Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Good Dozen

That's how long J and I have been married.  A good dozen.

12 years ago this morning my mom dropped me off in front of the temple where we were married.  Throughout our  4 month engagement my mom would ask regularly, and with some incredulity, "Are you nervous, do you have any doubts, no cold feet at all?!" I would assuredly reply, "Nope, none, not at all.  Have never been more of anything in my life..."

As the car stopped and I looked toward the temple entrance, I knew I was walking more precisely toward my future than I ever had in my life.  My stomach filled with butterflies and I said, with my hand resting on the door handle, "Oh man I hope I'm making the right decision here."  As quickly as I said it--the butterflies went away. I opened the car door and jumped out, turning back for last instructions from my mom.  She had her head thrown back, eyes closed, and I suddenly realized that I had unwittingly triggered one of the greatest experiences of my childhood, her initially soundless, but momentarily erupting into her characteristic whooping, laugh.  It was soon accompanied by loud gasps for breath to sustain the whooping laugh.  I loved that laugh and worked hard to earn it all the time.  I didn't even realize I had done it this time, she drove away laughing heartily at my momentary "cold feet" outside the temple door on my wedding day.

It's true, you don't know someone as much as you think you do when you get married.  And you don't love someone as much as you think you can either.  I feel lucky to have experienced that expanded love that runs deeper and holds truer with each passing year.  I do know him better, and that has actually created more love.  He is more amazing than I ever imagined when I first said yes to marrying him.

It's interesting to me how in marriage, the low points feel insurmountable.  I wonder if we'll ever get past it, I let my mind go to places I know we are far from and let the weight of whatever we are facing press me down in despair and self-pity.  On the other hand, when things are good, we are smooth sailing, I imagine it will always be that way.  Real life is somewhere in between the two.  Days we just have to get through.  Decisions we have to make but don't want to.  Exhaustion. Four kids will do that, I s'pose.  Laughing.  Lots and lots of laughing.  Dreaming still, ideas postulated, hopes and desires for our future clung to or let go of as we see they aren't a possibility.  Four kids will do that, I s'pose.

I've told this story a dozen times, but I love the message I got from it.  When I turned 25 I really struggled with getting SO OLD and not having so much more accomplished in my life.  My how that has changed.  I genuinely praised myself for a solid 90 seconds the other day when the only quantifiable thing I accomplished was switching a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer before it got mildewy.  I probably can't adequately convey the immense pride I felt in that.

As I sat in my childhood bedroom (post-college graduation, enroute to graduate program) that day, crying and feeling sorry for myself, my mom slid a birthday card under my door.  Inside was a random selection of bills (I think it was like $68 or something like that) and a sweet personalized note from her.  She noted the "crossroads" I was at in my life and then said, "Life doesn't get easier, but it gets better." Those words weren't entirely comforting in my barely fully-developed brain.  I wanted easy.  But those words have become a comfort and my silent mantra.  Life HAS gotten better.  The joys, the rewards, the tender moments, more rich than I ever could have imagined.  The stresses, the worries, the "obstacles" bigger, more difficult to overcome.

I share this because, as I sit here nostalgically remembering the engagement, the wedding day, the early, idealistic wedded bliss, it's easy to think or make it sound like it has all been easy.  But also, saying things have been difficult or whatever else, makes it sound like it's been all bad or hard.  It hasn't been either, but it has been totally worth it. I love being hitched to this man.  I love who he is, who we are, and what we've created together.  

We've been on quite a journey in even just the last 2 years and it was bumpy at times, but at the end of every day, and this has never wavered, there is no other person I would rather our children call Dad. No other person I'd rather lay down next to at night and talk about my day with, or share my hopes and dreams with; there is no other man I'd rather be hitched to for life.  I'd call that winning.

And now for my friends who basically just skim for the pictures...

Us in the beginning....


Us in the middle...




Us now...




And a little bit of of what we've done along the way....


















8 comments:

Analiese Sorensen said...

Loved this post!
Should I tell you that I might get to see you soon????

Nobody said...

TELL ME RIGHT NOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!!!!!

Kim said...

Since your not on facebook, I will comment here. This is an awesome post. I love both of you and I am so glad that I got to experience the "Jay & Angela Show" for a few years in real life. You are good people. When I started scrolling the pics (yep, that's me) I thought #3 was my favorite, then I scrolled farther and farther....and I just loved them all. You are two of my most favorite and the kids are growing up into even more amazing products of the two of you! Love ya both. Happy Anniversary

Analiese Sorensen said...

Too funny. do you have an email address????

Nobody said...

angelared at gmail

Kira Dee said...

Love!

Carrot Jello said...

Happy Anniversary, and thanks for the pictures.

Heffalump said...

I love this post! Of course I pretty much love all of your posts, but still...