Happy Anniversary.

Today is a very special day for my family.

Twenty-four years ago, two people declared their love, said their vows, and walked through the doors a young, married couple. Their love story began years before and even survived through a war. Their story was exciting and now they were going to embark on their biggest one yet. Nine short months later, they brought home a baby girl and then sixteen months after that, a baby boy. As their children grew, they were able to teach them what true love really looked like. Even through the ups and downs, they were there to support each other because true love never fails.

Everyday of each year they would make sure to give their children everything they could, but they also taught them something special every seventh of November. Their anniversary was always their big day. They could take those twenty-four hours and make it the best they could for each other. No matter how many Sweetest Days or Valentines Days they missed, their would always be presents on their anniversary. If not presents, little getaways where they could really focus on each other. This taught the children that love really is special and worth it once you have it.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, I’m of course speaking of my parents; Jensen’s grandma and grandpa.

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Last year for their anniversary, I gifted them with little football booties and a grandparents sign. It was the moment we could all freely talk about the little life growing inside of me with all of us knowing. Of course, mom and dad already had known, but Logan did not. I can just see the pure joy in their eyes when I recall that moment. The little football booties sat in their bookcase for the longest time (we had to put them up because of their puppy dog) and the sign is still there. Everything felt like it was on track, that life was going how it needed to be. I remember thinking of how Jensen and I were going to be able to make them their gift the next year.

From then to now, a lot has obviously changed with me, but their love has carried on.

I’m sure this year has been one of the hardest on them. With the mix of grieving their grandchild and not knowing how to help their daughter, it has to be complicated for them. They helped so much during my pregnancy with getting things for Jensen and helping me finish my house. Every time my dad would talk, Jensen would listen intently. He would kick then when he started talking he would stop then start back up again when my dad would finish. When he was born, mom and dad were there and they got to see and hold Jensen. They protected my heart, helped me plan his funeral, and have supported me through my grief and Anthony leaving. No matter how hard it has been for me, they’ve been right there.

There is no way I could thank my parents enough. My whole life, I’ve only ever known my parents being in love. Of course there were hard times, but love prevailed. It really helped me know what kind of relationship I wanted to strive for. They are able to lean on each other and support each other in parenthood. No only that, but as I just said, they’ve made me the person I am today. They both made me want to be the as amazing as they were to Jensen. I wanted to give him everything I could, just as they did. They are my mentors, role models, and most of all my loving parents.

This year was different from I thought it would be. They still were given a handmade gift from me and I even think Jensen put his little touch on there; a smudge that looked a lot like baby angel wings. Instead of holding Jensen, Jensen bear was held and loved on. We were able to talk about the past, the future, and of course Jensen. I wish he would’ve been there, stealing the show and in some ways he still does. There was the obvious missing piece, but there we were. Able to smile, cry, and celebrate their twenty-four years of marriage and all that comes with it.

Happy twenty-four years of marriage, Mom and Dad. You’ve given me the very best and I know how much Jensen loves you both.

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Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens.

Sometimes in the grief, I just want to scream and give up. It feels like there’s only glimpses of relief, only to be shut down again. Relief is a tricky word to use. I’m not devoid of all my pain and sorrow in the glimpses, just I can breathe.

There weren’t a lot of times this week where I could really breathe. Anthony started his new job this week and was gone for the majority of the day; leaving me with the cats, grief, and work. Being left alone during the raw moments of my sadness is scary. There’s nowhere to turn or no one to ground me when I want to rip my hair out. At his new job, Anthony can’t pick up his phone when I call sobbing; and this is only week one.

To celebrate his first week at his new job, and for me getting through the week in one piece and mentally okay, we decided to go on a little retreat. Well, more like Anthony bought tickets and I halfheartedly said I would go, scared to breakdown in front of everyone and afraid to disappoint him.

Retreat – a quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax.

Our secluded place was Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in Akron, Ohio. Secluded because there were probably hundreds of people there and three weddings going on while we were there. Thankfully our tour only had two other people in it. Ironically, Anthony and I relax around the hustle and bustle of museums and history.

Quickly, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens was the home of Mr and Mrs Seiberling and their six children. Mr Seiberling was the co-founder of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The tudor revival home has, around, 65,000 square feet, an indoor swimming pool, and a huge music hall. It’s absolutely stunning. They had a lot of money, stories, and love for their family. The estate echoed all of these when you walked into each room (well we only went through 30 of them), discovered each garden, and learned more and more about the couple. The Gate House on the property is also where Alcoholics Anonymous was created. Just a little Akron history for you all.

After our tour, we retreated to the gardens. The smell of roses and running water was constant everywhere you walked. It was such a hot day, but with the shade and water, it really didn’t feel as miserable as it should have. I personally loved the English Garden. It reminded me of a secret garden where Mrs Seiberling came to relax and get away from it all. It was truly a retreat. At the other side of the reflection pool was a women and cherubs. Little angels were all over the estate. It was lovely.

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