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Super-versary: 4 Years!

Adam and I were laughing the other day at the fact that we’ve only been married 4 years, yet we sit in separate recliners in the living room, sleep with a pillow barricade between us in our king-sized bed, and spend 2-3 nights per week away from eachother. I think a lot of people would look at us and say “well that’s a loveless way to live!”…

They would be so, so wrong.

I frequently think about how much I love my life: my job, my family, my dog, my house, my baby, my husband… and my MARRIAGE. Sure, Adam doesn’t clean as much as I’d like him to, and he generates more laundry than an army, and he often forgets what I’ve just said as it’s coming out of my mouth, but we have a wonderful, wonderful life. He is thoughtful, and funny, and incredibly sincere, and protective in all the right ways, and ohhhhh my gosh does he love me.

Sure, we argue. About money, housework, jobs, parenting, the dog, family, whether or not some B-list celebrity was in some movie from the 80’s… but we have grown so much in our 7+ years together that we now know the most important thing about arguments – how to end them (and every year, we get closer to figuring out how not to begin them).

Adam and I learn from each and every relationship in our lives – our parents, our grandparents, our friends, our siblings, our aunts and uncles and cousins – they have all taught us something valuable to incorporate into our own relationship. I know that there are really only two people who make up a marriage, but I also believe that support plays a valuable role in the success of a marriage. We have the mose incredible support system – and I thank you ALL for that.

Our marriage is successful because we LOVE. We respect. We think. We forgive. We don’t walk away. We hug and kiss. We compromise. We compliment. We trust. We apologize. We consult. We accept. We laugh. We laugh even more. We wrestle and tickle. We support. We surprise. We pray. And we LOVE.

I just spent the last 45 minutes going through pictures of our life together, and I was brought to tears more than once. Adam has enriched my life more than he will ever know, and I am so, so thankful that God gave him to me.

Now… a little wedding anecdote for you, and then I’ll send you on with your day.

On the very same day I became a Superwife… I was also dubbed a “Superfreak.” I had chosen the song “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire for Adam and I to walk back up the aisle to once we were pronounced husband and wife. It was an inside joke, and I couldn’t wait to see his face when he heard the song.

When the moment came for us to actually turn around, face all of our family and friends, and walk back up that wedding aisle… my DJ accidentally blasted “Super Freak” by Rick James.  So instead of getting a kick out of my little inside joke, I saw confused (and definitely amused) expressions on everyone’s faces as I paraded back up that aisle to the words “SHE’S A VERY KINKY GIIRRRRRRLLLL”!

And to this day, that is absolutely one of the funniest memories from our wedding. Unplanned, but hilarious! 🙂

So, to my Superhubby, happy 4th anniversary! Love love love you.

 

 

Trials and Tribulations

Dirk’s trial starts on Monday. I guess I should say Dirk’s killer’s trial starts on Monday, but we all know it as Dirk’s trial – and I think it’s difficult for many of us to say the man’s name.

This week has definitely been a taxing one… sure, I’ve had my moments of laughter and jokes with family and friends, but in between smiles I’ve been weighed down by the thought of this trial. Adam and I have been bickering like idiots, surely just to avoid talking about something more difficult than “whydidn’tyouputyourdishes inthedishwasheryoujerk?”. A “good night’s rest” has been a lofty goal these days, and to be honest we’ve been catching some unnecessary grief from people about the fact that we’re not going to be here for the trial.

WHAT? Jenny and Adam aren’t even attending their DAD’s murder trial? No, no we are not. Adam and I will be attending the very beautiful, very fun wedding of two of our closest friends in Honolulu, Hawaii – and we fully believe that that is exactly where Dirk would want us to be. Because if he were alive, he would 100% be going with us. We believe that in no way would Dirk condone the cancellation of this trip in order for us to attend an emotional, gut-wrenching, frustrating trial – especially since nothing is changing. No matter the outcome of this trial, Dirk will still be gone and we will still be working hard to stitch together our broken hearts.

We love Dirk. We miss Dirk. We also think that God had a hand in the scheduling of this trial – we didn’t get the notice until after we had purchased Hawaii tickets, and wouldn’t you agree that perhaps this is NOT a coincidence? Perhaps… we just weren’t meant to be there.

In any case… we appreciate the love and support you all have shown in the last year and a half. If anyone would like to attend the trial, you should be able to find information at the Alaska Court View webpage. The case number to search is 3PA-10-02936CR, and the defendant’s name is Samuel E Clark. The latest information I have is that jury selection will begin on Monday and probably last through Tuesday, and as soon as the jury is chosen the trial will begin (so possibly as early as Wednesday, May 15). Check the website for more updated information, and I’ll try to update with what I find out on Dirk’s memorial facebook page.

Now… go enjoy your weekend. Hug your kids, call your parents, and be free with your “I love yous”.

 

Dirk’s Slideshow

For anyone who wanted to see it (again, or for the first time), here is the slideshow that played at Dirk’s funeral. It’s long, but it’s good. Enjoy, because it took me like 20 hours to upload to youtube! 🙂

Remembering

One year ago today,  I lost someone.

One year ago today, I was a full 9 months pregnant, sitting in my rocking recliner and knitting a hat when Adam burst into the room with the worst news I have ever received.

One year ago today, our world turned upside down.

I still remember all of the phone calls I made that night – everyone answered with an excited “IS IT TIME TO HAVE A BABY?” – and I could barely squeak out an answer. “No. Someone shot Dirk. Please come over now.”

I still remember everyone sneaking glances at my giant belly, no doubt wondering if I was going to go into labor any second due to the stress.

I didn’t cry until three hours later, in my unlit kitchen with Adam’s mom’s arms wrapped tightly around me. I had walked around the corner for a glass of water, and ended up crumpling into a fit of sobs.

I didn’t sleep for three days. While grieving my own loss, I was also so concerned about my husband that all I could do in the middle of the night was listen to him breathe – I could tell the exact moment he fell asleep, because his breathing would change.

The next day we spent hours waiting for updates from the court, the troopers, anyone who could give us any information that was different from the information we got an hour before. To be honest, none of it mattered – it still doesn’t. It was just something to do, something to think about. Sure, the story unfolded a little more each day, but the man who shot Dirk went to jail that night, and his trial still hasn’t started.

The night after it happened, a big group of our closest friends stayed the night. We kept eachother laughing and crying with funny (albeit sometimes morbid) Dirk stories (“What? They’re donating his EYES to someone? Are they also going to give that person his 786 pairs of Costco reading glasses??”). We all slept in our living room, draped over couches and chairs and sprawled out on the floor – no one wanted to be alone.

Three days after it happened, I went into labor. I had a baby girl at 9:43pm. I thought of Dirk. When everyone left and it was just Ellie and I in our little hospital room, I cried and told her about her Grandpa.

When we got home, I sat at my computer with Ellie on the Boppy pillow, and I cried and breastfed while writing Dirk’s obituary. I went through three boxes of Kleenex while putting together the funeral program, scanning in old photographs and creating a picture slideshow for the 400+ people who would show up to remember Dirk.

Adam’s mom went out and bought us a brand new chest freezer, because so many people brought over home-cooked meals. I was mad at her for spending the money, but also I wasn’t.

Our dining room table was blanketed with floral arrangements – and I remember thinking about how it was almost impossible to tell the difference between the “death flowers” and “life flowers” – some people sent one of each, some people sent one or the other, and some people just sent one bunch with a confused card. Unfortunately, Hallmark doesn’t make a card that says,“Hey sorry for your incredibly sudden and unexpected loss but congratulations on your brand new baby.”

Two weeks after it happened, there was a funeral in Anchorage. I sat in the front row with my husband. I told him he didn’t have to get up in front of everyone if he didn’t want to (because he didn’t want to), but his Grandpa called him up onto the stage anyway. I stayed behind in my seat, but after Adam said two words in a lost, broken voice, I leapt up and sprinted onto the stage to hold his hand while he shed tears in front of 400 people. Because I was still recovering from my labor, blood leaked down my leg the entire time I stood on stage, and I silently praised myself for wearing black pants. I positioned myself slightly behind Adam, and I don’t think I breathed the whole time. I wanted so badly to say amazing things about Dirk, but my mouth wouldn’t open.

At the funeral in Talkeetna, when Dirk’s longtime friend and neighbor directed his entire heartwarming speech at Adam, I sobbed audibly and dripped tears onto Ellie’s little head.

People tell you “it gets easier with time.” It doesn’t. It doesn’t at all. One year later, the only thing that is better is my ability not to break down and cry and snot all over people when they ask me how I’m doing. (I still do it in private.) (Often.)

Despite the above paragraph, I won’t leave you with that sorrowful parting thought. Instead, know these things:

One year later, my relationship with my husband is stronger.

One year later, our entire family (his and mine - ours) has a closer bond.

One year later, we are striving to raise our daughter to be like her kind, wonderful grandfather.

One year later, we know Dirk is happy. He is with God, he is right where he wants to be, and he laughs at Ellie right along with us every single day.

 

One year later, we are okay.

Emotional Socks

When Adam and I found out we were pregnant, we decided to tell our families in a slightly special way… we gave everyone a greeting card, in which we simply wrote, “finally!” and included a tiny pair of baby socks.

It was awesome to watch everyone’s reactions, and I especially loved Dirk’s – he just broke out into a HUGE smile, and said “alright!” with his signature little chuckle. And then he squeezed me so hard I thought I might pass out.

When Adam and I began cleaning out his house a few months ago, it was no small task. Dirk kept so much crap that Adam and I simultaneously laughed, cried and sighed our way through the weekend. It took me a while to notice this, and I hadn’t even noticed this before he died… but when I looked up and saw this, I burst into huge, body-spasm sobs:

 

 

 

He would have loved her so much.

Happy Birthday, Dirk

Today my father-in-law would have been 54.

It is insane how often he fills my thoughts… I joke with my sister Amanda about how every time a damn Journey song comes on, I burst into tears – but really he’s ALWAYS in my head. And when he’s not, the reality of his absence quickly comes crashing back into me like a brick wall, and I literally lose my breath.

The other day Adam bought a really neat halibut rod for himself, and I laughed when I remembered that Dirk would have said, “Why didn’t you buy ME one? Dammit, Adam, when you find cool things and great deals, ALWAYS ALWAYS get one for me too. You know I’ll pay you back!”

Ellie has recently started doing the “indian call” where she puts her hand to her mouth while talking and it sounds like “aaabahbahbahbahbahbah”… and I laughed when I thought of how Dirk would have said, “oh be careful, you don’t want people to think she’s racist!”. I laughed even harder when Adam said the same exact thing out loud a few days later (he is definitely his father’s son).

Amanda is getting married in 2 days, and I tear up when I think about how Dirk would have loved to be there. He would have wanted to twirl her around in her beautiful white dress, and pick her up and hug her and tell her how beautiful she is. He would have wanted to strongarm her new husband and tell him to take care of her, or else. He would have wanted to laugh and drink beer and celebrate with everyone in the room.

Ellie and Talon and Emma are all 9 months old now, and beginning to crawl and scream and laugh and love. Dirk would have wanted to surround himself with our babies on a daily basis, and make plans for fishing and hunting and camping with “the kids”.

I think about Dirk every time I open my wallet and see my fishing license, because it makes me think about how we found 23 fishing licenses from years’ past when we cleaned out his house… he was ever the conspiracy theorist. “Don’t let the gov’t have your information! Keep all of your records safe!”

I still occassionally find a rogue pair of Dirk’s reading glasses at our house, in drawers or cabinets – or behind the couch, in this instance. He bought reading glasses in giant packs from Costco, yet could never seem to find any (probably because they were under the couch — hey Dirk, I found them!).

A few nights ago I made homemade baked chicken taquitos, and I smiled because I know Dirk would have loved them – and he would have raved about them and sang my praises to everyone he saw for a week (that’s just how he was). He also would have loved the simple fact that we shared them with a big group of friends – dinners at our house just aren’t the same without him.

Sometimes I just stare at our couch and picture him stretched out, relaxing after a long day at work… his stinky socks all over my couch pillows.

Whenever Adam tinkers around with the boat or something in the garage, I think about Dirk, and how he should be out there helping (and by helping, I mean telling Adam how to do it right while drinking a beer and asking if we have any food) (but really, he helped a lot too).

Driving in my car, my thoughts always turn to Dirk. I don’t know if it’s just because my mind wanders a lot when I drive, but I always end up crying when I drive by myself for longer than 30 minutes.

Whenever Ellie has a milestone, I wish I could tell him. Dirk, Ellie cut her first tooth today. Dirk, Ellie is almost walking! Dirk, Ellie loves smoked salmon. Dirk, Ellie loves being in the water. Dirk, Ellie smiles whenever she sees your picture, even though she’s never met you. Dirk… Ellie has already grown out of those baby socks, can you believe it?

Whenever I hear a Russian accent, I think of Dirk. (lol)

And yes, whenever I hear any song by Journey, I think of Dirk.

We miss you so much, Pops.

When the lights go down in the city
And the sun shines on the bay
Do I wanna be there in my city?

So you think you’re lonely
Well my friend I’m lonely too
I wanna get back to my city by the bay

It’s sad, oh there’s been mornings
Out on the road without you
Without your charms

When the lights go down in the city
And the sun shines on the bay
Do I wanna be there in my city?

When the lights go down in the city
And the sun shines on the bay
Do I wanna be there in my city?

-Journey, “Lights”

It’s called an “addition” for a reason…

When we decided to have a baby, Adam and I had many discussions revolving around what type of parents we would be, how we would raise our children – and most importantly, how our lives would change. We always ended up at the conclusion that our lives would basically be the same, just with extra little mini-Fasts worked in. We envisioned camping and hunting and fishing and softball and yard games and beer pong and lots of time with all of our child’s “aunties” and “uncles”. We knew that people who were important to us and a huge part of our every day lives would automatically become equally important to our kids, and everyone would be the same and life would be just double the fun with the addition of our amazing kid(s).

Boy, were we wrong.

As I’m sure everysingleoneofyou out there who has had a child before us ALREADY KNOWS … our vision was bullshit. Here’s the surprising thing to me (Adam as well): we DO still go camping and hunting and fishing, and we play softball and yard games and beer pong – even with Ellie around; we DON’T spend “lots” of time with our pre-Ellie friends who don’t yet have children.

B.E. (“Before Ellie”), we talked to our friends on a near-daily basis. B.E. we saw our friends on a near-weekly basis. B.E. our social calendar was overflowing, and friends freely confided in us their joys, heartaches and minor annoyances.

A.E. (“After Ellie”) is a lot different – obviously in so many ways, but specifically concerning our social lives, it’s so much more different than we would have imagined. A.E. we really only hang out with our two or three friends who have their own children. A.E. people are afraid to call us, confide in us or invite us to social events. A.E. our friends are nervous to bother us.

So… another Superwife PSA for you: babies are called “additions” for a reason.

Adam is still the same Adam – he is a hilarious, sarcastic, sympathetic, competitive, super-fun, loving and concerned husband, brother, son, grandson, nephew and friend. Now, however, he simply has another title to add to that list – father. I am still the same Jenny – a snarky, fun, sympathetic, adventurous, loving, honest and caring wife, daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece and friend. Also, I’m now a mother. See how that works? Those lists? Just got longer, not shorter. We added to our lives, we didn’t take anything away from them.

We still care about our friends. We still want to hear about your joys, your heartaches, your simple everyday wins and losses and annoyances. Remember when we were single? Treat us that way. No, we don’t want to go tear it up cruising for dates or anything, but we want to have the same carefree conversations that we’re used to. We are both perfectly capable of having a conversation that is not peppered with mentions of poop, spitup, laughing baby videos, etc. Pissed about something at work? Sick family member? Excited about anything? PLEASE SHARE. Having a baby did not make us any less enthusiastic about hearing from you.

Those movies that portray new parents as rude, harried jerks who only care about their baby are ridiculous. I will never tell you “Oh yeah? You think you have problems? Well try having a baby who keeps you up all night” – or anything of the sort. I will never blow off your life as trivial just because I have Ellie. I am still capable of having intellectual, adult conversations.

I know that naturally, people will move in different directions (or in the same direction, but at a different pace) and that will lead to distance. I know that we’re in a different place than many of our friends… but please, don’t think that just because we have a baby (or, because we lost a loved one recently) that we have changed so drastically. We still love all of the same things – with the addition of a baby.

Ellie is an ADDITION. In absolutely no way has she subtracted from anything. She has enriched every aspect of our lives – and we are both better people because of her. We’re probably MORE caring, MORE sympathetic, MORE sensitive to your emotions and feelings and friendships.

BABIES – They’re called “additions”… Remember that.