Our Fifth Anniversary

Today Jessica and I celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. Actually, to be more specific, today is our anniversary, but tomorrow night will be the celebration. More on that coming shortly. When I think about this being our five-year anniversary my natural reaction is to say “Wow I can’t believe it’s already been five years,” but when I stop and think about all the major life experiences we’ve had between now and then, it’s actually hard to believe that its only been five years. To drive that point home, here is a list, in chronological order, of all the major life experiences we have experienced together during our first five years of marriage:

  • Got married (04/03/2010)
  • Moved from Seattle to San Diego (05/2010)
  • I changed careers from bartending to software development (10/2011)
  • Ava was born (11/25/2011)
  • I enrolled in college (01/2012)
  • We moved from San Diego back to Seattle for my contracting job at Amazon (12/2012)
  • I was hired for a full-time position at Amazon as a Web Developer (02/2013)
  • Elise was born (07/14/2013)
  • We bought our first house (06/2014)
  • I graduated from college (06/2014)
  • Enzo was born (01/28/2015)
  • I left my job at Amazon and started at Microsoft as a Software Engineer (03/02/2015)

Needless to say this has been the best five year period of my life. Although Jessica and I certainly have many amazing years and life experiences ahead of us, it’s safe to say that we will never have a more momentous five year stretch than we did to start our marriage. How could we? The birth of our three children alone would have secured that for us, but when you add in all the rest, the case is closed. That being said, I’m ready for things to slow down a bit, however I think the joke’s on us because it’s doubtful that anything will be slowing down anytime soon. As the kids continue to grow we seem to find ourselves becoming busier and busier all the time. I wouldn’t have it any other way though.

So now the question becomes, how do we celebrate such an amazing five years? Well nothing we can do would come anywhere near signifying all that we’ve been through, so simply going shopping, then out to dinner, then catching a Sounders soccer game will have to suffice.

A few years ago Jessica made the comment that she would really like a diamond band to go with her wedding ring. To give a little back story, the ring I picked out for her (on television none the less) has two bands that fuse into one, and I remember the salesperson at the jewelry store saying that you didn’t really need a separate band with this ring, due to its design. When I presented Jessica with the ring she was thrilled and didn’t care about a band, but down the road she decided that it would be nice to have one. She wasn’t in any hurry to get it, but at that moment I decided that I’d get her a nice band for a special occasion. Well, this is that special occasion, so the first thing we’re going to do tomorrow afternoon when we head out is visit the same jewelry store I got the ring from and pick out a nice band to match it. She has waited much longer than necessary and I’m so excited to get it for her. She more than deserves it, and I love the symbolism of giving it to her for our fifth anniversary.

After that we’re going to walk from the jewelry store, which is in Belltown, down to Pioneer Square for dinner. I’m not exactly sure where we’re going to eat but we’ve talked about Il Terrazzo Carmine’s, which is one of our favorite restaurants in Seattle. It also happens to be where we had dinner for my bachelor party. Regardless of where we eat I know it will be great. No matter what we won’t have to deal with small children climbing all over us, or holding a baby with one hand while eating with the other. Eating out has always been one of our favorite things to do together, so I’m definitely looking forward to it.

After dinner we will walk over to Century Link field to see the Seattle Sounders game. I’ve only been to one Sounders game before this, and this will be Jessica’s first. Surprisingly enough we haven’t been to that many sporting events together. Up until now we’ve been to a few Padres games, an SDSU basketball game, and one Mariners game. That’s it. We tend to go to concerts more than anything, but there weren’t any good shows in town this weekend, so the soccer game seemed like our best bet. The last game I went to was a blast, so I have no doubt this will be the same. It’s a completely different vibe with a much more international feel than you’d get at most other sporting events. I’m just hoping for decent weather. This will be our first time away from Enzo, but we’re not worried. Everything will be fine, and we both very much deserve a night out together. I’m really looking forward to it.

I read an excellent book on the bus this week that I would encourage anyone to read. It’s called ‘The Last Lecture’ by Randy Pausch. Last week I read a book on the bus called ‘The Council of Dads’ by Bruce Feiler, which was about a guy with young twin girls who finds out he has bone cancer. He assembles the Council of Dads as his ‘replacement’ should he not be around to raise them. It was a good book, and I’m glad I read it, but it wasn’t great (I gave it 3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads). My plan after finishing that book was to switch back to another rockstar biography, but at the last moment I had a change of heart and decided to read ‘The Last Lecture.’

I must admit that I knew nothing about this book when selecting it. It had been recommended to me by my tattoo artist in San Diego (of all people) several years ago, and although he told me the premise of the book during one of our sessions, I was in too much pain to remember any of it. All I remembered was the title, so there it went onto my ‘to-read’ list, and there it has sat for over four years. Since I had a copy of it on my kindle, and I could see that it was a very short book that would only take me a couple days on the bus to read, I decided on a whim to read it.

I hadn’t gotten more than one paragraph into the book before I realized that the premise of this book was almost identical to that of the last book I read. Randy Pausch was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University (the best computer science school in the U.S.) who was married with three kids, the oldest of whom was 5. He contracted a terminal case of pancreatic cancer and was only given six months to live. At that time, Carnegie Mellon was doing a popular series of lectures by various professors called ‘The Last Lecture.’ They were named that because they were the last lecture of the semester for a particular course, and were generally meant to be a little less academic and a little more inspiring. Well, Pausch knew his time was limited, so he decided to take that concept to another level, and literally give his last lecture, which was titled ‘Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.’

I can only say that the book was absolutely outstanding. Certainly one of the best I’ve ever read. It’s a bit emotional, and I must admit that tears came to my eyes several times while reading it, but I’m so glad I did. From my perspective, whenever Randy mentions his wife and kids, I end up picturing Jessica, Ava, Elise and Enzo. We he talks about his kids growing up without their father, I can’t help but think about losing my own father at a young age, so there was a very personal connection there. The lecture he gives, and the subsequent book he writes, were his way of passing a bit of himself on for his family to hang onto. I couldn’t help but make the connection between what the lecture and book meant to him, with what this blog means to me. Considering that all the memories I have of my Dad are from my childhood, I have a deep fear that my kids will somehow end up going through that same experience. This website helps alleviate that fear by ensuring that my kids will know more about their Dad than I did about mine, for better or worse.

When I told Jessica about the book while making dinner one night this week she said “Wow you’ve been reading some sad books lately,” and on the surface I know it looks that way, but my response was that the book wasn’t sad, it was inspiring. There were so many life lessons in this book I can’t even begin to explain it. Just do yourself a favor and read it. You won’t hear this kind of recommendation from me often, but I promise it will be worth the 3-4 hours you invest in it.

Although I’m eager to get into another book on my bus trips, I’m going to pause for a few weeks to focus on studying some new programming languages we’re using at Microsoft. I love reading, but I actually really enjoy studying as well. I know that’s weird to most people, but I love the experience of gaining knowledge, and I must admit that I’m riding a wave of inspiration caused by reading Pausch’s book.

Speaking of riding the connector bus, yesterday was the first time in just over three weeks that I actually drove my car to work. In that time I had only put 50 miles on it, so the benefits of the bus are crystal clear. I drove to work because I had a dentist appointment at 5:00 and there was no bus schedule that would get me there on time. I actually had a funny experience at the dentist that I’m still thinking about this morning.

I was at the dentist to get four fillings on my lower molars. When the dentist greeted me I noticed that he didn’t have an assistant with him, which was unusual. He later commented on this by saying that his assistant called in sick today and he was working solo. Before he got started he asked me “When was the last time you took a nice vacation? I’m not talking about a trip to visit family, I mean a nice, relaxing, tropical vacation.” I had to think about it for a minute, but I told him it was the cruise Jessica and I took with my Mom’s company to Mexico. That was the only tropical vacation we’ve ever been on, but it was a ton of fun, and I even got to hang out with my all-time favorite baseball player Orel Hershiser. I told him a bit about the trip, and even specifically said “it brings back good memories,” but in the back of my mind I was wondering why he was asking me this. We chatted about cruises for another couple minutes, then he got to work.

He told me that the cavities I had were very small and wouldn’t require much drilling, so he was going to get started. I responded by asking “without novocaine?” He said “I don’t think you’ll need it, but if you feel any discomfort just raise your right hand and I’ll stop immediately.” Instantly I realized what his angle was on asking me about my last tropical vacation. He was trying to put me in a calming state of mind because he knew that he wasn’t going to numb my mouth for the drilling, and he also knew that I would probably be a bit anxious about that. Call it a sort of mini hypnotism if you will. I had to silently applaud him (since he was working in my mouth) for the mental trickery he had just played on me. I wondered how many times he had done this to other patients, and I also wondered how many other patients caught onto what he was doing.

As I sat there in the dentist chair I realized that the entire experience isn’t all that different from sitting in a tattoo chair, and considering that I’ve spent about 24 hours of my life in tattoo chairs, enduring the worst pain I’ve ever felt, I knew this would be no big deal. As they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, so regardless of my dentist’s hypnotic intentions, I knew my own experiences of dealing with pain without moving would serve me well.

As it turned out, I hardly felt a thing and was actually relieved that he didn’t numb my mouth because I was hungry and looking forward to having dinner when I got home. More than anything it was a funny experience at the dentist (which doesn’t come around often) that I won’t soon forget. All that being said, had he struck a nerve in my mouth I would have been more than happy to raise my right hand and get the shot.

So, back to our anniversary. Here we are with our first five-year stretch complete, ready to begin our second. We’ve seen many of our friend’s relationships fail, or at least face significant trouble, but we’ve been one of the lucky ones. Jessica and I talk about this often, and we usually attribute it to the fact that we both came close to getting married when we were too young, but luckily we didn’t follow through with it and ended up waiting several years until we were truly ready. By waiting until we were older we were both so much more in tune with what we were looking for and what was important to us. Should one of our children come to us with the idea of getting married at a young age, I hope they will learn from our experiences and not rush into anything. I would tell them that marriage is one of those things that is much easier to get into than it is to get out of, so please don’t be in any hurry. There are too many life experiences you deserve to have before getting married. Hopefully you will each take your time and end up finding a person that compliments you as well as your mother compliments me.

Jessica, as I said at the beginning of this post, this has been the best five years of my life. Thank you for being the amazing wife and mother that you are. Thank you for your sensibility, for your responsibility, for your ability to stay calm in strife, and for you willingness to accommodate my ridiculous fascination and devotion to hobbies like playing guitar. You’ll never know how much I appreciate the way you not just let me, but encourage me to be myself, at all costs (both literally and figuratively). Here’s to many more good years and anniversaries, to countless good times as well as our fair share of tough ones. Our family means the world to me and I’m so grateful to be able to share our lives together. All my love.

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