"Good morning, beautiful, how was your night? Mine was wonderful with you by my side."
As the song ended, you spun me for the last time and quietly whispered that you couldn't wait for the day you could say those words to me.
August 9, 2003 was beautiful and everything I wanted it to be. We were young and in love. Since I'm a music girl, I spend much of my life thinking of different lyrics, from different songs, that relate to us. The beginning of our marriage would relate very well to the lyrics from one of my favorite artists,
"Don't you worry there my honey, we might not have any money, but we've got our love to pay the bills."
I remember after we said "I do" and shared our first kiss, we snuck into one of the classrooms at church, and like young kids in love, we kissed and giggled, until one of our groomsmen accidentally walked in on us (sorry about that). Yes, we were young and in love.
But unlike most marriages, ours wasn't perfect from the start. Or maybe, we are just one of the only ones who will admit it? Instead, we both openly know that our first year of marriage was hell. Yet, at the time, no one knew that. We both went on with our separate lives, both working full time and going to school full time. Anytime either one of us would get the question asking us if we are just loving our first year of marriage, we would pretend it was wonderful. Often unknown to the person asking, I would answer that it was wonderful, only to later break down in tears. I was pretty sure we wouldn't even make it to a year.
Yet somehow, by the grace of God, we both survived that first year. You loved me despite me being immature and selfish. Each time I threw my ring at you, you showed your love for me by loving me back even when it was the last thing you wanted to do. I know all these years later we've been open and honest with each other and others about that first year, and we can laugh about it now, but there was a time when it was not funny. When I was picking out your anniversary card this year (I know, shocking that I actually "bought" into the card industry as I normally hate it), I opened up one that made me kind of laugh and I almost bought it because as corny as the lyrics are to this song, I'd say it applies pretty well to us after we got out of that first year.
"Looks like we made it, look how far we've come my baby. We mighta took the long way, we knew we'd get there someday."
Just getting through year one was a miracle, and without a doubt our hardest one yet. That doesn't mean that the following nine years have been all smooth.
Year four brought about a daughter and if we thought we were selfish before we had kids, we were in for a rude awakening with the birth of our Zoelle. We had to learn how to parent together. When it seemed as if the rest of the world thought I was crazy for breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and co-sleeping, you supported me. You may not have even understood it all at that time, but you supported me. I'm not sure you'll ever know how much that meant to me, but it did, and it made me love and respect you all the more.
Somewhere in there you became the self-employed owner of two businesses. One who is an incredibly well respected man in our community. It used to be that when we'd go out together, I was the outgoing one always stopping to talk with people. Now, it's the opposite! You are always introducing me to various people who are singing your praises for the work you do.
Once Meridian came along, we continued to learn to work together in this thing called parenting. I'm pretty sure we've both failed miserably, but somehow where one of us fails, the other succeeds. And there is grace. Lots of it. Towards each other when we somehow fail, and towards our girls.
You held my hand through two labors and deliveries. You dealt with months on end of my never ending, all day sickness, during each pregnancy. You did all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry for nine months straight for not just one pregnancy, but two.
But, if there is one moment that sticks out in my mind as a life changing point in our marriage, it is one from during our adoption journey. When our adoption failed, I wanted to crawl into bed and never get out again. To give up on parenting and our marriage. You could have walked away then. You could have told me what a ton of others did, "Well, it wasn't really your baby" "At least it happened before you had the baby in your home", but you didn't. Instead, you silently crawled into bed with me and wrapped your strong, muscular arms tightly around me and held me as I sobbed over our failed adoption. The only one who could truly understand how hard it was for me, perhaps because it was just as hard for you. No one else knew, but you did, and I didn't have to say a thing. Three years later, I still tear up at that memory. You truly showed me in that moment how you are here.
"Tomorrow morning if you wake, and the sun does not appear, I will be here. And I will be here when the laughter turns to crying."
You've loved this little girl that wasn't "supposed" to be yours. At least not through birth. Yet, you've loved her fiercely and tonight I watched as you just marveled at Xiomara singing to you. Just this weekend, a friend mentioned to me how awesome it was that our girls love their daddy so much, and I proudly declared what an awesome dad you are to these three little girls God has given us. He could not have picked a better man to give three girls to. Gentle, loving, and kind are the words I'd use to describe you. Traits that our girls will rely on and need in the teenage years to come.
These last few years of being in the thick of parenting three, beautiful, precious girls have been some of the most beautiful and some of the most difficult. After all, little girls can be complete drama. And loud. And tear filled. And did I mention loud?!? I can never imagine going through it without you as you balance all our girly hormones, and I'm going to need you in the years to come.
"When you're getting to the end of a hard day and you're thinking it's a long way home. When you're thinking that you're just plain crazy, because you're on your own. Just think of me."
Outside of that hellish first year (I can call it that and know you will agree), this past year has been a tough one for us. We've dealt with business stuff, with the challenges of raising our three girls (who seem to be a bit like their mama in the passionate department), and I sunk into one of the lowest points I ever have this past year. I know that in my lowest of lows, I really hurt you. If someone would have told me ten years ago, that I would have hurt you in that way, I would have laughed in their face; and yet I did. I'm sorry. I know I've told you it before, but now, it's a part of our story. Through those sad times, I remember listening over and over to Pink, and singing the lyrics,
"Just give me a reason, just a little bit's enough, just a second we're not broken, just bent and we can learn to love again."
It hasn't all been hard. Oh no, with you there are a ton of laughs! It's one of the biggest things that I love about you. I'm pretty sure my life would be dull without you. I mean, what other guy can equally tease me about my Adam Levine crush, to the point where you find pictures of him just to hang on my fridge and make me laugh by writing something funny on them. Heck, you even willingly went with me to a Maroon 5 concert! You go with me through my crazy, "Oh I love this song phase", and you laugh at my quirkiness and passion for random different things, that you call my butterfly moments.
Also, I'm probably going to embarrass you by saying it, but dang you are hot! I won't reveal which friend texted me one day after her hubby saw a picture of you on Facebook, and declared, "Da*n you Christopher, you are the best looking DH (dear husband)!" I laughed so hard, all the while realizing how true it is. I am a lucky woman!
So here we are, 10 years down the road and I can honestly say that the words to our ultimate love song, ring true for us.
"Forever can never be long enough for me, to feel like I've had long enough with you.
Forget the world now, we won't let them see, but there's one thing left to do.
Now that the weight has lifted, love has surely shifted my way.
Marry me. Today and everyday.
10 years later, I'm not naïve enough to think that the next 10 years will be wedded bliss, but I can tell you that if they are years of more *almost* wedded bliss, I will stand in wonder and in awe of God who has made this marriage into what it is today. For if it wasn't for Him, we would not be standing here today, August 9, 2013 saying "I love you and Happy 10th Anniversary" to one another.
I love you!
P.S. Did you really think I'd get through this without linking to a Maroon 5 song?!? ;) Just for you Christer, "whether times are good or bad, happy or sad, let's stay together."