Monday, July 29, 2013

Eleven Years and Counting

As I am on the threshold of my eleventh anniversary I thought a little excerpt from my book would pay good tribute to our life and our love together. This is my story.

As I lay in bed with sleepy eyes and little motivation to rise from my slumber, I couldn’t help but
notice my husband still asleep next to me and think, “Why don’t I want to make him a special dinner, go on a date with him, or be romantic?” As I pondered these questions, I wondered, “What happened to our happily ever after?” It seemed like just yesterday that I was gazing at my ‘soon to be’ with total devotion—almost to the point of worshiping him. In my eyes, he had been perfect and so handsome. I had twirled in my flowing white dress and felt like a princess. I had smiled that everlasting smile, the smile that lasts through the wedding, the luncheon, and the reception. It was the kind of smile that made your cheeks hurt just as much as your feet. I had breathed in the beauty of that lovely day, and had let a tear roll down my cheek. I had thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. I had never imagined someone could love me so deeply, and I had never imagined those feelings would ever fade.

As the pace of life quickened, our waistlines began to expand, our hairlines began to recede, and the stress of life began to creep in. As our children joined our lives, our bed became the communal sleep fortress for our children and we forgot what it was like to have a solid night of rest. We would blow a kiss and holler an ‘I love you’ as we passed through the portal of our home. There seemed to be a constant time lapse between us and we could never land ourselves in the same place at the same time. My happily ever after was quickly transforming into a heap of work, and I found myself thinking, “This is not what I signed up for—this is not how I pictured happily ever after.” Then I realized, maybe this is what I signed up for and I just don’t know how to make my ever after happy. I began to wonder, if perhaps it is possible to have a happily ever after, even when my white picket fence is broken, my ‘beautiful’ lawn is dead, and my children are less than angelic. 

Family life is like riding the white rickety roller coaster at the amusement park, the one you are sure is going to tumble down before you finish the ride. Your journey begins when you make a commitment and jump into the roller coaster. It is so exhilarating to strap your belt on, clasp hands with the one you love, and begin the climb. As you get to know each other, you discover he leaves hair shavings in the sink and she leaves makeup powder on the counter. You climb to the first peak with butterflies in your stomach. You have no idea what to expect, but you hope once you get to the top, the hardest part will be over. It is both horrifying and thrilling at the same time. You roll over the apex and a nonsensical ride looms before you. You realize in that tiny moment it is not going to be the smooth coast to the end that you imagined.

Through all the ups and downs, twists and bends, you will eventually and unexpectedly find yourself back at the beginning. You will be left where you started with only the two of you in your slowing cart, thinking to yourself, “What a ride!As you survey the panorama of your life while squeezing the hand of the one you love so deeply, you will find in the end you are an entirely altered person, a better person. You are better because you held tighter when things were hard, you sacrificed, and you let love overpower all obstacles. You are delighted you jumped in the cart so many years before and realize your happiness wasn’t found in your destination but rather in the crazy ride.

I have found my happily ever after is doing dishes with my husband and simply being happy to do it, sliding down a mountain on my bum and ripping a hole in my pants while my husband laughs at me because I’m too scared to walk down. It is watching my kids splash in the pool, their deep, carefree laughs filling the air. It is waking up Christmas morning to a house full of balloons, or lying on my husband’s shoulder feeling safe and protected. It is the joy that engulfs me when my family knows I love them, and the peace that comes from knowing how much they love me. This is not the ever after I imagined years ago, as the satin folds of my white sparkling princess dress twirled around me and I was lost in my husband’s brown eyes. Nor is it what I imagined during our short honeymoon bliss. This is better because this is real. 

Happy Anniversary Hon! This is my favorite ride! 

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