Around one this morning we were awakened by Maggie’s cries of, “Mommy? Mooooommmy??? Where aaaare you??” coming from the stairs. After the aimless wanderer was fetched, her only explanation being, “I just love you,” the teething 13 month old woke up and could not be pacified. After finally getting Lils back in bed and catching a few hours ourselves we were again awakened by Mags calling, “Mommy!!” from her room, again waking up the baby and eventually ending in all of us sleeping in one bed together, a sight I’m sure was glorious to behold.
So, this morning when we got simultaneous “Happy Anniversary” text messages right as Lily woke us up with with demanding shrieks, presumably for “food, and NOW,” Vin rolled over and said, “Oh, hey! Happy Anniversary!” To which I replied, “Is it everything you though it’d be?”
And we laughed, because that’s probably the most important thing we’ve learned to do in four years of marriage. Sometimes you just have to laugh at the situation.
And sometimes you have to laugh at The Situation.
These things are necessities.
So is forgiveness. Before we got married I randomly read an article in Guideposts magazine about a couple who had been married for something like sixty years. They were, of course, asked what was the secret to their marital success and I’ll never forget what the wife said. She said you have to forgive each other for a thousand things every day. That is an absolute truth.
We’ve learned so much in the past four years. We’ve been places I don’t think either of us ever imagined, some of them places we don’t necessarily want to return to. We’ve struggled. We’ve fought. We’ve learned and are still learning to communicate. We’ve taken gambles and completely flopped. We’ve seen those flops transform into really exciting and joyous beginnings.
We have witnessed firsthand the miracle of landing on our feet, however long the fall might take.
We’ve realized that a successful marriage isn’t something two people do alone. They need a community of supporters to remind them that a marriage is something worth fighting for. They need the example of friends and family who are in it for the long haul, too. They need to know that it’s possible to get past all of the garbage that both husband and wife bring to the picture.
Tomorrow morning, Vin is whisking me off to Chicago for the first trip we have ever taken away from the kids. I’ve only ever been away from Maggie for three days and Lily and I have never been apart. My mama heart gets a little weepy over this, but I’m reminded of a discussion Vin and I had shortly before we married. I maintained that the husband/wife relationship had to be the first priority in a family so the children would be well taken care of. Vin said the kids had to be first. Ironically, the moment I became a mother my ideals shifted. I’ve put the children first since the first moment I heard Maggie cry. And while being a deeply devoted mother is an incredible thing, I know I’ve neglected my best friend in a lot of ways.
And yet, here we are.
That’s why today, I’m so grateful for my husband. I’m grateful for his patience, his friendship, his stupid fart jokes. I’m so thankful for his encouragement of all my endeavors. He really believes in me, which is the greatest gift ever. He’s challenged me and called me out when I needed it. He’s held me when I’ve sobbed over heavy things and trivial things. He’s tried valiantly to fix girls’ hair and learned all the words to princess songs. He’s made me a mother and a better woman. And I know that none of this happened by accident, that God has put us together for a purpose.
Thanks for marrying me, Vin. Four years and 3.5 kids later, you’re still the man of my dreams. I love you.
All of these photos were taken by Nicole Gatling at nwdphotography.com. Check her out, she’s wooonderful and a good friend from college. 🙂