13 years and counting
Loveys, it's my anniversary. Thirteen years ago today, the Jeffster and I said, "I do." All in all, we've been together going on seventeen years, which sounds like a very long time. And it is. Still, I've been Brandy Bruce for thirteen years as of today. (In case you're wondering, I used to be Brandy Brumble. I remember when I first joined Facebook, a lot of my friends were including their maiden names so old friends could find them. I thought about it for one half second. Brandy Brumble Bruce. Not happening.)
Jeff kept asking me over and over what we were doing for our anniversary. I kept shrugging and saying, "Meh, it's just thirteen years. Not a big deal, right?" Ten years felt like a big deal. Fifteen years sounds like a big deal. Thirteen years sounds like an in between kind of thing. Still, Jeff was relentless about asking. He's one of those wise husbands who always likes to be prepared when it comes to holidays and anniversaries. Should he get flowers or what? The answer is always YES. But other than that, to be honest, this year is kind of a meh year. Linc has been down with the flu. A Monday is a difficult day to get a sitter. We just spent literally hundreds of dollars on medicine for our kids (I wish I were kidding. It was cry-worthy). My feet are killing me (recovery is not going well. Prayers appreciated. It's a really hard time and it's discouraging).
So, it's not a year of trips and jewelry and adventure. It's a Tamiflu and baby-not-napping and enchiladas kind of night. I could try to convince you that all of that is romantic. But it's not. It's just real life.
And I'll take it.
Because real life together is what we signed up for thirteen years ago. It's babies and messes and pain sometimes. It's where we are and where we live. I would choose it all over again. Hear me. Hard days. Exhaustion. Disappointment in each other. Forgiveness. Laughter. Birthday parties. Easter baskets. Mountains of laundry.
I love him.
He loves me.
We keep holding on for dear life.
I'm grateful. I'm grateful because being married to Jeff means that I have a safe place to fall. It means I have someone in my corner. It means I have a partner when it comes to raising these babies we've made. It means that when nothing works out and I'm very discouraged, I've got him and that makes everything okay. I've got someone to curl up against at night. I've got someone to hold hands with while I'm watching Downton Abbey.
Honestly, thirteen years ago I had no idea how hard marriage can be sometimes.
I just knew I loved him and he loved me.
Here we are. Three kids, one orange cat, and a mortgage in Colorado.
Life is a gift. It was only last weekend that we were at our friend's memorial service, feeling basically devastated for her family. I'll hold on a little tighter and count my blessings today, lovey.
We've made it thirteen years and we're holding on and keeping the faith. We've got a family and a home and it's good stuff.
Still. It's real life over here. Linc has the flu. Lily took her first steps this past week. And who doesn't like enchiladas for dinner?
I could just about cry at this moment. It's my anniversary and I'm grateful for my husband and my children and life. (And our sweet Sam can babysit on Wednesday, so we'll get to squeeze in a dinner date after all.)
When I think about where we are now--I know these few things: No marriage is perfect. They all take a lot of work, and sometimes things don't work out. Love is not always enough. There's more to it than that. But . . . love is a good place to start. It keeps you reaching for each other when times are hard. Romance, even if it's not a romantic getaway or expensive gifts, is still vital for your happiness. For both of you. He needs romance too. Laughter is so important. Grace is so important. Self-care is important. Gratitude is important. Being there for each other matters in a deep way. Choosing each other over and over.
I'm sure, thirteen years from now, I'll have a lot more to add to that list.
This is where we are now.
It's a good life.
I think back over my life with Jeff--driving around in that hot-rod truck, hanging out at Michelle's house, eating at the Applebees by our townhome in Lynchburg (a million times), watching the OC and holding hands, traveling through Europe, that tiny cabin we stayed in on the Caribbean cruise, bagels and cream cheese in Williamsburg, making snow angels in the middle of the night in Colorado, holding Ashtyn in the hospital room and realizing that the two of us were now the three of us--so many moments that I never want to forget.
Thirteen years and counting, lovey. It's not easy, but I'll take it and I'll thank God for it.
Love is a beautiful thing.
I was watching our wedding video and thought I'd share some of it here. Keep in mind, loveys, this was back in the olden days, pre-Pinterest and such. :) It's just a little glimpse of a couple of young things getting married thirteen years ago.
Jeff, I love you, honey.