December 20, 2016. Our EIGHTH wedding anniversary and I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face. You see, I asked my husband if he wouldn't mind sharing what eight years of marriage looks like for HIM, and I in turn have a beautiful passage that has crushed my heart AND made it fall in love all over again; all at once. Ladies, I'm betting this might make you tear up and Gentlemen, there's a LOT you can learn from this man. But here, I've already said enough, so please, read it for yourselves:
Tonight I went to Target for the 17th time this month. I bundled two kids up in winter coats and warm hats. I put on three pairs of socks and shoes, (because they still can’t do it themselves) and hurried all four of us to the car like we would somehow be late to a store not closing for another six hours. I belted Christmas carols at the top of my lungs to make the kids laugh, (okay, and to annoy my wife), but mostly to drown out the bickering from the back seat. I bribed them with ice cream to behave, and rewarded my wife and me with Starbucks as soon as we walked in the door.
After trolling the dollar spot (because we can't just NOT), I lead the march onward to the items we actually came for. Somewhere between home goods, a trip through the Christmas section, and getting a box of Rice Crispies for our future peanut butter ball baking escapade, I had a funny realization…I was living my wildest dream. No seriously. The cheesy Christmas music, the bundling of the kids, the settling petty fights, and most importantly, doing it ALL with her…actually, this is better than my wildest dream.
About ten years ago I battled depression. Clinically diagnosed with major depression disorder, I saw a cognitive therapist every week and took 600 mg of Wellbutrin and 45 mg of Lexapro. I frequently had debilitating panic attacks, and just couldn’t muster the strength to do anything. There were days when I sat in my room and didn’t move. I didn’t read, I didn’t play video games, I sat. Shortly after therapy started I had a terrible day/night and highly considered running my car into the median rail because I was convinced that I would at least feel something before I hopefully left. If it hadn’t been for a good friend in the car with me, whose safety I was worried about, I likely would have done it. I remember trying to unpack all of this with my therapist, and even though I hadn’t given a lot of details I’ll never forget what he said to me. “Girls can really fuck a guy up. I know what you’re feeling is awful.”
You see ever since I was a little boy I yearned to be a husband and a father. I used to swear I’d marry my mother, and I begged Santa one year (full disclosure, I was EIGHT) for a high chair and a crib for my stuffed toys. I wanted to care for those I loved. I fell in love with nearly every girl who would talk to me, convinced that surely I would marry this one and that my happily ever after was about to start. You can’t imagine how often I used to fantasize about mundane pancake breakfasts and cups of coffee. I was fourteen when I first started writing a journal to my future wife. Yes, FOURTEEN. So at the age of twenty-three, (though in hindsight that was still very young) my therapist could see through me: the biggest part of my self-identity, my deepest desires, they were missing.
When Ash and I began talking about what this year, the eighth year, means to me, I told her that it's peace. For nearly twenty-five years there was chaos in my heart, constantly yearning for my dream to come true. So, in the midst of drawing pictures, decorating cookies, microwaving fish sticks, peeling stickers’ off the wall, folding laundry, pouring her a cup of coffee, vacuuming up endless amounts of pet hair, and kissing her forehead, there is peace. Peace in the realization that eight- year old Asa has real live children to care for, and fourteen-year old Asa did finally find his forever. Perhaps the most pivotal moment of my life wasn’t when I stood in front of everyone and said “I do” but when I handed a girl a cup of coffee and she said “We should be friends."
See, y'all? I told you he's good. But now it's my turn and how do I even come close?! I suppose realness is valuable and that's the best that I have to offer so here it goes:
Most of you know that I was a whopping twenty-years old when I married this man. And before him, I basically had a boyfriend of some sorts since kindergarten. Somewhere in my late high school years I turned a little cold and bitter, and I started to tell myself that I really didn't 'deserve' a wonderful man. Actually? I just didn't really have too high hopes that one was out there. I thought I'd marry my high school sweetheart, but we kinda broke each others' hearts after I moved away from Michigan. He changed, I changed, you know how it goes. I never kept a journal to my future husband, I honest to God even didn't know how to PICTURE said husband. But when I walked into Sunergos Coffee back in 2007, I left knowing that I had found him. It was a busy day of tests and speeches and presentations for me and this cute 20-something year old guy jokingly said, "I sure hope you have someone at home to rub your shoulders later." I laughed and then said, "We should be friends!" Many Facebook messages later, a walk in the park with his dog, finally exchanging phone numbers, and spending every waking minute together, we were official. I had no idea what the future looked like, I was hell bent on marrying this man, and then suddenly--here we are. Eight years later.
If you could actually somehow peek inside, these eight years would reveal many scars on our hearts. Tears have been shed, doubts have been had, mistakes have been made, grace has been given, and yet love lives on. We didn't know how to fight when we got married and we still don't, but thank God we've improved. I try hard not to slam doors, he works on not yelling too loud, and we work hard to make sure that the kids are NEVER involved or hurt by us. We've moved three times, gotten four pets together, had two babies, been through too many awkward moments to count, and yet there was a never a day that I cared if he stood in the bathroom while I used it. I fit perfectly inside his six-foot frame, he knows the precise way I like my forehead to be kissed, and there's no one in this world that could care for me like he does.
Our biggest roles right now are raising our two beautiful children, but most importantly, it's still finding ways to love each other better. We had the phrase "I choose you" tattooed on our arms in July 2015, as a daily reminder that even when we screw up, even when we fail, even when we feel like life is too hard; we still choose one another. This man loves so deeply, so gracefully, and so beautifully; I am blessed to be the one he has chosen.
All of these beautiful pictures were taken by my sister in law Jana Glass, who is the photographer at Looking Glass Photography. I'm so humbled she spent an afternoon with us in all our awkard posing glory and moments of just completely cracking up. I'll cherish these forever!
And if you've made it this far, you can read about how this hunk of a man and I met HERE!