I admit it. I get a little mushy and sappy when I talk about my husband. I sometimes feel guilty when I do because I don’t want people to think I’m always bragging on him, but he really is pretty amazing. Now that doesn’t mean he is perfect . . . we have our share of disagreements and he can drive me crazy some days, but I always know how lucky I am to have him. My husband and I have not lived an ordinary love story. From when we met to the joys and challenges we have faced together – our story is unique. Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite . . .
That’s how old we were when we first met. Yes, we were just babies. Our parents were close friends and used to lay us together in the same crib. We have known each other our whole lives . . . we grew up together. You used to spend the night at my house with my brother. You would take the heads off my Barbies and annoy me every chance you got.
That’s how old we were when we realized we wanted to be more than just friends. We spent the day at the beach and stopped at Dairy Queen on the way home. We were laughing and eating our ice cream cones when you kissed me for the first time. I got ice cream in my hair, but we didn’t even care. We were inseparable after that.
That’s how old we were when we got married. You were my best friend. We walked down that aisle dreaming of our happily ever after. We were young and naïve and thought we could conquer the world as long as we were together. We were dripping with young love and perpetual optimism.
Back then love meant chocolates and flowers and stolen kisses. Love came easily and passionately and there were stars in my eyes and butterflies in my stomach. Love was simple and life was easy.
Little did we know how our story would unfold and the hardships we would face together. . .
That’s how old we were when I had a miscarriage. It was early, yet we were still shocked and devastated. I was rocked with the fear of never being able to carry a baby. You were the one who lifted me out of my gloom and promised me that—one way or another—we would have a baby one day.
That’s how old we were when our first son was born. You were there with me through his difficult birth—a constant voice of calm and reassurance. We both cried when we saw him, all red and puffy, and we thought he was the most beautiful baby in the whole world. I stumbled into motherhood and made lots of mistakes along the way but you loved me through the colicky nights, the spit-up in my hair and the constant breastfeeding.
That’s how old we were when we found out we were pregnant again. That’s also when I started bleeding and we rushed to the doctor, worried that we were having another miscarriage. I remember lying on that exam table praying God would protect our baby and we would see a heartbeat. The tech looked worried and stepped out of the room to get a doctor. My heart was racing and I was expecting the worst. I remember you holding my hand and telling me everything was going to be OK. The doctor came in and went over my ultrasound. Then he asked me, “Do you want to know how many babies you are having?” I looked at you, completely confused and baffled. “You’re having TRIPLETS,” the doctor exuberantly announced as he pointed out three beating hearts. Words cannot express how shocked we were and I started sobbing uncontrollably from the relief of knowing my babies were OK and from the fear of having three babies at once! But you . . . you just had the silliest, biggest grin on your face. You took such sweet care of me as I grew three babies and you kept on loving me through the weight gain, the eight weeks of bed rest, the fears, and the emotional ups and downs that come with a high-risk pregnancy.
That’s how old we were when our triplet boys were born at 32 weeks and had to spend three weeks in the NICU. They came into the world fast and furiously and didn’t slow down. We loved them fiercely! I was scared and nervous about caring for our four boys all two and under, but you were there with me every step of the way. . . getting up for midnight feedings, changing diapers and rocking babies. The nights were long and we would grow weary and snippy at times, but you were always there—loving me through the stretch marks, the sleepless nights, the dirty house and the greasy hair.
That’s how old we were when our three-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer—one of our triplets. You met me at the hospital that day and as the doctor gave us the news, you squeezed my hand. I couldn’t breathe. I was completely devastated and overwhelmed with fear and anger and sadness. We cried many tears together that night holding our baby and we understood that life as we knew it would never be the same again. Yet, you continued to love me through the long hospital stays, the late-night tears, the set-backs and the constant prayers.
That’s how old we were when our son passed away. Our hearts were forever broken that day. You and I were joined together in our grief, each suffering in our own way. These were our darkest days. Yet, you held me tight and never let go. You loved me through the constant stream of tears, the crushing pain and through every stage of grief. You loved me when I pushed you away and thought I wouldn’t survive another day. You prayed with me each night as we both clung to the promise of Heaven and seeing our son’s sweet face again one day.
That’s how old we were when we flew to Guatemala and adopted our daughter. Adoption had always been on my heart and was something I wanted to do and you jumped right on board with me—always supporting my decisions and crazy ideas. I remember holding our daughter for the first time and completely falling in love with her—and watching you do the same. She was a burst of sunshine in our lives and has been ever since. I hope she always knows how lucky she is to have you for a role model . . . to teach her how a man should always treat her. Thank you for loving me through the paperwork, the long wait, the nervousness and fears that all come with adopting.
That’s how old we were when we watched our oldest son graduate and go off to college. We sat in the car both lost in our sadness as we watched him walk into his dorm. You took my hand that day as we drove home and we wondered how we got here to this stage of life so quickly. You understood how hard it was for this momma to let go and you did your best to make me laugh with your corny jokes.
That’s where we are today. That’s when I realize just how lucky I am to have you as my husband as I look back on our life together. You have always believed in me and in us. Love isn’t about chocolates and flowers and it definitely isn’t easy.
Love is holding onto each other when life gets messy.
Love is always supporting your spouse.
Love is self-sacrificing.
Love is doing hard things.
Love is knowing all of your flaws.
Love is honest and kind and patient and encouraging.
Love never gives up.
Love is a life-long commitment.
Love is long back rubs and bringing you coffee in bed.
Love is bear hugs after work and admitting you are wrong.
Love is understanding each other with just a glance.
Love is sharing laughter and tears.
Love is unbearably difficult and complicated, but always worth fighting for.
I know our love story is unique, filled with the greatest joys and the deepest heartaches—but it is ours and I cherish it.
Life has thrown us more than our fair share of surprises, hardships, tragedies and extraordinary days. From a miscarriage, premature babies, triplets, cancer, loss of a child, adoption and the normal everyday struggles with finances, moves, four kids and work . . . we have faced so much that could have easily shattered our marriage. Yet you have been my rock, my cheerleader, my best friend through it all. You know me better than anyone else—all my imperfections, my insecurities, my fears—yet somehow you love me anyway. I am my best me when I am with you. Each life experience has brought us closer and strengthened our relationship—and for that I am so very thankful. I do not take your love for granted and always know what a priceless gift it is. Life is tragic and messy and chaotic and beautiful, but you have always loved me. . . never letting go.
Our love story is not over and I know there will be more joys and challenges ahead of us. But we will face them as we always have, on our knees and hand-in-hand. By the way, I still get butterflies when you wink at me from across the room and I thank God every day for you, my husband, that lives this crazy life with me and loves me so well through it all.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8