In the last six years we have slowly shed our individual identities and become one. I'm sure several decades from now on our anniversary we will look back at our 29-year-old selves and see mere babes parenting literal babes and sigh the sigh of those who have enough years to be called wise. And I'm sure our individual selves will be even more blurry to our elderly selves than they are today. But for today, I can only marvel at how much I am not that girl you married on March 4th, 2006 and how much I really don't mind.
I think I thought that I would hold tight to my individuality, my me-ness, my self-created persona and try to force you to acclimate to my preferences, moods, whims, and goals. (Well I suppose I did try with varying success.) But I can say that for all the ways I've changed, you have changed along with me and I think we are both the better for it. And for all the ways we have changed, I have been most grateful to have had you with me for company.
What changes? Well there's the obvious, the huge yet predictable changes of parenthood, home-ownership, big-kid jobs (well you, not me - mine has regressed to coloring and playing house). But there's also the smaller, less outwardly noticeable, rather underground changes that have really made all the difference. We've learned how to fight better, to communicate better and more honestly, to be intentional with our resources (relationships, time, money) and to value one another for the balance and compatibility we each bring to our family.
I am proud of where we are as a family - an awesome daughter, a home we love, a dog I tolerate, and the hope of an Ethiopian son or daughter. I am proud of where we give our time - discipleship, missional community, investing in the new marriages and families.
I am proud of you, my husband. I am proud when I see relationships in which you have invested bear fruit and grow. I am proud when I overhear you managing the guys in your department at work. I am proud when I witness a conversation that you would have been too intimidated to have a few years ago. I am proud when I point to you across the room and say, "That guy with the manly beard - he's mine."
And I am grateful. I am grateful that you tolerate my irrational, passionate outbursts (especially when they are directed at you). I am grateful that you know me well enough to automatically redirect Lila after a day I worked, knowing that I need some "introvert time." I am grateful to currently be smelling and hearing you cooking something for dinner while I enjoy said introvert time. I am grateful to sleep in on the weekends when you get up with Lila for Daddy-Daughter dates. I am grateful to call coloring and make-believe my job because of how hard you work. I am grateful to put my cold feet under your warm body (and especially grateful that I have to stretch my whole leg out to reach you in our new king bed!). I am grateful that you make me laugh. I am grateful when you think I'm funny. I am grateful each night when I go to bed and hear you snoring next to me and grateful each morning with foggy memories of the kiss you left on my forehead before you left for work and grateful each evening when you pull up to our house and Lila shouts gleefully, "Daddy's home!"
I am proud and grateful, Husband, to celebrate 6 years of being your wife.
Year One was a shock to the system (newlyweds)
Year Two was an adjustment (new house)
Year Three was enlightening (trip to Ethiopia and our long-awaited honeymoon in Hawaii)
Year Four was full of anticipation (pregnant with Lila)
Year Five was hellish (let's just forget about the details...)
Year Six was the year of turning the corner (healing, restoration, hope for the future - including future children)
...and now we begin Year Seven: the year of Jubilee! One day in, I am jubilant. And I am hopeful for an entirely jubilant year!
I love you, Husband. I'm so glad I married you.