My beautiful bride is upstairs either konked out or feeding our brand new baby boy, Jack...I know this because those are the two things she does now! If she were doing anything else she'd be in big trouble with her doctor (me). She does not know I’m writing/posting this so I hope she’ll still have me after she reads it ;)
This is my first ever post on www.benandnicoleshea.com. I thought it fitting that my first ever post commemorate Nicole and I’s two year anniversary (08.13.2011) and the birth of our first son (08.08.2013). Describing this first two years of marriage is simple yet difficult. How do I put into words such an experience? How can I not put it into words? I thought I’d share with you two lessons I’ve learned; one on Husbandhood and one on Fatherhood.
HUSBANDHOOD (though I was not yet a husband) – The place was Filomena’s Restaurant in Georgetown near Washington D.C. Nicole was visiting me from Chicago while I was training in Quantico, VA. Nicole will tell you that I absolutely cannot keep thoughts or secrets to myself. Well, this night was no different. I knew, without a doubt, that I loved this girl and I HAD to tell her! We walked into the restaurant, past the ladies making pasta in the window, and waited in the bar area for our name to be called. Why wait I thought! I had rehearsed my 9 minute speech a hundred times…At this point Nicole stepped in and proposed a toast. She said, “Here’s to a fun night.” A fun night I thought?! ”Nicole, I have a better toast. Here’s to me falling in love with you. I love you Nicole.” So that wasn’t exactly how I planned it but you have to adapt and overcome right?! I still nailed the punch line and surely she would reciprocate a mutual feeling. (insert awkward pause). (insert Nicole laughing). (insert rejected boyfriend). NOTHING! Just a laugh. The rest of the night consisted of awkward conversation, lots of trips to the bathroom and Nicole’s sea bass that unknowingly came with the head still on. Not even THAT could break the ice!
While her lack of response to my outflow of emotion landed a momentary blow to my confidence, I was not deterred. With persistence, she would be mine. And it turns out that would not be the only time she laughed in response to a VERY important moment…but that is another post for another time.
Lesson 1: Marriage takes honest, open communication and persistence in the face of challenges.
I’ll let Nicole tell you about the first time she told me she loved me!
FATHERHOOD – God blessed my wife and I with a
young man on August 8th at 0602 in the morning. Fatherhood is here, ready
or not! My first 5 days of Fatherhood have been quite a show ;) I'm
reminded of my first ever night live fire exercise at The Basic School.
Each 2nd Lieutenant shooter is paired up with a Sergeant Instructor.
The Instructor is glued to the shooter, ensuring that they stay in their
lane and stay on line with the group. The shooters begin moving forward,
engaging their targets on command. It was during this evolution that I
learned that sometimes you need work on certain areas of your life. We
had just completed our movement to contact drill when the Sergeant turns to me
and with pristine bearing and tact says, "Sir, with all due respect, you
are the most ungraceful Lieutenant I've ever seen."
Grace or Un-Grace?
Well, Fatherhood feels a bit like that. Exhibit A...my first ever diaper change (really my first ever!)...It began like any normal diaper change but normal, for a Dad who has never changed a diaper, is still undefined. Like any good planner, I had all my gear strategically placed near the victim (my son). Diaper - check, reusable wipes - check, spray bottle - check, pee-pee teepee - check! I even had my overwatch established 5 feet away (wife in bed) with clear line of sight to provide supporting fires if necessary. It's go time! So I unstrap his diaper and immediately the fog of war kicks in. All I see is black, literally only black. I can already tell this is going to test my determination. I regain my composure. "C'mon Ben, you've been waiting for this moment your entire life!" With a fearless swoop, I dive in...Not only is it black but it has the consistency of NADs body wax! I had only encountered a substance like this once before in my life and it involved 15 4th grade boys, a sleepover and 1 double dog dare...And it did NOT end well...Still, I'm a Marine. I can handle this. I do the only thing I know to do...press on. All the while, my overwatch is providing praise, encouragement and progress reports. And all the while, my son is losing his precious mind. Now I reach for the pee-pee teepee and secure it over the victim's penis. After about 10 minutes, I've managed to remove the black from the victim. Surely the end is near...then I hear the overwatch, "Ben, he's peeing, Ben he's peeing, Ben he's peeing in his mouth!" Dad's beware, this pee-pee teepee thing is bogus. To the manufacturer, may I suggest an elastic strap to wrap around his butt to hold the teepee in place! Jack shot that teepee straight into the air and his pee made a perfect arch right into his mouth. I didn't stand a chance.
It did end. I cleaned the pee out of my son's mouth, secured the diaper, swaddled him tight and then crawled in bed next to my overwatch for a little much needed rest and recovery.
Lesson 2: Sometimes Fatherhood is ungraceful...who cares!
HAPPY 2 YEAR ANNIVERSARY NICOLE!