I remember sitting in your driveway in your hunter green Jeep–the one with the gas cap that never closed–the summer after our senior year in high school. I knew I’d marry you one day, but that day seemed so very far away. And now, here we are celebrating nine years since the day we locked eyes down the aisle and began this journey called marriage.
We have crammed much life and adventure into those nine years. I remember our move to Memphis and the many trips to Sheridan’s for Grasshopper shakes those first few weeks. I remember when our food budget was $25 a week, and we lived on pasta bake and Totino’s pizza. (I also remember when we had the metabolism of twenty-two year olds.) I remember moving into our first house and repainting our walls a dozen times, sometimes twice in the same weekend. I remember when our dining room table was where we threw our bags after work because we ate dinner on the couch every night.
I remember going on lots of cruises because as far as vacations go they were pretty inexpensive and once you remembered your passport and muster station you didn’t have to think about much else for the week. I remember fajitas on a beach somewhere in Mexico and that talk where we decided we were ready to grow our family.
I remember waking up to take a pregnancy test on a cold January morning and that very first positive sign. I remember hearing that beautiful heart beat and going to Mississippi to tell our family, and I remember my heart breaking in the bathroom at Barnes and Noble as I feared the worst. I remember feeling the cold tile floor in the kitchen and hearing the sound of the ambulance sirens and the pain of that silent ultrasound. I remember several months later going to the movies and not saying a word, just gripping your hand until my knuckles were white, after our second trip to the hospital and a second silent ultrasound.
I remember the first time we heard, “It’s a Girl!” and the first time you held our daughter. I remember club sandwiches and Sprite every day for a week because that’s all I wanted after delivery and because you wore that green shirt that was the exact color of a Sprite can.
I remember looking at each other in church one January knowing this adoption thing was about to get real. I remember coming home that day and sifting through adoption packets and falling in love with those brown eyes on the information about Ethiopia. I remember writing a blog one night and being shocked to see a positive pregnancy test the next morning. I remember fingerprints and home study appointments and piles of paperwork. I remember the day we were officially DTE, the day our long wait began.
I remember calling you from the doctor’s office telling you I was in active labor and my doctor wanted me to get to the hospital immediately. I remember wondering if you were going to make it in time because this baby was coming so fast. I remember your grip on my hand as you announced to me and the world, “It’s a Girl!” and the look on Lydia’s face when she saw her sister for the first time.
I remember sleepless nights and bags under our eyes and lots and lots of coffee for you and tea for me. I remember learning how to discipline and train and raise these kids we’ve been entrusted with. I remember thinking this lesson will continue for years and years to come.
I remember realizing how badly my control issues were hurting us and having to confront some ugly parts of myself. I remember your forgiveness and our marriage becoming stronger than ever.
I remember crossing the finish line in January at the end of 26.2 miles and locking eyes with you. I remember whispering in your ear, “We did it!” because you were the one who believed in me on days when I thought it was impossible.
I remember calling you scared to death because I had just gotten a positive pregnancy test, but I hadn’t been on the progesterone like I was with our girls. I remember the email back from our adoption agency where we realized we would now need to move because we needed another bedroom after baby came. I remember that walk around the lake where you told me we would do whatever it took to bring our child home.
Laced throughout those moments, I remember learning how to pray–truly pray. I remember Scrabble games and date nights and watching lots of football. I remember some epic arguments, both of us incredibly stubborn. And I remember learning how to say I’m sorry. I remember learning that the romance movies have it all wrong. Love isn’t about kisses in the rain and serendipitous timing. Love is a choice, the daily choice to choose we instead of me. The choice to grow and stretch and learn and become and embark on this adventure God has given us together.
For nine years, you have wrapped flesh around the words for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. And in loving me and forgiving me and believing in me you have made me more like Christ.
I love you more than words could ever convey. To the moon and to many more…