Today marks thirty-three years of marriage to a man I have been in love with since high school, making our time together account for thirty-six years of sharing our lives together. With that in mind, I would like to dedicate today’s post to the man I fell in love with, grew in love with, to where we now understand what true love is.
Happy 33rd Anniversary David,
I look back at that moment in 1976, when our eyes met, as we smiled at one another from across the high school halls. Days passed as the smiles continued until my heart sprang from within causing me to ask you a silly question. From that moment on, I have not been able to stop sharing my deepest thoughts, my fears, my silly moments yet most of all, my tender heart.
The only time in life, that you took something without asking, was the moment you stole my heart. Unlike a thief who takes without warning, leaving a mess behind, you gave me the most valuable gift that I have ever received, which was your heart filled with love and devotion.
Things I admired about you back then and even still today, are the reasons I knew you would be true. Your heart was focused on what is lacking in todays culture. You had a love and respect for your parents that taught values that were important to me. This alone, is a pure example of how a man will treat his future wife. In addition, you valued relationships, and had a strong desire to take care of me.
Your love for your mom was ever so powerful, as you lovingly called her “Lep”, her nickname for Leprechaun, due to her being a redhead, slightly height deprived, spunky lady. You could always count on her for honest advice and direction. And the love she had for you began its cascading effect, as you poured your love out on to me.
Your dad was a quiet man with wisdom and talent you could count on. He provided you skills in maintaining a home, teaching the craft of using tools and wood. He taught you, that when you invest yourself into a project, not to do the work haphazardly, but rather giving your best to the project. Somewhere along the line, he also taught you how to treat a lady with unconditional love, respect and devotion.
Our dating years were special and didn’t seem to fly by as the years do today. It was as if time stood still as we spent the next few years discovering who we were as individuals as well as a couple. We drove our parents crazy as we spoke for hours on the phone soon after you having dropped me off and with you arriving home. Whether we were driving around, hiking, canoeing, walking, etc., we never seemed to be short on words as we talked about our day and our future dreams. Yet, when the words were silent, it was as if the silence spoke our thoughts for us.
The pain of my childhood soon displayed its ugly face after dropping me off one evening from a date. What you saw was family shame, what you didn’t know was that it was the first time I fought back and said “no more”. Our time together gave me strength to start becoming the person I was meant to be. I did not realize the extent of your pain from, what you saw, until your mom asked me what happened. I cried for you as I had learned to no longer cry for myself. Yet, self-doubt was a learned behavior that caused me to fear losing you.
From that moment on, our commitment to each other grew even stronger to where I soon found myself wearing the ring you picked out for me. As we made our way towards finding our own place and becoming a working couple, engulfed in life, we soon discovered (by your mom asking) that we hadn’t spoken the vows of our relation. Within months we had the plans for the wedding planned and our vows written, as I completed my dress to walk my way towards you as your bride. It is a moment I will never forget and always cherish.
As we took the journey down that aisle, in 1980, our family and friends watched and witnessed our commitment to each other and in the sight of God. I still remember that day as if it was yesterday, with the new pastor being more nervous than we as he forgot that we had our own vows and had us recite the traditional ones. As Dianna sang, and he leaned forward to ask if we still wanted to say our own vows, we were both in agreement that it was important for us to share in front of others, what we had already written down from our hearts.
Thirty-three years ago does not seem all that long ago, yet in that time frame we have traveled the course of time with trials and challenges. The early years were of discovery as we enjoyed the freedom and fun of our new life together. We moved multiple times from MA to ME then here to NH, all within the first six years of our marriage. As the children arrived, the adventures of determined love were that of a roller coaster at times combined with smooth sailing moments with romantic adventures. It was also the time in which the challenge of being a mom, not to replicate my own, that brought us through the most challenging climb together.
Determination, devotion along with your authentic love brought me through what I was so afraid to face in fear that the past would be their destiny as well. It is a known fact that most often the past repeats itself. I was determined not to be a statistic. I could not face life if I caved into the belief that I would not be able to stop the cycle. It was with God’s grace, God’s strength, your support, your desire and passionate love for me that held me up when I couldn’t take the pain any longer. With that, I thank you for wearing the life jacket that kept me from drowning, and standing by me as I completed the healing process.
The most precious gift of our love was the blessing of having three daughters. One month early, Heather entered our world causing us to experience our first of many moments as parents, in where we immediately learned to always expect the unexpected. Holly allowed us a little more time, yet still two weeks early, teaching us that the past is not the predictor of all similar situations. Her illness that almost took her to Heaven was eye opening in the realization that life is too fragile. Then Jennifer, our miracle baby of love, not an accident as some had assumed, arrived three weeks early, teaching us that love is powerful and healing.
It was not only in their birth, but the parenting experience, that we were able to see their personalities develop. We saw their wings expand as they made new discoveries. From reading and sharing made-up stories to when they took their first book in their own hands, we saw their minds continue to consume every word that was read in every book they could get their hands on. Hiking and camping taught them about nature and the comfort in exploring beyond their backyard. Your Father/Daughter fishing dates were moments of pride when they brought home their first catch.
Homeschooling allowed us to experience their minds work as we allowed them to participate in the planning. Remember the Trips to all the covered bridges with Holly and the project she put together? Amazing!! And the self-developed history program they designed of taking one century and researching for hours, then presenting in an organized manner, on events and people who made an impact on the United States? That lesson alone taught them how to study, what it meant to be a part of our country, along with time management and organizational skills.
College years caused the most pain as we found that to let go, meant that the wings that were developed over time, taught our daughters to believe in themselves and fly, yet also meant that we had to trust what we taught them. As each daughter left, the task of letting go became easier. We found ourselves seeing the colorful and sparkling beauty of their wings as they took flight. The world is full of challenges and people that can shatter their hearts. Yet, we have seen that they are able to pick up the pieces and carry on, with the compassionate hearts for others still intact.
We have much to be proud of as a result of our children. Heathers love for music and children who needed someone to give confidence in their ability to succeed academically, found her passion. I love seeing her face light up as she talks about those she is helping through her passionate commitment. Holly’s studies and love for young people and animals through photography is allowing her passion to shine through in her photographic art. Jennifer’s love for the young through high school has filled her heart with a desire to see them find their own voice, so that they have the freedom to be the person they are meant to be in life.
Yes, we were strict, we taught them faith, values and manners, as well as what it meant to be respectful and hard working. There were times it was hard to be tough, because we refused to cause pain. Yet being tough while providing them boundaries, gave them something that we knew would be harder to learn later on as they departed into the world on their own. In this, they are each successful young women who are confident, honest and sincere that radiates their inner beauty.
Despite the trials, I have been blessed beyond words with you as the man who God intended for me. As a team, we brought our daughters into this world, from infancy, their college years and now as they each take on their lives as adults. The trials give us strength and hope for our children. They are witness to a love that grew daily with strength from the inner most part of our hearts, which will provide them encouragement when they have trials in their own futures.
I love ALL our memories together. My heart skips a beat every moment I think of you as it puts a smile on my face. My giggles are a result of how young you make me feel. My compassion is a result of understanding. The laughter is what fills my heart with joy as we laugh at life, the silly things we did when we were young, and the humor that fills us as we tease each other about the aging process or the funny things are girls say and do.
My passion and love for you continues to grow each day I am with you, as my heart continues to leap every moment I think of you. My love for you is tender yet committed and strong. May we continue to hold hands, make out as if we were teens, love at all hours and live every moment as if it was our last moment together.
Happy Anniversary David ❤ I love you “…forever and always will be our love.”