Wedding anniversaries: much like the relationships they celebrate, these yearly markers change over time. Pre-kids you might go all out to remember and cherish your wedding day and how far you’ve come as a couple. Post-kids you might be content just to settle for a couple of hours of quiet time.
My husband and I recently celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary and I couldn’t help but laugh at the differences between then and now. For our first anniversary, we spent the weekend at the Sand Pearl Resort in Clearwater. For two days we lounged, strolled on the beach, drank wine, and relaxed in luxury. The memory of our Las Vegas wedding was still fresh in our minds and we were still basking in the thrill of being newlyweds.
The second anniversary was the one that set the bar pretty high. After months of secret planning, my husband surprised me (several months in advance) with the news that he had booked a trip to Ireland for ten days. For more than a week we celebrated our nuptials driving through beautiful Irish countryside, drinking Guinness and Bulmer’s in local pubs, and experiencing the best trip of our lives. The topping on the (post-wedding) cake was climbing the 2,500 foot Croagh Patrick. Although completely unprepared for the intense trek, mastering that mountain brought us closer together as we stood at the summit and witnessed the breathtaking view.
By our third anniversary, I was newly pregnant which means I was tired all the time. After our adventures in Ireland the year before, and my difficulty keeping most foods down, a simple dinner at Cracker Barrel was great with me. Bring on the chicken n’ dumplings and I’m one happy wife (pregnant or not).
Once kids enter the mix, especially while they’re still young, it definitely changes things. Suddenly, a night out means finding a babysitter and, while they’re still infants, a new mom may be more reluctant to part with her newborn. I can’t really remember whether we did anything for our fourth anniversary since my daughter was only four months old. For a new mom who’s breastfeeding, dipping into your pumped milk supply is not something to take lightly.
This year was a bit different. Now that Bailey is a toddler (really?), it’s easier to cash in on the babysitting offers from relatives. The reason we don’t cash in more often is because we just love spending our time together as a family. With both my husband and me working full-time and Bailey in pre-school, our hours with her are sadly limited.
So for our five year anniversary we decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner out. We called in the grandparents for babysitting duty and headed to our favorite local restaurant, Italian Kitchen Cafe. As the first restaurant that fed us when we moved to Riverview, it’s long held a special place in our hearts. The food is incredible, the service is always top-notch, and the ambiance is warm and welcoming. The only drawback (if you can call it that) was that the food was delivered so quickly and devoured just as fast that the grandparents had a valid complaint that we didn’t stay out long enough. We enjoyed our meal, talked, and had a great time together. There’s something magical about having a hot meal and being able to eat it at leisure.
Of course, we did end the night with a rousing trip to the grocery store and a stop at the Red Box. I have to assume we’re not the only parents (new or veteran) to squeeze in a practical trip to the store while out on the town. Hey, we were trying to give the grandparents a little extra time and it was nice grabbing snacks without having a toddler trying to break free of the cart seat belt.
The point is, the way you celebrate your anniversary may change over time – especially once kids are involved – but it’s important to take the time for yourselves to recognize that it’s still a special day. Even if all you do is watch a romantic comedy on the couch, spend the time together. It’s easy to get caught up in being Mom and Dad, but don’t forget you’re also still Husband and Wife.
How have your anniversary celebrations changed since having kids? What do you do to keep it special?