Fourteen years, love. Is this what you dreamed our life would look like? How about when we were young(er), when your punk rock hair was long enough to tuck behind your ear, when we wore earplugs to the show and permanent marker Xs on our hands and shared that sweatshirt and went to sit by the lake at dusk with Mountain Dew and beef jerky?
But that was before we were married.
Our first year of marriage I was foolish and headstrong, how a girl should be just one year into college, making her way and finding her voice. I wrote a lot of poetry in those days; you listened. You worked out your identity on canvas, in songs; I learned more about you from that one art critique session with the counselor than I knew before, more than I realized you were communicating. I wished I’d been noticing; I still do sometimes.
We talked about other cultures, we walked to class, we stumbled through our first years together with a messy grace, all that mattered was that we were together. You were patient, sensitive, supportive, listening. You still are. I’m still headstrong in some ways, foolish in others. But neither of us is the same.
Do you remember what we dreamed of then?
Whatever it was, I don’t think I imagined it this rich, in this much color. (With our boys especially, it’s also gotten just as loud as it was back then. Maybe we should find those earplugs.)
My husband and I celebrate 14 years today. (Yes, we did get married young, thank you for noticing.)
Fourteen years later, and I’m still learning things about him, still seeing things about myself through his eyes. He’s still teaching me how to love well, how to serve, how to lead, how to consider others.
And that this good man loves me and has devoted his life to me and our family, that we can dream together and laugh and he’s still my best friend even though we need to remind ourselves to have an actual conversation once in a while? Feels like one thousand dollars. Feels like I’m the luckiest woman alive and sometimes (all the time) I just have to step back and give thanks.
Fourteen years married and seventeen years together, and I’ve now been with you longer than I’ve been without you.
How will we be after 14 more years of knowing, of loving? So many things have changed. So many things will change.
But you and me? We’ll be in the same place we are today, the same place we were fourteen years ago. We’ll be holding on to the same thread that started it all, the one that matters, the start and the finish and the everything in between: Love. God gave us a wild and beautiful life, love, and your love has been the safe place to land, the reason we can go out and chase those dreams, together and separately.
Here’s to you, love. To us, to our beautiful life, to the years that are to come, whatever they hold. May we look back and see only love, love, love, love, love.