We have covered a lot of ground, haven't we?
We grew up together, meeting exceptionally young.
We fell in love for very different reasons than why we are still in love.
Because we both changed and continued to grow.
We put a lot on ourselves, we have made some big changes and major decisions.
We have moved countless times, our biggest one leaving city living for an area we hoped to fall in love with and did.
We have worked countless different jobs, doing anything to make it work out and did.
We have paid off countless debt with three degrees and cars and a wedding and a home and a renovation.
We have been through disease and loss and fear of the unknown and concern.
We have aged, drastically aged, and we still think the other is adorable.
In many ways, our life has been like a videotape, me hitting fast-forward, spending too much time in rewind, and you hitting pause and stop.
And after all this time, there is little we know about marriage and couplehood, all these years later, there is very little we can share as any sort of advice, other than find your family.
But, there is a lot we have learned about each other and after almost two decades, lots we do well, lots we still need to figure out. Lots we hope to pass down to you both, lots we hope you do better than us, lots we hope to do better than we are. With each change, each new direction, we struggle, we stumble, and we come back to touch toes.
There are lessons though, some we made the hard way, some that took someone else's opinion, an outside point of view to finally see clearly, some that work just for us, some that just plain old work. And lessons learned mainly means these are areas we messed up on loves and finally saw the light at the end of some pretty dark tunnels.
Lessons like there is no such thing as 50/50.
We're a team, we figure it out, we fill in gaps.
Yeah, we have our responsibilities and yeah, more of the day to day falls on me and more of the big projects fall on dad.
But what I finally came to realize is, what is important to me, gets done by me because I want it done. And if I want it done, that means I do it without complaint and without resentment. If I no longer want it done, I can leave it or I can ask for help in that moment. I cannot rely on anyone to do things that are only important to me because they honestly don't even see them in their path.
Lessons like the little things in any family, with every connection you have in life, really make all the difference. Remembering to make two cups of coffee on the weekend, remembering to plan little surprises, a hug in the middle of chaos, a hotel stay in town, a surprise sitter, a note left out of love. Small, little ways of reminding those you love that you do love them. Grand gestures mean nothing and are not possible when you are in the thick of it, it's the small that will always and forever matter.
Lessons like it is easy to love in the good and even easier to love in the bad, it's the ordinary that needs attention. And it's in the ordinary that you spend most of your lives. It is in finding love while parenting and doing the laundry, and figuring out the bills, and fighting over who ate the last of the ice cream, it's still wanting to be with that person in the every single day of life.
Lessons like be close. Connect and that means no electronics and talk. That means sitting on the couch and touching. That means sleeping next to each other, that means holding hands. That means connecting in the car ride, that means looking at each other, that means hugging for real a few times a day. Be close to those you love and keep them close.
Lessons like one person is a little more responsible for the joy in the relationship. And my biggest lesson learned, that can flip-flop. The one that naturally has joy in their heart will also find themselves staring into a void of unhappy and dark and it will be up to the other to bring the joy. It will be up to the other to make the silly jokes and laugh harder and bring their attention squarely on to joy.
Lessons like you each have a decision to make to stay and keep going. And there will be times you both really don't think it's a good idea and it is the other to ground you back to who you two really are. But, you each have the power to walk away, you each have the ability, you each decide every day, you are who I want to say good morning and goodnight to. You are home.
Lessons like, we give the whole world the benefit of the doubt, give it to each other and think the best of them too. Have them catch you praising them, praise them in public and praise them behind their back, and praise them to their face...praise them for their effort and praise them for loving you the way that they can.
Lessons like sometimes someone will love you with all they have, in the best way they can and it is not the way you "need" to be loved. There will be moments you will feel so lonely and unloved and you need to remember that feeling unloved is not the same as not being unloved. We all give and receive love differently and it is rare for it to match. Find what fills you full, communicate the hell out of it, and know they are doing their absolute best.
Lessons like after 18 years of us and on this day, 13 years after saying I thee wed, well, it's still us. Lovies, I found my person and I was so lucky. It came with such ease and grace in the beginning and I fell so hard for joy and love and laughter. When that ease faded and life got complicated, I got worried, but never your dad. He is always teaching me that it is always and forever us. Learn from the man who built a foundation that he knows will never crumble, he never doubts, he never wavers. He believes in us and because he is so confident, I do too. I have learned that family is the craziest ride of our entire lives and here we are. We have our seatbelts on, we have helmets secured, and we are not going to stop this ride for anything. My biggest lesson learned is that we are in this together and there is no breaking that.