8 Years ago today, I anticipated this date being the best day of my entire life ever after.
It was the day I married my best friend.
Our love looks a lot different on us now than it did 8 years ago, which happened expectantly.
Back then, it was sunshine and possibility.
Now, it looks more like a dream of countless responsibilities come true.
I think I must have figured at the time that we would face both the good and the bad times together strong and fearless, but that forever this particular date would be perfect and sacred. I thought perhaps that September 29th would be a perpetual day of all said responsibilities standing still so we could stop and reflect for a moment on puppy love, butterflies, rainbows and butterscotch candies that skipped down the aisle with us on that fateful day in 2001. I thought maybe that life would just take a break for the day, and we could turn the answering machine on and sit for awhile, and remember when...
Today, September 29th means so much more to me than it ever did back then. Its not such a butterfly and rainbow colored day anymore. The answering machine is full of daycare calls, Dr appointments, and bill collectors. I spent the last 2 years running and working off the butterscotch candies, so I'm sure as hell not eating them now, and the puppy love grew into a giant black lab that barks at all hours, poops the size of Everest, and eats remote controls, Lego's, and paychecks alike.
Its still the 8 year anniversary of marrying my best friend, yes.
But now it stands for much, MUCH more as well.
Its also the 2 year anniversary of the passing of a very dear man who happened to be the father of my best friend from childhood. He taught many of my classes throughout high school, but beyond that, he was also a coach, a chauffeur, a birthday party host, a minister, and a father figure to many besides myself. Because of this alone, it will always be a sad spot on this date, and also an opportunity to celebrate his life and the life that lives on thru the amazing family he left behind.
And just last night, on our 'anniversary eve,' I got a frantic call from my dear friend and neighbor, Kari. On the way home in the dark with her 2 precious girls in the backseat of their SUV, a deer jumped out in front of them on the freeway. There was no time to do anything, and she plowed into the beast going 70 mph. The airbags deployed, the tires exploded, the bumper and the deer are definitely goners... but our beloved Hammies are alive and well and without a scratch. I can't explain the feeling of seeing those little hands waving to me in the dark from the safety of the back seat of a patrol car. I cant express the gratitude I feel toward God in his heaven for allowing it not to be an ambulance. I can't begin to fathom having to tell my kids that something tragic happened to their little best friends (and mine!) on their way home that night.
But in a way, I am thankful for the entire experience because it reminded me in this very chaotic time of my life how fragile we really are.
It reminded me that we tend to build up certain days or events in our minds and hearts to mark momentous occasions.
But in actual reality, each passing day is a gift and a challenge that will change us and the way we love the people around us for the better if we let ourselves take in the pain and the sweetness alike.
This is how we become seasoned. This is how we appreciate the beauty and new opportunity of each day.
That is how we experience true love with our spouse, by being available as best we can in the midst of these changing experiences that happen all around us, no matter what day of the year it happens to be.
So on this anniversary of my wedding day, I must say, I am as thankful as ever that I married my best friend. Not in a giddy, silly, sunshine and possibility kind of way, but in a deep and seasoned, committed and real way.
I feel I am only beginning to understand the phrase 'better with time.'
8 years is nothing compared to the amazing journey of the joy and sorrow of life that lies ahead.
I love you, Tyson!