Four Years

Thursday, August 22, 2013





Each year, this letter gets even harder to write - not because we have run out of things to talk about, not because I feel any different than the day I stood in front of you, 19 years old, starry-eyed, and shaking and said 'I do,' not because our love has lessened over this time. I fumble over the keys of the laptop, unsure of what to say because, well, how do I describe the way our love has morphed and stood the test of time? It's impossible. What do I say that I haven't said already? Every time I sit down to write this letter, I feel completely inadequate. Any other day of the year I can approach writing with all the confidence in the world, but today - I am speechless. People often tell us we're lucky to have found each other. In one way, I agree with them - there seems to be an otherworldly force that has brought the two of us together, so complementary. At the same time, I want to say, "No, we don't have luck. We have hard work, determination, compassion, understanding, hope in something other than each other. Not to mention we actually really like each other, like a lot." We have a lot of things, but luck - luck just sounds like the easy way out.

We've known each other for over 10 years now and in those 10 years we have been through the valleys and stood on top of the mountains (I feel grateful to say there have been more mountains than valleys.), we've grown together through middle school, high school, and college (which is really miraculous in itself considering the fact that sometimes I think back to those former selves of mine and cringe). We've moved from our childhood homes to Birmingham, where we survived solely off love and Hamburger Helper. There was a couch that took up our entire living room and what room was left was always scattered with sketch pads and pencils. Our pantry was a wire shelf practically in the middle of said living room - it's a wonder how we even got to the bedroom from the front door. After Birmingham, came four months of Wichita Falls - practically a blink in our lives in a rather forgettable place on the map, but it will always be remembered in our family. We stood in the echoey living room of that apartment, camera propped on the back of the couch, recording the moment that our life as we had known it ended and began new all in the same day. I'll never forget driving the entire east coast with you in the worst snow storm we had both ever seen, nor will I forget the day that I drove 14 hours through Texas (or at least if felt like it was all Texas) to pull up and collapse into you, relieved to finally be reunited. It was the first time I had ever driven that far by myself and secretly, I was terrified - I wouldn't have done it for anyone but you. After Wichita Falls, we came here, to a place neither of us knew nothing about other than it instantly felt like home. A few days shy of six months later, we became a family of three sitting in a birthing pool in a dimly lit room of what I'm still convinced is the most magical place to give birth in the world on 4th Street. Yet again, I had no idea what I was doing and I was terrified, but you were there. You always have been. We stumbled through the first blurry months of parenthood (some days are still kind of blurry) and somehow we made it out of them, together, stronger, still mostly sane but perpetually sleep-deprived.

And now, here we are, about to board a plane at midnight tomorrow to the place I secretly call my first love, New York City. Our first anniversary was spent in Savannah, Georgia and it was one of the happiest, but weirdest vacations of my life. People had told us that the first year would be hard, the hardest, but to stick it out. I was prepared for the worst and then we met this deadline with ease and grace and I was looking back thinking, "When does it get as hard as everyone says?" I didn't want it to get hard. All I had ever seen was hard and I knew I wouldn't settle for that. In our house, and yours too I've learned, vacations were usually full of stress and bickering and an air of 'you better have fun or else' around them, but with you it was effortless. We scrimped and saved to stay at a historic bed and breakfast. You stayed up all night searching for the beloved claw foot bathtub. We felt completely out of place, like kids in a world with a 'grown-ups only' sign on the door, but were completely mesmerized by it all. We took pictures of the cookies left on our pillow and sat in a bubble bath together until 2 in the morning, giddy at the thought of a future together. We walked through the city, hand in hand, content to just wander. We stood on Tybee Beach and watched dolphins peek out from the waves. I ran and pointed and shouted, resembling a child (or possibly a loon), and you laughed your rare laugh - the kind that radiates from your whole body.

Our second anniversary was spent in Dallas. We took a day trip to the Dallas World Aquarium and decided to be irresponsible and have dinner at The Melting Pot - then we decided to be really irresponsible and get a room at a nice hotel for the night. We wandered around Wal-mart at 10 o'clock at night in search of the necessities and bathing suits because we had brought nothing with us, not even clothes for the next day. We twirled around in the rooftop pool, basking in our freedom together. I will always remember seeing a couple with a young baby and feeling that switch flip inside me. I couldn't stop smiling looking at the three of them. We wandered through the hotel gardens and lingered, leaning against the cement wall that still held warmth from the day and enjoying the view of the Dallas lights. It seems that all of our best decisions come spur of the moment. We celebrated a few weeks early, justifying it because we weren't sure where we would be when our anniversary came around. Wichita Falls was holding us hostage and we had no orders in sight. Little did we know, we would be in Albuquerque standing in front of what I will always consider our first house on the day of our actual second anniversary. We cooked a nice dinner at home and took pictures in front of our new house - this has become my favorite tradition of ours, besides Valentine's Day.

Our third anniversary was spent at the top of Sandia Peak. It was the first time I had been away from Ev for more than a few hours. We went to dinner and took a motorcycle ride up the winding, wildflower lined road on the side of the mountain. I felt like a kid again. We stopped and hiked a little ways. We found our spot on the side of a hill, far enough off the beaten path, but not so far that we couldn't find our way back in the dark. You unpacked the bag, which was mostly full of s'more fixings. I smiled a big smile, basking in the joy of what it felt like to really be known and understood by someone. It was a simple celebration - in the eyes of others it was probably too simple for their tastes, but it was perfect for us. Our 4th anniversary will be spent wandering the city of my soul talking about our dreams and how to make them a reality. It feels so good to be married to someone that says, "This is your dream? Well then it's our dream - let's make it happen." I will never forget overhearing you tell someone that New York City was my dream, and well, I was your dream. I love the way you expand my thoughts, opinions, and aspirations. I love that we can say to each other, "That's not really a dream of mine, but I would love to experience it with you."

The every day has been hard lately, really hard, and in turn I've spent a lot of my time worrying, but I never worry about us. You and I are like the waves of the ocean - we may toss and turn and crash at times, but at the end of the day, the ocean is still the ocean and you and I are still meant to be. I know I say this every year, but it is such a privilege to raise Ev and grow old with you. It seems impossible that it has already been a year since I wrote one of these. It seems even more impossible that at about the same time that we step off the plane into the city tomorrow, four years ago we were stepping off the plane in Orlando for our honeymoon. I can't wait to see what we manage to accomplish in the next 12 months. Let's make them count.

Four years and counting - here's to 70 more.

I love you way way more than you know.
Andrea

2 comments:

  1. I get to be the first one to say how beautiful this is! All your posts on Facebook make me smile every time they pop up because you are your family are so precious! I don't know you well at all, but that doesn't stop me from being so proud of you and your husband and how happy yall are. Happy anniversary :)

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