The evening that we became husband and wife, first, feels like lightyears ago and second, it was. Haha.
We were just babies. For real yo.
We were 18 and 4 weeks from Cale leaving for Basic. Those weeks were literally like a Nicholas Sparks movie. It was dreamy and intense. So much was happening and changing all at once. We were married, free and yet held this gloom above us knowing he was leaving.
Good bye was coming.
Most of that first year Cale was in Basic and AIT. After his return home, we had a larger ceremony with everyone in our lives that we loved so much. The first ceremony was very small just to make everything official.
We left 10 days later for the adventure of the Army and all that was going to come with it. We had no idea how we would grow and learn and be challenged that first year-like any marriage, with the addition of long distance and Army curve balls.
We arrived at Ft Drum the day after Thanksgiving that year and on Monday Cale came back to the hotel and broke the news that the beginning of February he was going to be deploying.
Our first anniversary Cale was gone. He had ordered a necklace and had it mailed to me. It was hard and it stunk but God had already begun surrounding me with friends that very quickly became family. We were going to make it.
Our second anniversary he was still gone. I had gone to Africa for 6 months, came back spent some time in Washington and a week before he was coming back to me, he was extended. Ouch.
So...we were still a part.
I remember thinking this was probably the hardest thing we were going to have to face and we were going to get through it and be just fine.
Our third anniversary he was home! Hallelujah! We were together!
I actually don't remember the day at all. I'm sure it was wonderful though...haha.
I know from the time he had returned home until he left again was bliss. We loved being together, we laughed a lot and we always had fun-even doing little meaningless things like going to Walmart for ice cream.
We talked a lot that year about what it meant to serve God with our whole life. We talked about when we would start a family and the kind of dad he wanted to be. We talked about his dreams and the things he looked forward to. He was being shaped into the man that he wanted to be and I was the one who had a front row seat to watch it happen. We both kept saying exciting things were ahead.
Our fourth anniversary you were gone again.
I had gone back to Washington and I missed him terribly. I no longer felt like I fit there, yet it was home. I just ached without him. God was growing me and working deep in my heart. Towards the end of the deployment, I spent 30 days set aside from "busy" and spent time seeking God, being alone more and preparing my heart for his return home and all that God had for us.
We both knew big things were coming.
We felt ready.
Our 5th anniversary my hand held his as tears filled my eyes. I had made sure to wear a cute outfit for him in case he decided to suddenly come out of his coma. He laid there on the bed, moving his body randomly and without purpose. My heart was heavy for him; heavy for us.
We had talked about this day just a little over a month prior and there was no mention of him fighting for his life. No mention of him not registering that I was in the room with him. No mention of me helping the nurse roll him over to change his brief after he had wet himself. There was no mention of the tubes that came out of his body and the way I learned to pour liquid into a tube to feed him.
No mention of the way my heart felt lonelier than it had the whole time he was across the ocean even though he was in the same room as me as I was sitting there holding his hand.
I was still saying "I do."
I did choose him even though a doctor looked at me one day and let me know how severe the situation was. He said it was really wonderful to see me by Cale's side but that I should start thinking about moving on.
I was still saying, "I do."
Our 6th anniversary we were about to leave the hospital! It was SO exciting. We were able to go to dinner and spend an evening with friends. We were once again on the brink of exciting things!
Heres a little video for you to enjoy from that day :)
Our 7th anniversary we were in California visiting friends AND we went to a Red Wings game! Woot Woot!
Our 8th anniversary we were back in the hospital. Don't worry, Cale had some help to make it super special :) We were in the middle of conquering big things in our journey. Every day in the hospital at that point was so worth it and so needed.
Our 9th Anniversary we were about to have a BABY!!!!!! I can't even believe it. This was wild. Wild that we were at the point in our life to become responsible for another human. Whoa.
There was a LOT of excitement and fear and unknown but I knew, we were going to be just fine.
Our 10th anniversary I had planned that it would be awesome. Like, a trip to somewhere incredible...instead we were home with our sweet girl. Can I be honest, I don't remember the day. I don't know if we went out to eat or if we went for a walk-no memory. And apparently I didn't document on social media anywhere. Darn me.
This season in our life was so wonderful. We were parents to the sweetest girl. We were doing it together.
Our eleventh anniversary was a humdinger.
We had moved and so we celebrated in our new home in North Carolina. Wow. That was unexpected. Want to know something else unexpected...
...I was pregnant with our SECOND baby.
Oh my goodness.
Oh my gooooooodness.
I had literally found out a week before. My head was spinning and I was so very happy. Like, stupid happy.
Were we crazy?
Eh, maybe a little.
I was in a little blissful world and butterflies were fluttering around. I was pregnant...and nauseated all of the time. Ha.
Our 12th anniversary was a fun light day. We even had Mama and our two littles join us for dinner out. This 12th year, like I mentioned on the last post, yanked my heart around a little more than I liked but also know I needed.
I questioned our marriage.
Remember I said no more lies?
Well, apparently that means I'm laying it all out there.
I had moments this last year that I questioned mine and Cale's marriage. I questioned it-not wanted to end it. I struggled more with the way brain injury comes between every part of us and unlike previous years when I seemed to be able to embrace it easier, I continually fought it.
Healing needed to happen.
I didn't want to share all the grit. I let some of it slip here and there with people close to me, but even the closest to me didn't know where my heart was.
It was me and the Lord.
Today, we celebrate our 13th anniversary. What a beautiful day to celebrate as I feel like with winter ending (for some reason North Carolina has NOT gotten the memo...!) and Spring arriving, my heart is blooming as I look into the eyes of my man.
I'm embracing again.
I'm still saying, "I do."