Monday, February 14, 2011

Everyday is Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine’s Day! And it’s a big one, not only because it’s our first as a married couple, but in the three years Mark and I have been together, it’s our first Valentine’s Day actually together in, not only the same country, but ever!

Due to Mark’s job, he’s usually is in the Caribbean during the winter months, so we just forego the holiday all together. Instead, I usually make plans with my single gals and we nosh on bottomless-baskets of tortilla chips, sip margaritas and entertain ourselves with the Spanish-only speaking servers.

So here it is. The very first Valentine’s Day I get to celebrate with a significant other … and we have no plans.

As a little girl, I LOVED LOVED LOVED Valentine’s Day (probably an early sign of my sugar addiction). I loved the red and pink (obviously). I loved the candy and cookies. I loved searching for the perfect Valentines to give to classmates. I loved the class projects leading up to the big day. I LOVED Valentine’s Day!

As time past, and with no boyfriends, I became a bit jaded. Although at my root, I am not a flashy person, and most likely would be a majorly embarrassed, I secretly wished I had someone who would send flowers to my high school on that special day.

In college and the years following, I started to enjoy Valentine’s Day again. Rather than focusing on the fact there was a lack of quality men in my life, I was grateful I had amazing girlfriends to spend it with. And it’s a save bet we had WAY more fun than we would have had with boyfriends.

And now, I have an amazing man who gives me anything I could want or imagine just because. But more important than any gift, is that we actually, truly enjoy each other.

When Mark and I first started dating, we were apart more often than together. We never fought or got upset with each other because we didn't want to ruin our real-time together. Later in our relationship, we had to learn how to fight appropriately. But we took something very important from those first months … we still believe our time together is precious.

It’s corny, but Mark and I really get to celebrate Valentine’s Day all year long. Some days are a little less pink and rosy than others, and flowers and dinners out are always a nice, butI believe our time together is more appreciated than most. And I believe that’s what Valentine’s Day is really about – slowing down from our busy lives and appreciate those in it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

They're Coming to America ...

(You have the Neil Diamond song in your head, don't you?)

I haven’t written in a while, and although I had another post started, something more interesting came up.

Due to recent events, that hit a little to close to home, Mark and I have decided to begin the process of applying for his green card.

We talked about applying right after we got married. As you know, with my schooling and Mark’s line of work we barely squeezed in a honeymoon before Mark had the boss on board in the Bahamas for a few weeks. (If you didn’t know, travel is suggestively forbidden while a green card application is under process.)

Long story short, Mark and I met with an immigration lawyer this week.

I have no doubt in my mind Mark and I will pass. However, to have to allow the fate of your marriage to be decided by a government agency, someone who, no matter how much information or how many wedding photos are in a binder, doesn't really know us.

Until Tuesday, I didn’t know Mark’s favorite color, and until Tuesday he didn’t know mine. I did know how Mark loves waking up early, having the first cup of coffee, going to the pilot house to check emails and just enjoy the quiet – on the boat and on the sea. Mark knows that my dog is my most prized possession. He knows my weaknesses are sugar, diet soda, reality TV and Dachshunds. We both have fat days, we could spend all afternoon at the dog beach, our families are very important to us and we struggle daily with submitting to God.

As the process continues, I will chronicle what I can. It’s a weird feeling to think we have to defend our marriage.

I know the immigration agency is doing their job. And I am grateful, since I wouldn't want just anyone in this country, and I sure as hell don’t want the Sacrament of Marriage to become causality to the immigration process.

I know the immigration agents have a tough job and I don’t envy them. To help them out (hopefully!), Mark and I have started on the mound of paperwork (and the remembering!) as well as collecting every scrap of paper, every card and every piece of evidence we have that not only do we have a marriage, it’s a real marriage.

After all, happy, healthy relationships aren't about favorite colors or what country we are from. It’s about knowing that obstacles are just hiccups in the long run … and that’s exactly what we are in it for.