The phone rang, shaking me from the pseudo-sleep I’d been drifting in and out of since my alarm went off about 30 minutes prior. “Happy anniversary,” said my mother-in-law on the other end. Oh yeah. It’s my anniversary.
To be honest, I had completely forgotten. I had dropped the ball on getting the traditional 9-year gift of willow, much to my husband’s chagrin, I’m sure. Lee and I stumbled out of bed, wishing each other a happy anniversary and giving a quick peck as we moved on to our normal morning routine. Our kids, 2, 3, and 4 years of age, came running in, greeting us with smiles and hugs as we attempted to match them in enthusiasm. We worked together to get children dressed, breakfast made, and shoes on, then shoes off and back on the correct feet this time. Lee made up his usual silly songs as he folded some clothes and fixed breakfast. I tested my creativity as I made special ponytails for a child who thinks she’s an actual princess.
And so it goes. It’s what we do. Day in, and day out; like clockwork.
Nine years ago today we were walking down the aisle. And now we’re walking down the walkway with Annie, Ella, and David Lee skipping ahead of us. We congregate in the driveway, giving hugs and kisses to the kids as we rush to our appropriate vehicles, then rush back for a forgotten hug, kiss, and quick, “I love you,” to each other before returning to our vehicles and heading off to work. Every day.
Nine years ago today, we were pledging our love to one another. Today I texted to say, “I love you.” He texted back, “I love you too. My alternator died in my car. Can you pick Annie and me up on your way home from work?” Of course I did. “Happy anniversary,” he said. “I was going to buy you flowers, but then my car died.” I responded with, “I was going to buy you a card, but I was stuck in a meeting.”
And so it goes. Cars break down. Meetings run long. Life happens.
Nine years ago today, Lee gave me a ring and made me a promise. He has kept that promise. The promise we made to one another was deeper than flowers and cards. It was deeper than remembering each other on the special occasions and then going back to normal the rest of the time. Those two kids who exchanged rings nine years ago today had fairy tales and fireworks in mind, but God had so much more designed. He gave us a life together. A life that is real. It has real ups and downs, real joy and heartache, and real love that is selfless and true. Our life isn’t glamorous, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m thankful for a husband who works hard every single day to make my life fuller and more meaningful. He puts my needs above his own. He prays with me and for me, and shows me a love that grows with each passing day.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (ESV)
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.