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This week we celebrated our last big occasion of our first year abroad: our anniversary.
In the days leading up to April 2nd Ben and I mused about the best ways to celebrate our 9 official years together. Neither of us had good ideas, though, seeing as how we already spend almost all day every day together doing and seeing beautiful things. It’s hard to make one particular day more special than any other already is for us.
Do you know people who lose something or someone they love and say afterward that they wish they’d appreciated what they had in the moment? Yeah, that’s not us.
We actively appreciate what we have. Every day.
Our first child was a stillborn daughter our first year of marriage. We had been so excited to welcome her into our lives that her passing crushed us both. We survived by turning to our Heavenly Father and the knowledge the our family would be be together forever and turning to each other. Whit was born a year later, and we have cherished him every day since. I suffocate him with hugs and kisses every night when he (and later when I) is ready to fall asleep, and I often catch myself thinking, if he doesn’t wake up in the morning at least I’ll know I basked in him as much as I possibly could.
We have the same mentality while traveling. We spent 7 years planning and preparing for the day we’d be able to travel full time, and now it’s here. We’re living our dreams, and that means something to us. So we try to make something of every single day, never knowing what adventures we may someday wish we had done more of. I don’t want to feel guilty for how I spent any of my time. In the words of an American music icon, I don’t want to miss a thing.
So our anniversary was a few days ago and we were dumbfounded about what to do. All things considered, I think it’s probably the most beautiful predicament to find ourselves in. Ben bought me an assortment of New Zealand chocolates, which I loved (and shared), and we went to an activity center after picking Whit up from school. At the activity center we bought a sports package which allowed us to shoot moving targets with air rifles, hit golf balls at a driving range, and visit a batting cage. It was so fun to do something other than a nature activity, but which still required us to move. It was also Whit’s first time doing any of those things, and it’s always great to see him try something new. He even showed a lot of natural talent for golf!
What meant the most to me that day, though, was Whit. He helped Ben pick out my chocolates and Ben explained to him that they were a gift to celebrate the day we were married. For a few days Whit was calling our anniversary our “Marriage Day”, and treating us very special. I realized that we needed to include him in our day, because our Marriage Day is when our family began. And that includes him. And our daughter. It was fun to celebrate our family instead of just each other, and I hope Whit develops an even deeper love and appreciation for our family unit in the future!
The other thing our anniversary made me realize is that it’s been nearly a year since we left America. Isn’t that something? We don’t know where we’ll be celebrating our first travelversary next month after we leave New Zealand at the end of April, but those are just pesky details, right?