Sunday, February 16, 2014

6 Years

Tomorrow (February 17th) marks our 6th dating anniversary!  It is hard to believe we will soon have a new date to celebrate, our wedding anniversary.

A lot has happened over these 6 years.  We started dating when my parents were still married, Megan and Craig were not even dating, I had not been diagnosed with Crohns disease yet, my mom was cancer-free, I had never run over 3 miles (nor did I even care for running), Addison was not even conceived and we were freshman in college.  Phew, we sound ancient.

Today, Dustin and I have both graduated from Gonzaga University, got engaged, live in West Seattle together and have both been working at our dream jobs for over 2 years.

I apologize but this post might be sappy and personal.  Don't say that I didn't warn you!  But this gives you a glimpse into our relationship over the years, no relationship is perfect and I don't think I can stress that enough.

It is hard to believe all that we have endured over these years, because they have not all been fun and games.  As any couple can relate, we had a honeymoon phase during the first 2 years of dating.  Our biggest "struggles" included Dustin constantly studying (the engineer life) and my silly stupid college roommate drama.  Two years into our relationship and we have never even experienced a real fight yet.

When I returned from Italy and I don't think I could have ever prepared for what would come within the next year.  I was at the airport in Rome checking my bags (after just finishing a pub crawl), 4:00 am and I found out Thayer was pregnant.  A few months later Megan and Craig got engaged.  Several weeks later my dad flew to Spokane to tell me that my parents were separating.  Within a month my stomach pains had escalated so much that I had lost over 20 pounds.  My colonoscopy showed 3 stomach ulcers and severe inflammation in my intestines indicating that I had Crohns Disease.  We put our family dog down in April and during the same month I had surgery to remove the infected parts of my small and large intestines (after treatment was unsuccessful).  I was able to return to summer school (after taking the semester off) to finish a semesters worth of school in 6 weeks.  I came back to Seattle just in time to throw my sister a Bachelorette party, attend her wedding as Maid of Honor and turn 21 all within 2 weeks!

Dustin stayed by my side the entire time.  Skyping and sending me letters in Italy, traveling from Spokane to Seattle multiples times each month just to sit next to me on the couch over the weekend.  Why?  I could barely make it to the movies, out to lunch or to Target without catching a fever due to my low immune system  I remember telling Dustin several times that I was struggling because I was had a hard time making our relationship a priority and I knew it wasn't fair to him.  And guess what?  He still stayed with me.  We had a strong love during it all.

Flash forward a few years and Dustin and I finished up our final year at Gonzaga.  What was our next step?  Would we be separate or together?  We knew we were meant to be together because we loved each other very much. But we did struggle quite a bit during this transition.  Dustin had three job offers immediately.  I did not get a job a quickly as I wanted to which resulted in me living with my mom for one year post college to take another internship.

While living at home my mom, my Dad remarried to wonderful woman, Karen.  The same exact week of their wedding, our house was broken into and precious sentimental items and valuables were stolen from my mom and I.  A week later, Dustin's beloved Grandfather passed away and then his family dog.

A short while after, I moved to Ballard (a quaint Seattle neighborhood) to fulfill my dream/goal of living 100% financially independent. I also accepted a job downtown Seattle at an advertising agency, something I always wanted.  Dustin was very supportive even though this was 45 minutes away from where he lived (not counting traffic time).  Struggles during this time included traveling to see one another, work hours, poor communication and lack of quality time with one another.  Again, not an ideal situation but after lots of conversation, hard work and dedication we came out on top and were growing stronger in our ever evolving relationship after college.

Looking back, that all sounds like a piece of cake!  After finding out about my mom's diagnosis, I was sure that might bring turmoil to our relationship.  But it didn't because we had already learned and how to love and communicate during the toughest times.  Along with my mom's sickness, my dad lost his job, Dustin's grandmother continues to suffer from Alzheimer's Disease and my grandfather passed away.  Who would have guessed that our strongest year together would be during a year of sadness and disease.  Even the transition of moving in and living with one another was seamless.

Last week, Morgan shared this article on her blog.  It is beautiful because it defines true love.  I could not help but tear up as I stand confident that Dustin and I have a love this deep.  Even during the lowest of lows and the highest of highs.  Not the type of love that is staged on Pinterest with balloons, banners and picnic baskets.  Not the type that needs to be exaggerated over social media and on extravagant dates.  It is hard to wrap my mind around the things that Dustin and I will face in our future.  It seems we have already been through so much at the young age of 24 and 25.  I love you Dustin and I can't thank you enough for what you have given me these last 6 years through the good and bad.

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