Mike and I met the first night of college. While it was not love at first sight, over the course of our freshman and sophomore years, we developed a friendship and close bond over our Long Island roots, our love of Billy Joel, and the similarities in how we grew up. In our junior year, we began dating and we have our foundational friendship to thank for our strong marriage today.
After five years of dating, we married in July 2012. Our wedding was an amazing night where our family and friends showered us with a crazy amount of love and a ridiculously fun party. It was the start of a beautiful journey through marriage. During the first few years as newlyweds, we grew professionally (Mike as a bridge engineer, and me as a teacher and school administrator) and continued to learn about who we were as individuals and a couple. When we decided to try to grow our family, we had no idea that our biggest challenge was right around the corner.
Through our struggles with infertility, we found a strength and bond within each other that we did not know existed. As scary and dark as our fertility treatments and failures proved to be, as we came out on the other side, we discovered an unconditional love, respect, and admiration for one another that we relied on to survive 4.5 years of trials and tribulations on our road to becoming parents. This challenge has shown just how unbreakable we are as a family and has prepared us to take on the uncertainty of raising a child with confidence and, at the very core of it all, unconditional love.
Mike is a very interesting guy. Upon first meeting him, one would have no idea just how far and wide his hobbies and abilities truly span. Since graduating college, he has skyrocketed through his company from an intern to an Associate Vice President and New York Structures Section Lead, where 65 engineers of varied ages and experiences report directly to him. His work ethic, intelligence, and leadership has brought him to unbelievable success in his career at a very young age. But that’s just scraping the surface! Granted, I’m a little biased; but beyond his career, Mike excels at everything he sets his mind to. A few years ago, he decided to start running and quickly pushed himself towards 5Ks, then 10Ks, and then multiple Half Marathons. He taught himself how to play the guitar as a teenager, the piano as a young adult, and now spends his free time in our basement making all kinds of music. On the weekends, he works tirelessly on various house projects, whether it’s renovating our bathrooms, landscaping, or simply cleaning up around the house. Mike is a Renaissance Man in every sense of the phrase.
Above all, Mike is a kind, kind man who would do anything for me and our loved ones. Our happiness is his number one priority, and he makes me feel loved and appreciated every single day. I am so lucky to have a husband who can do it all, no matter what kind of day at work he had, and always with a smile on his face. His sense of humor is what made me fall in love with him, and he continues to make me laugh from the moment we wake up until the time we go to bed. He makes me want to be a better person and pushes me to reach my full potential. I would pick him every single time.
Having met in college, Rori and I have both had the awesome opportunity of watching each other grow into the successful adults we are today. Watching her initially grow as a classroom teacher, go on to get a double masters in literacy and building leadership, and eventually lead a school as an assistant principal for five years has been extremely impressive and a proud moment as a husband. And it certainly does not end there. As she moves forward with her second to last semester of her doctorate degree, she continues to work full-time as a teacher, attends our evening date nights at the gym, and is often found watching an Ina Garten video as she plans her next meal for friends and family. Rori has a passion and natural talent for cooking, and it goes without saying she loves to host loved ones at our house for dinner. After she’s had her fair share of hosting, it’s out and about to experience life. Rori has a sense of curiosity about the world outside that often has her researching our next family vacation to a place we’ve never been, planning a brief weekend getaway to get a glimpse of history, or grabbing tickets to the next local concert or comedy show. (Emphasis on the comedy show! This girl has a great sense of humor and loves a good laugh; even if she’s laughing AT me…)
Rori has always been and always will be a teacher at heart. Rori is able to provide direction to those she cares about (in and out of the classroom) in a way that shows how truly interested she is in making sure those around her succeed. Rori takes enormous pride in her work, but when she gets the chance to wind down her first choice is to spend time with family. Whether we are spending time with her brother’s family and our lovely niece and nephew, or grabbing a quick bite to eat with her parents, Rori has taught me an extreme amount about what it means to take a moment to enjoy the presence of those you care about.
As much as I have seen Rori grow over the years, what initially drew me to her has remained constant which is her relentless strength as a woman. Not only has she helped me through some of the toughest times of my life; Rori cares about our family in a way that I would never have dreamed I could say I am a part of. With my own eyes I have seen Rori take such a calm approach to listening to the hardships of others, while still struggling with challenges of our own, and she does it without a flinch. There is not a question in my heart that Rori will be a strong and loving wife for as long as we live, but it is her natural ability to become an amazing mother which comforts me whichever way our journey as parents comes to be.