13 years of "for better or for worse". (Boy, have we seen worse.)
13 years of "in sickness and in health". (Wow, have we seen sickness.)
13 years of "for richer, for poorer". (And man, we've seen, known, and written the book on poorer.)
13 years of "to love, honor, and cherish". (It's an honor to love and cherish you. . .)
13 years is a long time. 13 years is long enough to survive many things.
Things like the birth of three amazing daughters. . . buying a house. . . losing a house. . . buying another house. . .
Things like surviving a 12-month-old's 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 8% of her body, 4 nights in Detroit Children's Hospital, and a full year of scrubbing the wounds and then therapy suits 23/7 and weekly doctor appointments that led to monthly and then finally to "you've done well. There's no need to come back."
Things like gall bladder attacks so acute we thought it was a heart attack that Sunday morning during sound check. Then 4 days later having the surgery to remove the severely infected organ.
Things like many amazing theatrical performances, which equalled many nights with dad home with the kiddo(s), on his own.
Things like a 4-yr-old having to endure a tonsillectomy and the doctor instructing us to get her a cheeseburger on our way home from the outpatient surgery.
Things like breaking trust horribly only to turn into arms of complete forgiveness.
Things like moving away from our home state, to a place where we knew no one but our realtor.
Things like the discovery of a debilitating disease that spans from her parents all the way to all of our children, and the fight for our lives that it has warranted. . . after more than a year of searching.
Things like more than two years of painful blood tests, the myriad of medicines (including shots and PICC lines), the mountains of medical bills, and the pain and anguish of a life of disease.
Things like knowing our lives might never turn out like we thought they might, because of a tiny pathogen who has set up shop in the wife's body. . . and the kids' as well. . . and probably the husband's.
Things like our home being trashed most days of the year. . . Our cluttered mess fighting for our attention while the disease sucks the energy out of her. . . Her dreams of healthy activities trickling down the streams of illness and fatigue. . . His dreams of a normal life being pulled alongside hers...
And then there are things like laughter, bright sunny days, memories that have been built on sandy beaches, searching for the perfect "coconut phone" (he knows what I mean). . . Hammock imprints on his back after a rest in the tropical sun. . . Friday night fires with the kids. . . Great meals with great friends. . .
But when God joins two people together, make no mistake: even the very gates of Hell will not prevail against them!! We are here. We are going nowhere. We are committed to each other. And that is that way it will be. "Till death parts us."
I am so
God, thank You for providing for me in ways that I never would have ever thought necessary or possible. I will do my best to live every day of the rest of my life serving, cherishing, and loving him, My Sweet One.
"My Sweet One, I call you My Sweet One. . . You're my only true Sweet One. . . With my all, I call you My Sweet One. . . Far away, I'll say your name. . .
But with you, I'll travel thick, and with you I'll travel thin. . . And all the spaces in between, I'll travel with you, you're My Sweet One. . .
Oh, if you're ever unsatisfied with the way life's treating you, you know that you can count on me to take good care of you. I love you honey oh yes I do, you know that's true of course. And if your dog or cat ever dies, I'll buy you a ewe."
Come on! You will never hear such sentiment anywhere else!
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MY SWEET ONE. YOU'LL NEVER FULLY KNOW HOW AMAZING YOU ARE TO ME. HERE'S TO ANOTHER 13 YEARS TOGETHER, AND MORE. . .