Wedding Photos: Foster Light Studios
Shep's One Year Photos: Danielle Heinson Photography
Back when I was just a wee lass, the better part of a decade ago, I spotted a dark-haired man with crazy stubble and rolled-up jeans. He had just started class at our university, and I pulled one of my friends aside. "You remember how we were talking about our type? Well - Stephen is my type."
Those rolled-up jeans with flip flops must have really caught my eye. (Ha!)
Fast forward a few years and we are planning our wedding. Falling in love with my husband was the best decision I have ever made - and yes, it was a decision. I tried to resist, but resistance was futile. Someone had bigger plans for us than I could have ever imagined that first day I saw him. By letting him love me, and loving him deeply in return, our marriage has become a firm foundation for our family. I have experienced healing and peace that I couldn't have without the partnership of my best friend.
I know, I know. It's sappy and flowery and lovey-dovey as all get out. But hey! We've made it five years; in today's society, that's not necessarily commonplace! I won't lie and say it's all been easy or fun. But there has been something beautifully clarifying about diving into the challenge of bringing two people together as one. Loving my husband has made me a better person.
Stephen reminded me today that we've been parents now for as long as we've been married without kids. Two and half years after our wedding, our son Shep was born. All that lovey dovey stuff about my husband? Yeah - this unconditional love for my child blows that sappy romance stuff out of the water! That isn't to say that I don't appreciate romance, or that I love my husband any less than before. It's just a unique kind of overwhelming affection that I struggle to describe. A mother's love for a child has no comparison; it is the measure against which all other loves fall short.
And yet, this child I loved so dearly has brought chaos and upheaval into our world. Even with blessedly well children, our lives have been turned upside down. The functional family of two quickly became a half-functioning family of three. We couldn't be happier that Shep is our son - and we're constantly amazed by the fruit born of our love.
When Shep was just one year old, I found out that I was once again pregnant. When Stephen walked into the door, I handed Shep the pregnancy test to give to his daddy. "Shep, show daddy what I got you to play with!"
And again, our rollercoaster ride took us for a loop-di-loop. Adding a second child made the manageable nearly impossible. My mental health suffered, which means the whole family suffered. Postpartum anxiety and depression threatened to derail us. But we consciously put in the work on our marriage. Year after year, we become more attuned to one another as partners, as co-parents, and as lovers. How could it possibly be that I love Stephen more today than I did five years ago? The joy radiated from my face. I felt like I was floating on air, and the man of my dreams had dreamt me to life. I had no idea the depth to which our love would grow.
While Rory burst into our world and exploded our routines, she gave us a renewed energy and sense of purpose. As possibly the happiest baby that ever babied, our daughter is a sweeter blessing than I could comprehend. Seeing Shep become a doting big brother has brought us all closer. I have no regrets.
In just a few weeks, we'll pass that halfway point in our marriage. From there on out, we'll have been parents longer than we have been a solo-team of husband and wife. There's no turning back now! But who would want to turn away from a love like this? Not I. Not ever.
Your wife forever