I met the man of my dreams at age 17. He however, was not yet convinced that I was the girl of his dreams, at least not for a while. Four things cemented my surety that he was the one for me in record time.
1. He had the kind of eyes I'd only read about in my Harlequin romance novels. You could get lost in them. They had the power to make me feel like I was the most beautiful girl in the world. They still do.
2. He kissed me for the first time in a closet wearing a toga--it was the best kiss I'd ever had, and to this day it remains untouchable. It might have been the way he held my face as if I was precious, or it might have been the way I felt perfectly safe with him (in a closet at a college toga party, a week after meeting him). Either way I will never forget that kiss.
3. He is the first (and only boy) to ever sit by my bed and help me through a night of drunken sickness. It wasn't pretty. I am sure I smelled like the worst kind of gross. He never made me feel dumb for asking for him to come and sit by my bed (when I barely even knew him and wasn't even officially dating him) or for smelling like poo. All I know is that he was there for me when I needed him.
4. He is the only person who can make me laugh, cry, scream in frustration, shake my head in confusion, feel like the prettiest girl in the world, and keep me grounded and safe, while giving me wings to fly. He is my biggest fan, my greatest cheerleader and my inspiration. No one has ever come close to accepting me for who I am like he has.
Today marks 29 years we have been married. I was in love with him for four years before that. Clearly I have been with Mike longer than I have been without him. Looking back on the day we took our wedding vows I really had no idea what through thick and thin even meant. Sickness and health, yeah I understood that part. Love, honor and cherish should have been a no brainer as well. Thick and thin....who knew?
Our time together hasn't always been rosy. Let's be real, you don't start out as kids and end up as parents, then over fifty grown ups without a few rough patches. I married my best friend at 22. Our oldest son is 22, I can't imagine him getting married now. Heck, I can't imagine us getting married at that age. I wasn't even fully formed yet (thus the rough patches). I changed. He changed. We changed. We grew apart. We grew together. We had children. Things got busy. Then busier. Then our children grew into teenagers. Things got very hard. Soon many of those things you think are never going to happen to your kids; happen. Your world is rocked. And either you find a safe place to land together or you split.
Some people we know didn't make it through the tough times. Some stayed together for the kids. Some stayed together for the kids and then split. And some are still just going through the motions.
Yet some, like us, survived the storms, came out stronger on the other side and are loving the chance to explore life together again.
I remember people who said we would never last when we first started dating. At first it scared me because I thought they might be seeing something that I didn't. And then as time went on I knew that the truth was that no one was seeing what I could see. No one made me feel the way Mike did. No one accepted me for who I was, loved me anyway, and somehow inspired me to get up each day and be a better version of myself.
I cannot really remember life without Mike. I do not want to contemplate a future without him. I am my own person and he is his, but together we are a unit, a team. Unstoppable.
When I am down, he is strong and reminds me that I am enough. When he is down I am there to let him know that he means the world to me and to remind him that he is the best person I know.
He snores. He tailgates. He saves way too much stuff. And he also fixes everything and anything. Perfectly. He cares for everyone around him, is always willing to help someone out and knows the exact right thing to do in any situation. I love him dearly for being my rock. And for making me laugh like no other (sometimes at him). Most of all I love him for knowing me better than I know myself most days....
I am blessed to be his wife, best friend, and mother of his children.
We are blessed to be better together than we ever were apart. There isn't a day that goes by that I am not thankful for life with him by my side and also for our children--our boys and our almost daughter--and the many others who allow us to "parent" them from time to time, our loving and fun families, all our friends and our adorable grand baby.
Happy 29th Anniversary to the man of my dreams. I have loved you since I was 17 and didn't really even know what that meant yet, and I will love you forever. I hope we have 29 more years to grow stronger together.