I first met Anthony in 1999. I was an angry and spunky 14 year old and he was a sassy, boundry-less 17 year old. I was hardly impressed with him and thought he was probably the most annoying person I had ever met.
But over the next year of getting to know him, I had a feeling growing in the pit of my stomach. It’s not something I can easily explain, but I knew; I just knew that I was supposed to marry this man. I fell in love with him in the summer of 2000. I still look back on that summer as one of the best of my life.
Even though I was head-over-heels for him, life, it seems, had different plans. We didn’t end up dating until I was 21- nearly 8 years later. Life pulled us in different directions and formed us into who we needed to become to for one another. Dating him was like second nature. Saying yes to him when he asked to marry me was the easiest question I’ve ever had to answer.
Since we tied the knot in 2009 we have moved to Maui, traveled the world (New Zealand is still our favorite), started new careers, found new friends (and kept the old), and really created a life we love.
We always knew children were in our future, but we didn’t want to rush it. Once you’re married, you’re constantly asked when there will be the pitter-patter of little feet. We shrugged it off, seeing as though I was only 23 at the time and had just barely graduated college. But as we entered our late 20s, family and even some friends became more pushy.
“Isn’t it time yet?”
“Better not wait too long; you don’t want to be old parents”
“It took us 5 years to conceive – better start trying now!”
“Do you just not want kids?”
Everyone has their own journey to take when it comes to starting their family. Some of my friends started right away – getting pregnant in their early to mid-twenties. And you know what? That was the right decision for them. But it wasn’t for us.
I left teaching in 2014 and had to start from scratch with my photography business. While I had been growing it for three years already, I had no idea what it meant to be a small business owner and what that would mean for my life. The next several years were a wild ride and I’m glad I’ve given my business the love and care it needed to grow to this point. I don’t regret a single thing about my decision to focus on my career.
But in the fall of 2015 I had another feeling igniting within me. With the holidays around the corner, the house seemed quieter than usual. Christmas morning just didn’t have the zest I wanted it to have. It was then I knew that I was ready for the next step. My sweet husband, who is so go-with-the-flow, had always felt that when I was ready, he was too. We decided we would start trying in 2016.
We began trying after coming home from Australia in May. I was told over and over that it may take up to a year after coming off birth control. We are lucky and I will never forget that. Some people wait so long to conceive while others find they can’t at all. Three months after going off the pill, I took a pregnancy test and it came up positive (the day after I paddled 26 miles from Maui to Molokai, mind you. No wonder I was so tired!). I will never forget that moment. That “oh-shit-my-life-will-never-be-the-same” moment. If you’ve been there, you know exactly what I mean.
My husband’s first reaction: “You think it’s right?” We still laugh about that. But that’s how taken off-guard we were. I’m still in shock. My last ultrasound showed the actual outline of a human. Wait…what?! My pants don’t quite fit any more and I finally broke down and bought some maternity clothes from some awesome Cyber Monday sales. This is happening.
I wish I could go back and tell my 14 year old self that someday the sassy, boundry-less man that annoyed her so would be the father to her children. That girl that spent the summer of 2000 waiting in her short-shorts for that boy she liked so much to come randomly pick her up (which happened at least 4 times per week) – girl, just wait. Your life with him will be better than you could ever dream it to be.
I would tell her to be patient and have faith. That feeling in the pit of your stomach is rarely wrong. The pain is worth it. Just you wait.
I got the guy I always wanted. It was always him. And now I get to be the mother of his children. There’s so much love in my heart I could just burst.
With that being said, I’ll be going on maternity leave from May 8, 2017-August 15, 2017.
I will be enjoying time with my family and my new son or daughter (we’re waiting to find out!). This whole parenting thing is going to be one wild ride. But with this guy by my side, I know I’ll be just fine.
Photos by my super talented friend Jenna Strubhar