*All photos taken by "New Image studios," Raleigh,NC
I remember it like it was yesterday. The day was not nearly so cloudy as it is this day. And yet, in the end, it rained.
This morning, while I sit on my couch resting my body with a belly full with our fourth child who tosses and kicks, reminding me of the beginning of beautiful things...
I sit here and direct our three little men in their chores, from this couch.
I scold from this couch. I snuggle from this couch.
This couch that we first purchased together 8 years ago.
We had to exchange it 3 times before we got one delivered unbroken. We used wedding money to buy it. We bought leather.
It was one of our first big decisions together and we knew then. We wanted something that could withstand life together.
We wanted a couch that could handle all that life might throw at it and look better for the wear.
We wanted a couch like we wanted a marriage.
And that's what we got.
It did rain that day.
Right at the hour we were to be walking down the aisle, it poured.
Not just a drizzle, but a downpour.
I suppose I could have taken it as a sign that I should be forewarned and run away from rain and towards the shining sun.
But instead we prayed.
And, while we prayed, it stopped raining. And later, I was so glad for the rain.
Because all of those bugs in the grass that had been eating me up when I had previously walked the farm grass where washed away,
and the heat was cooled, and it ended up being a refreshing rain.
Not a ruining rain.
Turns out, the rain really made the whole thing so much better.
I waited for the moment.
I hadn't really been waiting for it for long. I had only met you 6 months earlier. We'd only been engaged for 10 weeks.
But,really, I had been waiting my whole life for you.
Even though I wasn't even always sure I wanted to share this life with someone else.
Once I had battled with God. Once I had realized that every single person in my life that I couldn't live without out had been chosen and given TO me. I hadn't chosen them. Once I realized I was being given a gift and I'd have regretted not taking it for the rest of my life. Once that happened, I couldn't be yours soon enough.
And 10 weeks was forever.
This guy had been preparing me for accepting crazy love all my life.
This woman had been showing me how to give crazy love all my life.
So when it came from you, I could recognize it form a mile off.
That real, authentic love.
The kind that was willing to see my worts and blemishes and still stick around.
Shoot, you'd about promised to marry me on our second date.
The one where I barreled you over with my drill of, "So, why are you hanging out with me? Cause let's not pretend you wanna just be my friend."
You only stumbled for a moment. And I think that was just the shock of my floodlight hanging over your head in a dark room, strapped to a medal chair.
I didn't know it then. But I wasn't going to be able to bully you like I could so many.
You could handle it.
You came back with an honest answer, full of care,commitment and sincerity...and you hardly knew me.
But you weren't afraid.
And you still isnaren;tt. Not when I'm still a bully.
Not when life has gotten hard. I've been hard to live with. Not when we've failed.
You just dig your heels in harder and love crazier.
So that this guy can have no regrets.
So that my daddy can be proud. Can be sure that he did the right thing in handing me off, sharing me with you.
When I'd been his forever.
God had graciously given me a special kind of love from before I had breathed my first breath. Two people had made me feel like I was valuable.
Mom and Dad, just so you know...
I would never have said, "I Do" if he hadn't made me feel just that same,familiar feeling.
He did. And he does. And you've both seen it for the past 8 years.
You did the right thing in raising me, and handing me off, and letting us start a new life together.
Just like you two kids had done in that old run down Alaskan lodge all those years ago. You could be sure that we'd love each other that way I'd seen you love. Our life may look so different in circumstance then yours did. We may face things you never did, but we were ready to make two lives become one. I've seen you do that for 33 years.
The moment I had been waiting for had come. Time to make a promise. The biggest promise I would ever make. It was easier to make then it would be to keep. But I went for it anyway,
knowing I couldn't fully grasp it's weight, so I wasn't gong to try. I'd just try to be in this moment completely and trust God for the future.
And they watched.
After that, our lips met for the first time.
And they've been meeting ever since.
You're my lover. You're my very best friend. Sometimes I can't fathom how so much of my life could have happened without you and yet you are so much a part of me. You are literally made for me. It's crazy, this marriage thing,isn't it? People all over the world,pairing off, supposedly forever. It's like the most intense game of dodge ball ever. And you picked me. And I picked you. What an honor we've given each other.
Two people looked at one another and said, "I'll take him" and "I'll take her," and we meant that we'd be team mates for this thing called life.
And if I had it to choose again, I wouldn't just pick you.
I'd be giving all the other girls bloody noses, elbowing them our of the way, tripping over my own feet, desperately reaching to be sure that you didn't even have a chance to be on anyone else team. I'd be SURE you were mine.
That's how the past 8 years have made me feel.
I thought you should know.