12 years ago, I was 19. Almost 20. Not that it makes any sort of difference, really. I was young, and even though I’m only 31 now (which I tell myself is still young), 19 is actually, really, truly young. But I sure thought I was a grown up, felt like a grown up, and I was about to make a very grown up decision. 12 years ago, I walked down the aisle into the arms of this man, a man I was madly in love with, a man who loved me back, who loved God, who worked hard, who made me feel so safe, and who promised to love and cherish me for all of our days.
12 years ago, I never could have known what the future looked like.
I never could have known the number of tears that would fall that first year of our life together. I never could have guessed how many nights he would hold me tight as I cried, drowning in homesickness, wishing more than anything that I could be with the man I love and be with my friends at college. But I could not have both, not they way I wished. I had made my decision, my grown up decision to get married.
I never regretted my decision. Never. I knew even then that this man was something special.
12 years ago, I never could have known how much he would make me laugh. I knew he was funny, and I knew I loved his sense of humor, but living together, walking through life together, raising our children together has made me appreciate his humor even more.
I never could have known how much would frustrate me at times. I had no idea just how smart he was, or how information just sits in that brain of his, waiting for the perfect moment to rise to the surface which pretty much means that he’s never wrong.
12 years ago, I couldn’t have predicted how much my heart would explode as I watched him cradle our first son, our second son, and our first daughter. I knew he was a patient man (oh, do I need a patient man by side.) But to watch that patience translate into fatherhood is nothing short of amazing.
12 years ago, I made the best decision. I chose him then, and I choose him still today.
I love you, Derek.