7 Years: To My High School Sweetheart On Our Seventh Wedding Anniversary
Seven years. Yesterday, our four-year-old broke the last bowl from the dish set we got as a wedding present and, later that afternoon, I realized that our wedding towels, the nice ones we used to save for guests, have been relegated to drying the dog after a rainstorm. Our wedding-set cook wear, used since it was received to prepare birthday meals and holiday favorites and French toast and scrambled eggs and sausage and bacon on the weekends, has been chipping and peeling and, over the last year, we've been replacing it piece by piece. It's no wonder the things we got for our wedding have begun to wear out, over the past seven years they've endured two states, five moves, and the addition of one giant dog and two tiny but mighty kids.
In a funny way though, those same things that have taken their toll on the material goods of our marriage have served only to make our actual union that much stronger. The dog, the moves, the kids, all of it.
Seven years. One dog. Two college graduations. One graduate program. One third floor walk-up apartment. One half-shotgun. One rental ranch. One two-story starter home. One forever home. Four pregnancies. Two losses. One D&C. Two kids. One twelve week Bradley class. Two home labors. Two fast deliveries. Two gentle, painful, glorious postpartums. Thousands of sink-fulls of pump parts and sippy cups and tiny plates and forks and spoons. One appendectomy. Two full-family stomach bug knock-outs. One bottle-fed kitten. Six new jobs. One accidental group text to you and the realtor about how you needed to get your S*%t together and learn to pack the damn diaper bag so I didn’t run out of diapers and end up tying an old t-shirt around the baby’s bottom after a mid-wedding ceremony blow-out ever again.
Seven years. Seven years of life-stuff has given us opportunity after opportunity to learn (through some serious trial and error) that I'm better at packing boxes while you’re better at loading the truck. I'm better at scheduling the doctor’s appointments and you’re better at remembering to write the daycare checks on time. I’m better at cooking and you’re better at cleaning. I'm better at winding the kids up (sorry!) and you’re better at calming them down.
We've learned (and are still learning) how to lean into one another's weaknesses and fill the gaps so that life doesn't feel quite so bumpy. We've learned how to hold our tongues. We've learned to say thank you every day. We've learned to just pick up the thing on the floor instead of waiting (and fuming) as the other person passes by the thing on the floor without picking it up over and over again. We've learned that there is beauty in the mundane, joy in sorrow, and glory in exhaustion.
Most married couples get to grow old together. We’re lucky though. As high school sweethearts, we’ve had the extra joy of growing up together. At seventeen, I knew I liked how funny and kind you were. At twenty-one, I knew I wanted to spend my life with you. Now, seven years and two kids in, I know so much more, most of all, I know how lucky I am.
I’m so grateful to you, my sweet and handsome husband, for doing life with me. For living these years and not just enduring, but reveling in the madness and mess of life. You give me so much to be grateful for every day: your easy smile, your effortless laugh, your tender touch, and your willingness to capture and release any and every bug that’s ever crossed our threshold. Today, on our seventh wedding anniversary, I want to say thank you for living life with me. Here’s to seven great years down and sixtyish even better ones to come. And, while we’re at it, let’s go ahead and raise a glass for well-packed diapers bags too.