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Once upon a time....20 years ago....

There was a girl...who met a boy.  He politely offered a handshake under his nicely feathered hair.  Later that year, in the middle school gym, the girl gulped as she got up her nerve to ask for one of his green polo school pictures.  He gave it with a wish for "good luck with the guys" inscribed upon the back.
A friendship began.  For the next couple years, the message on the back of the school pictures remained the same.  The girl cheered for his team, watched as he folded his warm-ups and politely placed them under his chair, and hoped....and she might admit, schemed a little, to get noticed as more than a friend.
His attention magically fell on her near the beginning of her 16th year...the angels sang and the sunbeams shone.  School pictures from that time on had a new message...one of love and commitment.
School pictures gave way to formal pictures, engagement pictures and finally, 20 years ago, wedding pictures.




It's felt like a lifetime and a single day all at the same time.  The girl is happy, I am happy.  But not because only happy things have filled our 20 years...but because the things of us have added up to more messages of love and commitment.

Here's my list of 20 things I'm happy are us....the tip of the iceberg of the things that have been the water under our bridge.

  1. He brings me coffee just the way I like it.  It used to be tea...then it was coffee with sugar and creamer....now it's coffee with just sugar.  He knows which mugs are my favorites.  He brews it and delivers it to help me (sorta) like mornings!!
  2. We have history.  We've been friends since we were 14 and dating since we were 16 - we have a lot of mirror memories.  It's cozy to me that he remembers what my high school gym smelled like and how crazy Saturday drama rehearsals were.  And he's the same guy who remembers my babies being born and growing up.
  3. He remembers who I was and celebrates who I'm becoming.  His knowledge of the breadth of me makes his understanding of the depth of me even sweeter.
  4. Inside jokes.  I really, really like it that there are things that he is the only other person in the world that would understand or think are funny!  He knows why turtle crossings are cool, what GHOH means, what I like about yellow and all about smutz.  That's cool. 
  5. I like his bald head.  I really do, I think he looks really good bald, and I'm not just saying that.  His hair was great, but his head is great bald too.
  6. I like his white eyelashes too, I really do.  He looks like a super-hero.
  7. He spins things.  The kangaroo pouch carrying twins around inside my body left on my 6-pack?  He calls it a trophy of one of the best things we ever did together.  I still shake my head about that....  He's kept it up all this time so I'm starting to think he really does think my post-baby body is prettier that the unscathed version of me.  Crazy, but I like it.
  8. He likes babies...shocker, I know!  If it were possible, we would be rivaling the Duggars in natural-born's right now and be adopting a whole orphanage full of Ethiopian sweeties.  
  9. He sees the light at the end of the tunnel shining super bright.  That's a good thing, but I don't always feel it as a good thing.  Sometimes it frustrates me that he always thinks we're on the verge of greatness....I want to get there right now!  But, how cool that he always, I and mean always, thinks better things are just around the corner??!  His optimism is good for me.
  10. We've gone lots of places together.  Ministry has brought us more fulfilling adventures that riches could have.  We've gotten to fall in love with some of the far corners of the world together....granted we usually were leading a team of teenagers and staying in separate rooms as we chaperoned....but we still got to do it together.  I'm so glad he's adventurous - we're planning to add one more continent to our list of places we have memories in real soon!!  Africa's going to be our 20th Anniversary celebration!
  11. We learn together.  It started as we "studied" for Trig in my kitchen and then moved to Theology studying in the Rotunda at BBC.  We like to think deep thoughts together.  He's smart and I learn a lot from him.
  12. He thinks I'm smart.  One of the weird things about me is that having him think I'm smart is way more satisfying than him thinking I'm pretty....although I want that one too!  He knows that and gives me flowers  that say "To my smart, pretty wife" (among other things that I can't share!) on the card.
  13. There are some things I just don't get, and that's ok.  I am really, really bad at spacial, mechanical things.  I think hard, the wheels turn and smoke, but I struggle here.  I like that he just shakes his head and smiles when I can't be coached through double bouncing a kid on the tramp......
  14. I don't like that life has been hard, but I do like what has come out of that.  For all the exhilarating things we've done together there have been as many devastating things that we have done together.  I have cried my most gut-wrenching tears with him, sometimes at him and sometimes with my face turned away from him.  Some of our pain has come from the outside, some we've inflicted on each other...but none of it has separated us.  Not bailing out on our pain has been some of the best moments of the past 20 years and it's been a lot of what were are now.
  15. We have fighting (I mean disagreement rules, and we've stuck to them.  Right from the start, we agreed to never use the words "never" or "always" when tensions are high.  Keeps us from blanket statements that are almost never true.  Threats have been absent too - divorce has never been on the table, not because life's been all rainbows and unicorns, but because we just decided that it wasn't ever going to be an option.  That sounds much more trite and easy than it really is, but we made the decision once, 20 years ago, and I'm glad.  Now, we have learned the hard way about pity parties and silent fuming....I don't want to talk about that!! :)
  16. We're still making adjustments.  He smiles a little quicker and says yes to a nap on the couch next to me while I watch a movie.  We find a spot for our beach chairs where one can be in the shade and one in the sun.  I try to go to bed earlier than I want to and wake up earlier than I want to....that's what the coffee's for!  He smiles and nod when I get on a talking jag after an excedrin headache remedy.  I stand back and let him pack the car without offering opinions....kinda.
  17. He is who he is and I am who I am and we're not looking for an amazing better version of each other.  It's just ok to be us, we're both much more comfortable in our own skin than we were at the beginning.  Maybe that's just age, maybe it's maturity, maybe it's fatalism...but I don't care.  It's ok to be just plain old us today and that's kinda great.
  18. He really loves the church....the big one all across the world....and the little one that feels like a family in Comstock Park.  I mean he really LOVES it.  God says the church is important to Him and Scott's taking that one to the bank.  He's committed....hook, line and sinker.  Good thing I'm not the jealous type!
  19. Our families like each other.  We've had some awesome holidays and family vacations as one big family.  Maybe that happens because our parents' friendship developed along with ours, but I think they'd be that way anyways.  I want to give that gift to my kids.
  20. This man that I married loves Jesus way more than he loves me.  It took me a while to figure out how good that is for me.  At first, I was jealous.  Stupid to be jealous of God, but I was...just ask Scott, he'll tell you.  I used to ask him if he would do this for me, or if he would do that for me....a bunch of hypotheticals to see how much he really loved me.  My darn husband wouldn't even hypothetically do something wrong out of love for me.  Made. Me. So. Mad.  I really wanted to be first.  It's been a slow process, but if you've been in our youth group in the last 10 or so years, you've heard me chant the mantra...."Only marry someone who loves God more than they love you!"  I finally drank the kool-aid and understood.  His love for God is precisely what makes his love for me so good.  A man who loves God supremely will love his wife to death, literally.  He'll do it when she doesn't deserve it and when he doesn't feel like it because God told him to....and he loves God more than he loves her.  Goodness gracious, what a gift.

I like making lists.  They make me feel like I accomplished something.  This list makes me feel like we've accomplished something.  Mostly it makes me see that God's accomplished something.  He's taken two kids who felt all twitter-pated and turned it into something real an worthy.  Sometimes I feel like we haven't given Him much to work with, but He can make a lot out of the little bits of determination and humility we've been able to offer up.  

Just as I've finished up this last paragraph I've thought of things I should have written that might have meant much more than "I like his bald head."  But I'm going to resist the urge to go back and fix it up all spiritual-like.  I really do like his bald head, and maybe that's meant as much to our 20 years of good memories as anything else, who knows....

The girl and the boy smile a lot, and it leaves lines.  They laugh and sometimes they cry.  They try to look in the eyes when they need to say the hard words of apology.  They keep making plans even though they feel sober about the time that's gone by.  They've become braver, much braver....they might even start to look silly to some people as they learn to lean into God more.  They dream about the generations to come and scheme ways to do lots of grandchildren gifts with just a little dough.  They keep feathering their nest for the new ones to come as they're building a steady launching pad for the ones getting ready to go.  They want to be better together, have stronger hearts and deeper love but still wonder at their ability to really do it.  Above all, they're gonna keep plodding out, watering their own grass and doing whatever it takes to make it the greenest they can see....because they promised 20 years ago....and that means something deep and happy.



Comments

  1. I cry at every post. I'm so happy that the girl and boy met. And I'm so priviledged to have benefited from your marriage. You guys have taught me do much and set the bar high! Love you!! -holly m

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