When we were babies, we said I do in a small historic chapel in front of 98 close family and friends. It was 10.16.1999.
We only conceptually understood the depth of the vows we were to take and at 25 and 26 life was simple, fun and we were in love. We had barely experienced life long enough to comprehend what would emerge as the years would unfold. Standing across from one another we had no appreciation for how meaningful and real the vows we would exchange would be. Babies in love we were. Ignorance was bliss.
We were babies who could barely comprehend the magnitude of creating a life of our own; had yet to purchase a car or home together and had yet to imagine adding babies of our own.
We were babies who jumped into the unknown abyss of marriage and life committed to one another with little more than a notarized paper, promises to stick it out through what life threw at us with love, appreciation, trust and until death do us part.
We were babies 19 years ago. I don’t recall our vows and I don’t recall the food we ate or the songs we danced to and I am certain Paul doesn’t either. We started slow and grew up. There were job losses and gains, new friends and new homes to buy and make our own. There were dogs to rescue and love upon. When the comprehension of children didn’t feel so crazy we welcomed boy one. There was another move, a bigger home and then another boy. There were so many years of joy as we grew up and continued holding hands falling down into the abyss we jumped into in 1999.
There would be promotions, relocation, a brain tumor and cancer. Life still moved ahead. The appreciation, respect and love grew through vicious ups and downs and we diligently worked to put our unique life puzzle together; because nothing worth working hard through comes with instructions.
One day at a time and together, day after day and year after year we would chose life over fear. We healed and we continued to grow up. We reached for hope, chose life in the face of cancer and our daughter, the overflowing bundle of joyful love made us a family of 5.
Birth certificates, animal vaccination records, expired passports, wills and healthcare advance directives have piled up on top of copies of our marriage certificate in our bank safe deposit box. The babies who exchanged vows, held hands and jumped into the dark life abyss are grown up.
We are parents and we are lovers and we are best friends. We are a father and a mother and a caretaker and a cancer patient. We are a family of 5 living in a home filled with joy, laughter and transparent honesty. We are hopeful, realistic and unapologetic in sharing our fears and our dreams.
We are growing up together with trust and appreciation and after 19 years, we are definitely babies no more. However, I cannot imagine a life better lived with anyone else. I cannot imagine a better partner to share in everything life has bestowed upon us even when we had a hard time recognizing the shit for diamonds in disguise.
We are still young, wild and bleeding hope, resilience and a fighting spirit. We are still falling together in the dark abyss of married life until death do us part. Hands clasped together, we will savor the ride, adventures, highs, lows and continue to refill any half empty glass we find.
Cheers to 19 exceptional years. Life is best lived by your side my dearest Paul and I appreciate you.