thank you all for the awesome 2014; I’m super excited for what’s to come in 2015, and beyond.

Dear ScaryMommy, Marginalizing Dads is a Scary Mistake

Since becoming a father, I, like many people, have spoken up about dads playing more of an involved role in the upbringing of their children — as well as how this increased involvement is still not only being downplayed, but even ridiculed by so many. And being the kind of person who loves to whip out my soapbox from time to time, I never have a problem when it comes to defending fellow dads.
This year has been unofficially deemed the year of the dad. We’ve seen some pretty big strides taken to help break down the stereotypes of the idiot dad, but it still feels like we have a long way to go. For every hip and cool commercial, like #HowtoDad from Cheerios and the call to celebrate dads with Real Dad Moments by Dove Body Care, we still encounter examples of dads being marginalized on a daily basis. Some men even face particularly harsh criticism; such was the case with baseball player Daniel Murphy, who took off the three days of paternity leave granted to each player by the MLB to attend the birth of his son. Because that paternity leave conflicted with opening day, Murphy was subjected to major criticism by many in the media. Even long-time family traditions like apple picking are not safe from those who would like to drum up a laugh at dad’s expense. Don’t believe me, just look at the picture below: Read more

That Time My Marriage Almost Ended, And Why That’s a Good Thing

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In the fall of 2012, my 3 year marriage to the love of my life was moments away from being over. My wife and I had many heated arguments during which the dreaded word divorce was shouted with such anger that, to this day, I continue to wonder how we came out the other side.
But much like that dreaded first step into a cold swimming pool, I know it’s time I take a deep breath and step off the side of the pool if I ever want to enjoy the freedom and joy that comes from a refreshing swim. Yes, it’s going to suck at first, but in the end there is a much needed benefit. For me, right now, the benefit I’m looking for is the unblocking of my mind; a release from the baggage that continues to weigh me down and impact my well-being. Allow me to back up a bit before we move forward.
Like many first time parents, that first year of my son’s life was really hard on the Wife and me. For reasons we couldn’t pinpoint, our history of meeting in the middle and balancing out one another, was eluding us.
We dealt with a great deal of stress during October-December of 2011. My Wife sadly lost her grandmother, we had a scare at 20 weeks where we thought our son was coming early, family drama throughout the holidays, and finally a couple we associated with gave birth to their son about 5 weeks before us, and named him the same name we were going to name our son. Yes, it’s laughable NOW to think of how worked up we got over the whole naming situation, but try explaining that to an almost 8 month pregnant woman.
Having some distance, I am able to look back and recognize these were simply excuses for our troubles. The real reason we were having issues is because we weren’t communicating. Simply put, we weren’t talking, our communication was broken. At least not about the things that didn’t involve sleep training, feeding and diaper duty. We neglected to communicate about the stuff that mattered most: Us.
So fast forward almost a year later. Our son was very difficult in his first year. No, that’s not fair to him. He was typical baby, maybe a bit more cranky than others, but normal nonetheless. It was his parents that were not well.
Unresolved stress from the prior year, was now growing with the addition of new stress. It all continued to pile up – stress of a cranky baby, a very difficult bout of postpartum depression, my own person life-long struggles with depression. And thanks to the continued presence of social media, it felt as if all we saw were other couples with children the same age as our son bragging about how awesome life was, and how kick-ass they were at being new moms and dads. I swear to everything holy, if I saw one more “#Blessed,” coupled with a pictures of an angelic baby with smiling, seemingly well-rested parents, I was going to go on a homicidal rampage.
We spent more time sitting around hating the kind of parents/people we weren’t while being angry at each other, that we failed to invest even one second in our marriage and, even more importantly, ourselves.
We tried, on occasion, to be that better person and support one another, even in our supremely broken state. Most days, unfortunately it was an exercise in futility.
But, even in all our brokenness we knew we still wanted us to work. So we took steps to fix us. We sought outside help, and dedicated ourselves to being better with each other. Was it easy? No fucking way. But nothing good, nothing that matters ever is.
I bring all this up because the Wife and I were having a discussion while out to lunch recently – a discussion that floored me.
Wife: You know, I’m kind of thankful for all the crap we went through two years ago.
Me: How in the hell can you say that?!? What good can you possibly have gained from that? We threatened each other with divorce.
Wife: Yeah, but we didn’t do it. And besides, look at all the good in our life now. None of that would be here if we didn’t go through the dark times.
Me: Oh, bullshit. I just cannot agree. You don’t think we would be happy or in a good place if we didn’t almost ruin each other.
Wife: In a way, no, I don’t. Neither one of us would be on the path we’re on now without our rough time.
I left lunch in a fog of confusion and disbelief. How could she see what we went through as a good thing? Our son was almost a statistic of a broken home before he even knew what a home was. But as I sat with it for a while, I got to thinking that maybe she had a point.
Since her bought with PPD my Wife has worked very hard at changing her career/life path. She is now tirelessly working on becoming a birth educator and eventually wants to open a center for women that will focus on every need during pregnancy and post-natal; she explained that this is a path she most definitely would not have embarked on if we hadn’t experienced the rough period, especially if our experience was similar to the #Blessed people because the motivation to help others would have not been there. She also pointed out my renewed desire for writing as an example of how things have gotten better. Yes, I was writing/blogging before my son, but I had little direction. Now I have found that direction, started my own website (PapaDoesPreach.com) and have even formed relationships with other mom/dad bloggers. Many of those relationship have helped me see that parenting, as well as cultivating a marriage, is a rough and sometimes messy process, but at the end of the day both worth the effort.
From time to time friends have remarked how they think the Wife and I are the perfect couple, and how they one day hope to have what we have. They wonder how we do it, how we manage to be so great. I just hope after reading this, they now understand when I simply answer with, “it takes hard work” that I really mean it.
My Wife made the point during our lunch conversation that we should celebrate the fact that we’re better with each other. Are we perfect? Not even close. Do we still have room to be better? Of course – there is always room for growth. But all in all we are a team again. Before the pregnancy funk we made a promise to each other to always value one another the same way we did before we found out we were going to have a baby. Just as we did the day we said our vows to each other.
Because at the end of the day, “we were” before “he was”.

Happy Anniversary to my Wife. Our love is like……Wood???

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On a rather hot July day five years ago; five years ago today in fact, my life changed forever. July 18, 2009 was a wonderful day filled with love and laughter that we shared with friends and family, alike… it was the day my Wife and I got married.
I can hardly believe it’s been five years already; we’ve actually been together for a little over eight. But truthfully, as I reflect back over the last five years, our wedding day feels like it was a life-time ago. So much has happened in our lives that has changed each one of us individually as well as a couple that I almost don’t recognize the two people in our wedding photos.
As always, I’ve spent the last month or so trying to come up with the perfect gift for my Wife, but to be honest I’m not very good at gift giving. Before you chime in with *typical guy* kinds of comments, let me tell you, I am VERY romantic. Take a look at what I did for my Wife on a not-too-long-ago birthday:
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It’s just that when it comes to gift-giving I struggle. When it comes to being on stage or entertaining a room full of people, or even writing, my creativity knows no bounds… but when it comes to the art of coming up with unique gift ideas, I’m clueless.
When I began my hapless gift-seeking pursuit by Googling gift ideas, I found out the 5th anniversary is the “wood anniversary”.
Great, that provided me no help at all. It did, however, inspire one suggestion for the Wife, in a brief meat-head man moment (those are some of my best btw) for a gift involving *wood *, but she simply pointed at our two year old son acting all toddler as hell at the table and responded, “No thanks, I’m good.” What can I say, I tried.
But in all seriousness, as I scrolled through lame idea after lame idea of gift ideas carved out of wood, or kitchen utensils made of wood that “All Women Must Have” (SERIOUSLY Amazon, are you trying to get me fucking killed over here?!?), I started to reflect back on the symbolism of the traditional anniversary gifts from the past four years of our marriage (although I put no stock in them at the time) were actually very fitting, and how this year’s meaning, wood, might be the most appropriate of all. Follow me here…. I’ll show you what I mean.
1st Anniversary – Paper
Has it been a year already?!? You most likely missed most of that first year because of the constant bragging to all your friends and coworkers about your wedding day and eventual honeymoon, only surpassed by the amount of time having tons of new marital sex, because no matter what anyone says, the sex is totally better after the I Do’s. One thing that is often overlooked in that first year of marriage is the delicate and fragile nature of your relationship. You’re both still learning each other, because despite what many may believe; I’m here to tell you that the title of “being married” changes EVERYTHING… there’s no going back. You’re playing for keeps now.
Our 1st year was very difficult for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, I was going through a very rough time emotionally, both personally and professionally. I was in a dead-end job where I was treated poorly every day, and my personal life was a mess because I wasn’t adjusting to our new life on the East Coast well. I missed the only home I ever knew (San Diego, CA), missed all my friends (making new friends as an adult SUCKS!), and I had a multitude of family problems that just wouldn’t stop. I felt I had no safe-haven to decompress and like I had no one I could talk/relate to that could brighten my perspective. The Wife tried to comfort me as much as she knew how, but I made home life pretty difficult at times. Needless to say, I wish I could have that time back.
2nd Anniversary – Cotton
Wow, that first one was fun, we should do that again! Now in year two you’ve begun to soften into your new titles of husband and wife, but mostly you spend a great deal of time simply enjoying each other, wrapped up and cuddling, like in a nice cotton blanket.
Many of the issues improved in our 2nd year of marriage. While we had great deal of ground to make up from our rough prior year, we did a better job at supporting each other. We began wrapping each other up in that blanket of love. I was eventually let go from my horrible job and my Wife was totally supportive in that situation. This year was filled with so much uncertainty that it felt really good to be comforted in the soft, cottony warmth of love. Our second year of marriage came to a close with a couple of high points: we took a vacation home to San Diego, I got a new job, and best of all we found out we were going to have a baby!
3rd Anniversary – Leather
Year three already huh? Congratulations, your relationship has become broken in like a nice pair of leather shoes. Wear those bad boys around with pride, and treat them well, because you’re going to have them for a while.
Boy… shoes are a great symbol for our third year because the new member of our family gave us little to no time to sit down. We were always up and moving with this kid. As for year three, I think the best way to describe it is, “One step forward and two steps back.” Shoes come in helpful with that saying too. Our son was not the easiest of babies, which made life for the Wife and I…..tricky. We openly admit we struggled as new parents, but keeping up with the shoe theme, we kept going forward on the journey. Sure, we hit some bumps (actually, some really big bumps) but we never stopped moving forward. Eventually we hit our stride and learned that this whole parenting (and marriage) thing is a marathon, not a sprint.
4th Anniversary – Linen
Year four; it’s time to change those sheets, and in our case, the scenery! By the time you reach year four of marriage you feel like you’re building a life with someone; a home built on love and joy.
After we survived the first year of our son, and were able to come up for a breath of air, we took a look around and decided we needed a change. We upped and left our cramped two bedroom apartment behind and moved. We spent the next year transforming our new house into a home… complete with new sheets. I had never lived in a house growing up, only apartments, so it’s been really cool to watch our son thrive here. He gets to run around, play in the yard and wander around the house… claiming every area as his own.
5th Anniversary – Wood
Around year five many couples may feel that the shine of newness is gone, and that things have become dull, much like old wood. However, the reality is that our marriage is not some dull stick. More accurately it is like a growing tree of love with roots that are strong, and deserves much respect.
In looking over this list of anniversary year symbols, there I have to say there are some really silly representations of love, and I place wood pretty close to the top of that list.
But the more I’ve thought about it, I’ve started to see the deeper meaning of the symbolism of wood. Our marriage has grown and grown over the past five years. It started out as a small, but pretty tree. It took on major storms to begin with and lost much of its beautiful leaves and flowers, but even as the storms raged on the tree stood strong, and would not be uprooted.
After the storms, the tree took time to soak in the joy of the sun and grow strong roots. Eventually as it grew, it even sprouted a new branch; a beautiful, and sometimes trying, branch.
Happy anniversary my love. I’m glad our love was planted together; went through the storms together; created a life together (in all meanings, a home and an actual person in the Boy), and like any strong piece of wood we keep riding the waves and never sink. I love you so much.
I guess wood isn’t that bad of a symbol after all. I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do for our 9th anniversary; what can I do with pottery?!?