Saturday, August 9, 2014

Choosing Love

On Thursday, Mr. B and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary.  I am having a hard time believing that ten years have passed so quickly.  Truly it feels like just a couple of years ago that I put on a pretty ivory dress and said “I do”.  The day after our wedding when we packed up a U-Haul and left for our new lives in North Carolina seems just as recent.  I can still taste the salty tears that streaked my face as we drove east, feeling homesick for the family I’d never been away from for longer than a weekend.
Brand new love.
Ages 18 and 20.
Alpha Gamma Delta Christmas Formal.
Engagement Photo: Ages 19 and 21.

If I had to describe the last ten years in just a few words – this is extremely difficult, because Lord knows I’m anything but brief – I think I would say “choosing love”.  When we are adolescents, before we even realize that our parents’ marriage is setting an example for us, we only consider Hollywood romance as our goal for love and marriage.  Ridiculous scripts that include stupid advice about love meaning never having to say you’re sorry, and how a boy worth crying over will never make you cry.  I got married at the age of twenty, Mr. B was twenty-two – five years and three years, respectively, before scientists say our brains fully developed – and we had so. much. to. learn.
Maybe my favorite picture of us.
But learn we did.  And through all of the arguments (and maybe one thrown bowl of waffle batter), we chose love.  We chose to apologize when necessary – though not always quickly.  We learned to honor one another.  We learned to not engage in spouse-bashing.  We learned not to put one another down, particularly in front of other people.  We learned that not every difference of opinion is worth arguing about (this one probably took the longest).

I learned that his love for me is truly unconditional.  Because as I look back at the pictures of myself during cosmetology school, I did some really stupid shit to my hair.  And even though at one point I had flaming red hair that I can only describe as angry-looking, and borderline Mimi (from the Drew Carry Show) makeup, he had me by his side like I was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen – even though he was probably praying that this phase would be short.
Check out that hair!
Cosmetology School Graduation Party
Caribbean Cruise, 2006. 

And we learned to be parents together.  We started with our sweet Daisy Louise.  Four and a half years later we welcomed our mini-human, Little K.  Four and a half years after that (just few months ago) we adopted our lab, Ruby Sue.  We have learned patience, existing on sleep deprivation, speaking kind words, teaching by example, kissing boo-boos, and being firm-yet-fair.  I learned that there is nothing sexier in a husband (besides a well-fitting suit) than watching him be an excellent father.
A crazy picture on an evening when Little K was being particularly trying.

We've also been through heartbreak together.  We have offered shoulders and support when grief was literally too much to bear.  We have lost grandparents and friends, left jobs, abandoned careers, left friendships as we moved cross-country and back.  We have watched dreams become impossible and have seen hopes become nothing more than wishes.  We have fought the battle of infertility together, and together decided when the battle was too much.
My 10-year High School Reunion.
Halloween 2012
Mexico 2013.
More than that, we have been each other’s cheerleaders.  Standing at the finish line – twice – while Mr. B ran the last strides of his half-marathons have been some of my proudest moments as his wife.  He supported me through my weight-loss (and is just as encouraging as I am climbing that hill once again), and has cheered me on and encouraged me with CrossFit and writing.
Halloween CrossFit WOD 2013.

I’m thankful that trust is something that we’ve never had to battle.  Though we are both bullheaded and strong-willed, we are also insanely loyal and honest.
KU Basketball Game 2014.

I was almost shocked to realize that I have now been a Butcher for a third of my life.  Mr. B and I had this conversation:

Me: You know what, Babe?
Mr. B: What’s that?
Me: Not a lot of people our age will get to celebrate their 50th and 75th anniversaries, since people are getting married so much later now.  We will get to do that.
Mr. B: Yep.
Me: Unless I kill you first.
Mr. B: Nice.
Me: Kidding.  I just think that’s really cool.  We will probably be sort of a rarity by then.
Mr. B: No you’re right.  That is cool.
Me: Although being a rarity is something I’m completely used to.  You’ll have to learn to adjust.
Mr. B: That’s the truth!

Our marriage isn’t perfect by any means, no marriage is.  But I know that we have a foundation of trust, and sarcasm, and we share a common faith.  And I know that no matter what, we will both always, always choose love.
Happy 10th Anniversary!

I love you more than anything, Mr. B.  Even ten years after saying “I do”, I still do, and I always will.  Thank you for being mine, and for always keeping me In Good Company.


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