December 15, 2014
Posted by Steph
8 years ago today, I woke up with a flutter of nervous excitement in my stomach. I was battling strep throat as I had my hair done and my makeup applied. Friendly conversation surrounded me amidst a flurry of movement and chaos as people scurried around the church placing items, keeping schedules and greeting people.
8 years ago today, I was getting ready to marry you.
Our story started many years before. Perhaps at the very beginning: two lives born in the same town, intertwined with common people, places and experiences without ever formally meeting. I look back on my childhood and wonder how many times we'd been at the same Christmas Parade downtown, but on opposites sides of the street? How many times had our mothers crossed paths in the grocery store, with carts full of kids and food? Swung on the same set of swings at the same park, not knowing that the person next to the other was to be the person we spent forever with?
It wasn't until high school that we walked the same halls and mingled in the same group of friends. I was on my way out of school while you were on your way in, our lives seemingly on two different trajectories. But instead of diverging, our lives came closer together. Our time as leaders taught us the uniqueness of being a team, the difficulties and nuances of working together for a common goal. Together, we learned how to celebrate victories and struggle through difficulties.
When you proposed, I was simultaneously overjoyed and anxious. I couldn't imagine spending my life together with anyone other than you, this person whose life worked so well with mine. Yet, watching so many relationships flounder and fail, including those close to me, was daunting. I wrestled with the idea of forever, the idea that I was truly lovable and worth loving.
I knew, though, regardless of the risks, my life was meant to be connected to yours.
We spent months planning, preparing, deliberating, scheduling, inviting, and readying ourselves for a wedding day that marked so much more than a grand party. Beyond the white dress and the flowers and the cake laid a road that journeyed beyond the horizon. It was a frightening prospect, because the end I could not see. But I trusted that whatever waited for us beyond the edge of that world, we would face together.
So 8 years ago today, I walked down an aisle. My heart pumped so harshly I thought my chest would burst. And in a sea of faces, I found yours. Waiting for me. Taking my hand. And promising that this life would be one we experienced together.
8 years ago today, we said I do.
And in those 8 years, I've learned that love is a choice. I wake up daily and choose to love you (as though my mind and heart would allow me to choose any other option). I choose respect. I choose sacrifice. I choose patience. I choose forgiveness. And in those choices, I've learned many things about myself. That I can change. I can adapt. I can learn. I can grow. That over time, my capacity to love expands, enveloping new aspects of our life together. I've accepted, though not without difficulty, that you aren't going anywhere. That we are in this together. That you love me. And that love comes despite myself. You loving me is my greatest strength and attribute.
I am who I am today because 8 years ago today, we chose to make this journey together.
So as I look at the windy road ahead, there are many uncertainties. There are no guarantees. I'm not sure what I'll face or the ways I'll change. But I know I can look next to me and you'll be there.
I am who I am today because you love me.
Happy 8 years, love.
Filed Under: anniversary