Tomorrow is our fifth wedding anniversary.

Last year for our anniversary, I was approximately 1 week overdue with our second baby, so expectations were kept low. Chuck and I drove to the next town over to grab a few slices of pizza (we didn't want to risk being bombarded by people we knew if we chose a restaurant in our small town). While my Mom kept an eye on Charlie, we reflected on the last year of marriage and what our goals for Year Five were. We both agreed that we wanted to commit to making more time for just the two of us, as well as make an effort to do more things together as a family. We shook on monthly date nights.

Of course, nothing really prepared us for the whirlwind that would be two under two and though it hasn't been impossible to fit in a date night here and there, it hasn't been the easiest.

If I had to choose a word to sum up our fifth year of marriage it would be, "grace."

Being parents of two very young children required a metric ton of grace on both our parts. In year five, we never stopped loving each other, supporting each other, or rooting for each other in our parenting journey. But "I'm sorry. It's not you, I'm just cranky and tired" kind of became our mantra. We had trouble finding time for intimacy. And truth be told, even when we did find the time, I was just plain overstimulated from having a baby and toddler permanently attached to my body all day. We operated in survival mode- we did what we had to do to make sure bodies were nourished, bills were paid, and children were loved on. With the time we had to spare, we heaped words of affirmation on each other because it's the only love language we could really manage.

I realize that this sounds like a horror story of a marriage. But there was a lot of beauty to be found in the in-betweens. I feel like this is the year that solidified that the two of us are a team. And not just any team, but a great team. Even when we were both depleted, we struck a balance and made sure the other had the time they needed to regroup, reenergize and ready themself for the days and weeks ahead. Even when we weren't physically together, we were taking care of each other.

This was also the year that confirmed for me how much I genuinely like my husband. Romance and passion were hard to come by, but not a day went by when I didn't appreciate, love, and enjoy my husband for exactly who he is. At the risk of sounding utterly cliche, Chuck is my best friend. We just plain like each other. I'm so exceedingly grateful for that.

The night that Chuck and I met was not love at first sight. But it was pretty damn close. I knew within minutes that this guy was different. I knew within minutes that he was someone trustworthy, authentic, kind-hearted and selfless. Never once in the eight years that I've known him has he proven to be anything otherwise.

It was not difficult to imagine that Chuck would make a great husband and someday a great father. I am so happy that my inclinations were correct. He is all those things and more.

Happy anniversary, my love. You are the best friend, partner, husband, and baby daddy that a girl could ask for. I love you so much.

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