And so the bear dances as the hubs and I celebrate our fifteenth year; our crystal anniversary. We were engaged for two years, prior, while I decided if the institution of marriage was where I wanted to be. We weren’t even adults when we met; teenagers. My eldest son noted he is five years away from the age when his parents found each other. Yikes. At that time, it wasn’t clear to me if I even wanted to be tied down to someone. I had places to go, people to see. No guy was going to stop me.
Crystal clear. To be obvious in meaning; easy to understand.
It is with this person that allowed me to go to the places I’ve gone; to see the people I’ve seen. God is winking at me today because my dear friend, in Virginia Beach, sent me a random text with her smiling face. She has taken the photos of us, our growing family. We worked at The Atlantic Group and as I prepared to fly home, for our wedding, she quizzed me on our wedding preparations. She is a wedding photographer; after all. God winked at me, again, as the text came from the Midwest; my bff recounting the craziness. She also flew in as she stood by my side. It was the craziest Labor Day weekend, ever, and as hot as the forecasted triple digit temps we are currently experiencing.
The girls in our wedding party are still close to my heart. The bff in the Midwest; my two childhood girlfriends; both godmothers to my sons (one I met for camping; the other teaches jr. high), my girlfriend who passes me in her SUV (who brought me to the city I now reside and helped me deliver my youngest son); my cousins who will soon be, possibly, making vows of their own, my dear sister-in-law and, finally, my 21 year old flower girl/niece.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. NIV.
Whenever I see the above verse I think of our wedding vows. This was read during our ceremony. There have been times when I have questioned the wisdom of these words as I watched relationships dissolve. I wondered if love could really conquer everything: distance, health problems, financial stress, substance abuse. I used to believe that marital bliss was measured by reaching the milestones; the tangible trappings that proved you were happy. The flowers, the anniversary bracelets, the getaways.
I was wrong.
I, (name), take you (name), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part. It is in for worse that my focus became clear; crystal. It is in the laying down of self, in sacrifice, in faith, in the belief of the power of love, that truly defines the strength of a relationship; depth of character.
- The handwritten letters sent from foreign countries with origami shapes.
- The hand that held mine as I buried my mother.
- The tears of joy as we cradled each of our sons; swaddled after birth.
- The fear as we sat alongside hospital beds; praying for better outcomes.
- The rock who has shielded me; even against his own flesh and blood.
- The quiet presence that balances, my loud. The yang to my yin.
- The worry for our future as we transition into the business.
It is when you experience the lows that you can appreciate the plateaus and peaks. In my lowest days; it is my mate who balances me and vice versa. Our relationship continues to evolve and I am always amazed that I can still learn something new. The little details are the ones that matter. It is not in the diamonds or roses (although I’m not opposed to receiving them LOL) that gives me security. It is the quiet presence of my partner who makes me complete; most of the time.
We will always have our quibbles; our differences. But it is these things that make life much more interesting and allows our relationship and us, as individuals, to grow. I thank God, especially today, that I have reached it. I am blessed.