Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Eight Years

Eight years ago Jim and I got married. It was a beautiful fall day, unseasonably warm. Unlike some girls, I had never thought much about my wedding growing up. Mainly, I thought I would never get married – I would be much too busy having a crazy, busy life full of adventure. That was until I met Jim. And you know what? I still have had a crazy, busy life full of adventure.

We have certainly been through a lot in our time together. Some highlights (and lowlights):

*Jim was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic
*Jim crushed his hand in a snowmobile accident and had it rebuilt
*We traveled extensively (France, Germany, Austria, England, Scotland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Cuba)
*6 years of infertility
* The car accident and my ongoing recovery
*Bennett and his subsequent Cerebral Palsy diagnosis

Through it all, we have pretty much always been on the same page in regards to everything and have always managed to find laughter in even the darkest situations. I can honestly say that we’ve never had a big fight – a few small disagreements, but nothing major.

When I woke up in that van after the accident, the only thing I could think of was how much I wanted Jim there. I was going crazy waiting for him at the hospital. Once he got there he never left my side. In our relationship, I was always the aggressive one – the one who took care of pretty much everything. Suddenly, Jim was thrust into the role of being my caregiver and my advocate. He performed admirably.

When I came home from the hospital, Jim returned to the work. When he returned at 6pm, he took over as my main caregiver. He fed me, helped me into my wheelchair, gave me sponge baths, emptied my bed pan, helped me roll over, etc. The hospital bed was set up in the living room and Jim slept beside me on the couch every night – for 4 months - despite my pleas to have him sleep in our bed. Being pregnant, I had to pee every hour. This involved the following routine:

1. I would wake him up.
2. He would remove all 6 of my supportive pillows and strap on my leg brace over my cast.
3. He would then help me sit up – quite a procedure considering my broken leg, my broken wrist and being very pregnant.
4. We would sit and wait for about 5 minutes while my dizziness went away and my leg stopped throbbing.
5. He would then help me onto my platform walker and position the commode.
6. Once I was done, we reversed the entire process to get me back into bed where once again, each pillow had to be positioned perfectly.
7. He would then go back to sleep on the couch, only to get up again an hour later to repeat the entire thing again.
8. At 6am, he would leave for work.

During all this, he NEVER once complained. He was kind, gentle and encouraging. After Bennett was born, it became obvious that he couldn’t return to work so he took 3 months off to take care of both of us. I still laugh when I remember how on one of his very few days “off” he went snowmobiling with a couple friends who asked “You must be anxious to get back to work because you must be bored at home?” Jim’s reply was “Are you crazy, I’ve never been so exhausted in my life!” How na├»ve of them to think that being at home with a newborn and a wife in a wheelchair, could be boring.

While in the hospital, I remember a nurse telling me that I was “lucky” that Jim stuck around as most men would leave in his situation. I was shocked – first of all, it was sad that this woman had such a negative view of men and secondly, that thought had never occurred to me. Many people also said that they were “impressed” with Jim and how he handled everything. I must say though, that I wasn’t. The truth is, I’ve always been impressed with Jim and would have expected nothing less from the man I married. He is wonderful and amazing in every way – that is something, I have always known. Did the accident reinforce my belief – of course! And needless to say, the man has earned enough Brownie points to last a lifetime!

I am a very lucky woman to have Jim as my husband and I try to let him know everyday that I appreciate everything he does. He is an extraordinary husband, a wonderful father and my best friend.

Happy Anniversary Jim!


North Dakota Ward's said...

Happy Anniversary! I loved reading your story. You are so blessed to have each other!

Bonnie said...

Happy Anniversary to you both - You are in my heart and prayers.
Aunti Bonnie

Dawn said...

Congratulations Barbara & Jim.

What a loving tribute.

Kara said...

Happy Anniversary! Your story proves that when two people truly love each other, there are no real sacrifices - only acts of enduring love.

Kerry said...

Happy Anniversary, you wacky kids.

Jim has always had that core of stubborn strength inside him. He just has to have a real reason to show it. His family is ample reason. Congratulations to you both on finding ways to express your own strengths and weaknesses with each other.

North Dakota Ward's said...

Barbara, I know you are super busy. But I would love to hear how the brace is going for you guys. I am hoping that our doctor will give Sammy the articulating one (which is what I think you have). Sammy NEEDS something, but the solid one is not working at all for him. At therapy yesterday I saw a little guy with the articulating one. I think it will be much better for him. It is heavier then the one we have. Take pictures when you get a chance too. I want to see the shoes you found. What a nightmare shoes have become for us. LOL!!! As always thanks for your kind words on my blog.....I am much better just had a DAY yesterday. Daniel is bringing me home LOTS of french fries that I will dump salt all over......so you can kind of tell why, I had a day by my salt craving!!! You are the best!

Mummu and Poppa said...

Happy Anniversary!!

Ah, yes, we remember it well... September 30, 2000.

It hardly seems like eight years, but the calendar doesn't lie.

Much water has flown 'under the bridge' in that time frame, but, the two of you have managed, very nicely, to keep your heads on straight and stay focused on the big picture - your little family - that has increased with the addition of Bennett!

Altough so much unexpected turmoil has been thrusted upon you, you continue to move forward with your love and this has touched us all.

We wish you many many more loving years together.

Love and Prayers
Mummu and Poppa
xxx ooo xxx ooo

Colleen said...

Happy Anniversay guys! Hope you had a great day.

All my love,

A Cincy Mama said...

I was encouraged by your post and the moving tribute to your husband. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us in the bloggy world and a Happy Anniversary to you.

grandma and grandpa said...

Hi Barbara and Jim,
I had written lovely comments, however, I hit something and POOOFFF it was gone. This one will not be so long which will probably make you both happy! LOL. Jim, Wayne and I could not ask for a better son-in-law, and we love you dearly. You are worth your weight in gold. (well, take off a few ounces for teasing me unmercifully, at times...lol.)
You and Barbara make a wonderful couple who obviously love each other very much. There is one other thing we have to thank you for and that is BENNETT, baby extraordinair!!!
We wish you a long life together.
Lots of love, hugs and kisses
Wayne and Suzanne (aka grandpa and grandma)

Lisa said...

Hi Gorgeous,

It's funny Austin and I were just talking about wedding anniversaries.

Congratulations to both of you. You are two of the nicest people I know and it warms me so to know that Jim has been there for you all the way. He is a keeper, that is for sure.

Austin and I will be celebrating 25 years together soon. I said to him "Gee, if I were still with my X, we would be celebrating our
40th anniversary now. Isn't that wild"? To which he replied "If I were still with my X we'd be in the cemetary together pushing up daisies!" - now there's a romantic image, hey??

We were also noticing that all our close friends are celebrating their 25th anniversary in the next year or so. It made me realize that we hang out with people who are at least 10 years younger than we are - so that must be a good sign to.

I think a key factor in your having a good relationship is without a doubt 'laughter'. Laughter has most definitly kept our relationship going these many years so keep on laughing and you'll likely have a very very long and happy relationship.

Auntie Gates

Barbara said...

Thank you everyone!

* ~ *Jessica* ~ * said...

Happy Belated Anniversary! That picture is beautiful!!!!!! Thanks for sharing :)

Kiera Beth said...

Barbara - Happy Anniversary (a little late!) I love the picture. That is beautiful. That was a wonderful tribute to Jim also! You two seem like you are soul mates and that is a wonderful connection!

I wish for many, many, many more wonderful years together for you two!

Mummu and Poppa said...

Well, here we go again, (today, October 10th) and as the saying goes - better late than never. I have been lax in my blogging but hope to play 'catch-up' today.

Jim and Barbara: When times were tough (and you have had your share and then some) you pulled together. No need to wonder where you got your positive qualities for building a strong relationship because your families see your strengths, togetherness and beauty as a couple. You are such a 'perfect match'!

We are so proud of Jim and Barbara - she is truly the 'girl for him'! Barbara, you have done wonders with our 'baby boy' - from getting him to do his laundry and help with household chores to actually helping with planting and weeding a garden. We never dreamed that Jim would flourish in these areas. His Daddy was a good example for him. Jim you are a pleasure to have as our son, a husband to Barbara and Daddy to Bennett. Keep up your good works.

It is a privilege for us (as parents and in-laws) to have Jim and Barbara in our family circle. You would have to go along way to meet two people who are more committed to each other. Bennett is just the 'icing on the cake'! for Mummu and Poppa.

May you have many more years of 'togetherness' and love.

Love and Prayers
Mom and Dad
xxx ooo xxx ooo