Today I reflect on the last ten years because as a nineteen year old sophomore in college if you'd have asked me, "Where would you like to be in 10 years?" my answer would not have been...here on this stool with a baby literally pulling the pants off of my leg, drinking coffee at 4pm to keep me from falling asleep on the job, with my Bible study homework sitting out on the kitchen table scoffing at me for getting so far behind...on the first week.
Just goes to show you, nineteen year old college sophomores don't usually know what they're talking about.
If you asked me today where I'd like to be my answer would be a decided, "I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be." (Okay, that's kind of a lie. I'd rather be taking a shower. Without any kids staring at me through the glass door, but you get the point.) It's definitely God's craftsmanship that got me to where I need to be. But this isn't about me. This is about us.
Sam and I met in our first class at Mercer University. It was the 8am Calculus II class they stick the unfortunate freshman in because they get last dibs. We would have met anyway, even if we hadn't been on the same row in that class. After all, Mercer is not large, we were both engineering students, and we had mutual friends. It's just all too fitting that we would meet in that class. It makes me giggle. We didn't start dating immediately, but once we did, that's all she wrote. I knew. He knew. We were M.F.E.O. (Hahaha - Sleepless in Seattle, anyone?) By the summer break, we were hooked. There was nothing that could tear us apart. Except for that little thing called 800 miles between his home and mine. I'm so glad we had that. I never knew I'd be an old romantic, but during those few months apart (where we literally had a countdown until we were back to school), we wrote each other letters every single day. The USPS was in no financial danger that summer. Believe me. We both kept those letters, and they are safe in the attic of our home from any little kids' eyes. They're mostly PG. It's not that. It's just that some things of the heart are best kept in confidence. Maybe someday they can read them.
Yesterday, I was retrieving an old picture frame from the attic to line with pop tabs for our "aluminum/tin anniversary" and I came across those letters. I read one. I read another. I would have gotten sucked in, too, had it not been for the fact that I had given Abby a quarter to watch Leah while I retrieved said picture frame and after more than a minute or two I could hear lil' Leah squealing from the attic. (She was fine, by the way.) It filled my love tank. It was so wonderful to be taken back to that place of "new love" unjaded by the day-to-day. This year, I want to re-read them all. I want Sam to re-read them all. I want him to know that while my love for him may not be as much butterflies in the stomach and a need to fall asleep to the sound of his voice, it is every bit as real and every bit as strong after ten years.
I always knew Sam was exceptional. I always knew he was amazing with children. Endlessly patient. Unsurpassingly brilliant. Unwavering. Strong. Determined. Ten years has only confirmed those things. And it has revealed new things too. He tells the best jokes - and he doesn't stop because he knows he can always count on a laugh from me. He is confident and fearless. Did you know he built bunk beds from scratch? Completely remodeled a bathroom by himself? Designed and built a dream playground in our backyard? There is nothing this man can't do.
That includes staying married to this kooky girl for ten years. And forever.
I'm blessed to have found and held on to this man. I'm grateful for everything he is to me and this family - a provider, a source of stability in what can only be classified as quintessential chaos, and a leader, spiritual and otherwise.
You're a good man, Sam.
On that note...here's a little gift for you, a la summer of 2002.
Ten Things I Hate About You
I hate the way you face each trial
with patience and such poise.
I hate the way you sleep through
anything, four kids = noise!
I hate the way you don't say much
because then, when you do,
I know those words will pack a punch
and reveal a profound you.
I hate the way you listen
while I complain and whine and cry.
I hate the way you solve every problem
without even seeming to try.
I hate the way you turn my lemons
into lemonade every time.
I hate the way you forgive me for things
others would consider a crime.
I hate the way you find a way to
love us all each day,
Whether that means cooking dinner,
fixing things, or simply making time to play.
I hate the way you love me,
even when we've seem to hit a wall.
In all honesty, I don't hate these things.
Truth is, I love you - with my all.