Friday, June 8, 2012

Ten years

Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 (NIV)

When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?
I want to tell you about me and my wife. My name is Scott, her name is Kristie. We are exceedingly average. We met in college. I was a sophomore helping out with her freshman orientation. Other than the quirk of it being the same college and the same age difference as my parents, there is nothing remarkable about our origin story. I proposed a few weeks before I graduated, we married a few weeks after she graduated. That was ten years ago today.

June 8, 2002.
We grew up in similar families in different parts of the same state. We are oldest children in families of five. We have three children, all sons. The oldest turned 8 in April, the second turned 4 in March and the youngest just hit 16 months Wednesday. They are the absolute best things in the world to happen to us as a couple and we love them in ways we never imagined. But that doesn’t make us any different from any other parents or families. We are just us, and that is wonderful.

We have never been seriously sick. We have never been tremendously wealthy. We did lose a fair amount on an ill-timed house purchase, but the safety net of family kept us from tragedy. We go to work, pay our bills, send our kids to public school, go to church on Sundays and try not to spend too much time watching TV. We say, “I love you” and mean it. We also know how to drive each other crazy.

Our greatest skill as parents seems to be the ability for one of us to keep an unnatural sense of calm if the other has lost all patience. We try to make sure our anger, when it inevitably arises, is directed where it belongs and not at each other.

I wash most of the laundry and fold it and then struggle to actually put it away in the right drawers. We do not openly complain when one of us loads the dishwasher the wrong way. Even though neither one of us can go a store and buy everything on the list, we’ve managed to never run out of toilet paper. We agree on the thermostat. We somehow manage to each be the biggest cover hog.

We have known each other for nearly 14 years, and that means we grew up together. I was 19 years old. Less than six years later we were in a hospital holding our first baby. It was utterly conventional and yet wonderfully timeless. Love songs on the radio still make me think of the girl I fell in love with so many years ago, even if the most romantic thing I have done lately is surprise her with a bag of fancy bagels so she could have them for breakfast the next morning in the car.

I am looking at pictures of our wedding day, though all I need to do to remember her smile that day is close my eyes — I have never forgotten the look on her face or the feeling in my soul that sunny day. I am not sure why she ever agreed to go on a date with me, why she was willing to talk with me in the wee hours of the morning or what made us fall in love. If everything in my life happened in order that I might one day come to understand she is the person I should marry, that she would make the perfect wife for me and a remarkable mother for our children, then I thank God for paving the way that we might find each other in the right place at the right time.

I am absolutely certain I would not be the same person I am today had I not pursued her, had she not reciprocated, had we not committed to forever. When I thank God for my blessings, her love tops the list. I simply cannot imagine my life playing out in any other way, and I am all kinds of emotions (thrilled, relieved, amazed, flabbergasted and so on) when I realize how lucky I am to have everything I ever wanted.

I hope this feeling never ends. I would gladly freeze time today, with our boys happy, healthy and at home. I know that’s not possible, but I am OK with that because I am excited about the chance for us to continue to grow. I know we can deepen our relationship as we walk the path of parenthood together, as our family dynamic evolves and changes. I want more than anything in life to always be here for her and for her to always be here for me. As long as we are us, we will always have everything.

I want, ten years from day, to look back on these words and think about all I learned leading into our twentieth anniversary. In twenty years, when our nest may be empty, I want to be proud of the children we raised. In thirty years as we consider retirement, I want to take her on the vacation of a lifetime. In forty years I expect those kids to throw us the best anniversary party ever, and I want to be surrounded by our grandchildren, who most surely will teach me an entirely new way to love.

But those are all dreams. Today is reality. And today I will take my wife in my arms, kiss her cheek and tell her I love her and tell her how lucky I am that she loves me. We will hold hands, glance back and gaze forward and think about everything that happened, everything that could happen, because we found each other. To everyone else, we might just be two people in their early 30s going out for dinner. But I’m here to tell you, we’re the luckiest people in the world.

A prayer for June 8:

Lord, I thank you for my wife. I thank you for allowing us to find each other. I thank you for the blessings of our children. I pray that we continue to strengthen and support each other, to sustain our relationship and to work together as parents to give our children everything they need. On this anniversary day I am overcome with gratitude for everything, everyone I have. I cannot sufficiently thank you for these gifts. I am humbled to be so loved. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment