Fifteen Years. We've only just begun.

May 18, 1996 at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, I made the very best decision of my life. I married this man. This man who promised to love me through it all. And has kept his word every step of the way.

I have struggled this year with what to *do*. It's a gift year. In fact, its the year you give a watch. (I don't make up the rules). But the thing is, that after all these years, I know that Shawn would not have the slightest use for a watch. No matter how fancy or how well it kept time. In fact, there are two things working against me in this desire to give a gift. Number One, I am a lousy gift giver. It's just a fact. Shawn has always known just what I would love, and surprises me every year on all the important dates. He's just magical at it. And I am not. I struggle every year to surprise him with something fabulous and I have never succeeded. (Well there was that one time in 1996 at Christmas, but jeez, we were newly weds and poor. A gift at all was a surprise back then). Number Two, Shawn just buys what he needs. And often what he wants (and he doesn't want for much, and when he does it involves technology that I cannot begin to understand). So that leaves me sort of in a lurch when it comes to gift giving.

I am good at saying what I feel. And writing. So I thought I would start off with that. It's not much. But it's from my heart, and he's always been good at knowing my heart.

In fifteen years we have been through more than most people in 50. For starters, we were pioneers in this internet dating stuff, in 1995 half the people we told would hear our story and follow up with "What is the internet?" And we married in a hurry. Met in October, married by May. And that was the easy part. He almost died on me. Twice. There was birth of two children. I supported him through school. Twice. He has supported me in school. (technically only once). Jobs, and job losses. Sickness and  health. The loss of his mom, and my grandparents. The acquisition and loss of beloved pets. Home buying. Home selling. Home building. Moves. Across town, and across the country. And back again. Fights big and small. Heartache and moments of such profound love you just feel like you fell into a black hole. We've grown older. A few more lines on our faces. More gray hair than we would like to admit. We are a little softer. A little more gentle. A little wiser. We grew up together, so much changes between 20something and almost 40. But we managed to show up and hang on, and keep on keepin' on.

Some days fifteen years feels like a lifetime. It feels like I've never not known Shawn, or loved him. And it feels like I know everything about him, what he likes and doesn't like. What he needs before he needs it. That I can anticipate what's coming at every turn. And there is great comfort in that. In knowing. In feeling settled.

 And other times it seems like I've only just met this man that I love, and he surprises me with something I didn't know. I love that even after all this time there is room to learn more. That there is still some mystery to him, to US, to what we have. I'm never bored, even when I'm content. We still make each other laugh. We still know how to hold a hurting heart gently and keep it safe until it heals enough to make a go of it on its own again.

Every day I wake up next to Shawn, and I'm so happy he is next to me. I think that my level of gratitude for this simple thing is something that I gained through all that "in sickness" part. So many times I have had to sleep alone while he has been in a hospital fighting to come home to me. And so no matter how simple it may seem to some, or how cheesy it sounds, it is just a pure and honest truth. And its one I never take for granted.

Shawn, thank you for the  best 15 years of my life. I cannot begin to even imagine my life without you in it, and I look so very forward to the next 15. I love you. Always.


Katie said...

Ah! Happy anniversary you guys!

Helena said...

Happy anniversary!