Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sixteen Years.

I've been gone a while. This summer wasn't the easiest one ever, by a long shot. Between a premature nephew born (he's fat and sweet and fine now), my grandma literally almost dying several times, my parents' being strewn from here to there with their own health issues and family demands, all three boys having RSV... I almost pulled my hair out approximately 241 times. Now, fall is here, and I welcome its colder air with a giant sigh of relief.

So, I haven't quit blogging, and I have refocused and repurposed myself to get back on track with this, as it's my therapy and my cleansing (this and a long hot shower, where I dance around naked Barbies and missing kitchen utensils). To say life takes on a life of its own when kids enter the picture is like describing the Grand Canyon as a hole in the ground.


This week, on Friday in fact, I will be married 16 years to this man.

That means that I've woken up to his presence somewhere around 5840 times. I've fallen asleep with his hand on my back or his foot touching mine most of those nights. I've picked up his socks, cooked his dinners, and ironed his clothes. I've made him mad, made him want to run away and never come back, and made him laugh. We've camped, traveled, wined and dined, and escaped away alone many times. We've prayed, strained, struggled, and searched. We've lost, rebuilt, and refocused. We've birthed two children and have felt like we've bitten more off than we can chew so many times, it's not even funny (ok, it is). There've been alot of road trips, Christmases, birthdays, special days, and plain days. Lots of bumps, bruises, tears, and cuts. Romance, love letters, and text messages that would make Gaga herself blush.

What do I say to the man who loves me at my ugliest? Loved me at my heaviest? Loved me at my stupidest? My frailest? My weakest? What do I say to the man who pushes me?Pushes my buttons? Pushes my fears away? The man who overhears a wish and makes it come true for me? Who is okay with my constant playing of Zac Brown Band and even takes me to his concert? Who makes me coffee every morning and rubs my back (sometimes while he's falling asleep) at night? Who relies on my "expertise" for our children? Who trusts my judgment? Who admits without hesitation the kids are my field and defaults to my database?

How can I express enough love for the one who proved himself to me over years and years of my skepticism and my keeping him at arm's length? Who made it his number one priority to win my heart through integrity, tenderness, and persistence? Who dealt with my terrible bout of depression, loving me through it until I was whole? Who dealt with my mood swings from fertility meds, tears over 14 total years of one lined pregnancy tests, and knew exactly how much time to give me to wallow in my pity before he made me get up again? Who laid his hand on an empty womb night after night and thanked God for its fullness? Who sang songs to his unborn children while they kicked his cheek with joy in response to his voice? Who defends me to a cocky 8 year old and relieves me from a busy 8 month old when I just can't hold him any more?

How can I express enough gratitude for the hands that hang Christmas lights on the roof of our extra tall house, instinctively grab my hand in a crowded parking lot, and hold my face for a good night kiss before we roll our separate ways in our king sized bed? The hands that wiped my hair from my face during childbirth, roll up little meat and cheese spirals on toothpicks for his daughter, and change dirty diapers from his son without being asked to? How can I be more thankful for the smile lines around the eyes that dance with laughter at jokes that only I know the punchline to? The lines that represent happiness at lives being changed through the Gospel? The lines that deepen daily because of his instant response to seeing his son wake up in the morning or his daughter's fifteenth art project for the day? The same lines that greet me at my makeup mirror every morning, when he sneaks in for his morning kiss?

Is he perfect? Nope. He makes me angry when I find my clean dishrag in the sink next to egg shells in the sink. I am frustrated with him because he's as bullheaded as I am. He is too patient sometimes, and it makes me want to break him in half. He's loud, he's boisterous, and he knows someone EVERY WHERE we go. I have no idea how I can clean his bathroom, only to find it looking like a zoo 12 hours later. Life isn't one big passionate whirl with us. And BELIEVE ME... though I've loved him most of my life now--- (I fell in love with him at 17, got engaged to him at 18, and married him at 19... He was 29, 30, and 31 which adds to the hotness of our love story, ain't gonna lie), I feel like I just have started seeing who he really is. That this jewel-- this prize of mine, has been in front of my face for all this time. That I've only just turned around and recognized his face.

That I am just getting to know him. Really know him.

Mommies, life is busy. Kids suck the minutes out of days and the months out of our years. It's lovely, yes. But it's also easy to put what should be priority one on the back burner and make it priority 10 or 12. All the while, we are missing a romance that was meant to fuel us for all the sandwiches we make, all the glitter we sweep up, all the laundry we fold, and all the Blue's Clues we watch. Really look at him. And if you can't see him, ask God to give you new eyes. You'll start seeing him for who he really is if you try to. I promise.

Rodrick, we are a little older than we were 16 years ago. We are a little more tired, definitely a little wiser, and a whole lot better. You make my heart skip a beat. Yours is the handsome face God crafted for my eyes to see and my heart to take in for all my days. Here's to you, love. And the life we've made.

Happy Anniversary!


  1. Wow Jill that was awesome I'm speechless and a little teary. I am so glad god brought me into yours and rod's life .. Thru your example I'm learning to live and not just exist which is what i did for many yrs... THANK YOU love you both have a great anniversary you both deserve it....

  2. Oh girl that was better than ANY hallmark card EVER!!! I love reading your love notes to each other on my facebook news feeds... and now i love this all the more.
    my husband and i are going to be celebrating our 1st year of marriage on the 26th! Cant wait to hit those double digits!
    you both are an inspiration!