Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Comfort of 20 Years

Just over a month ago on June 26th, Stephanie and I celebrated 20 years of marriage.  In one sense it seems overwhelming.  I’ve realized it’s also a standard for comfort for me.

A lot has happened in 20 years.  We were young, but weren’t too young by most standards when we married.  I was already 29 years old and a captain in the Air Force, and Steph was just a few years behind me in age (although she undoubtedly looked much younger).  Relative to those who marry during, or right out of college, we had been around the proverbial block at least once or twice.

Time flies.  I can’t believe how fast 20 years has gone by, especially as I ponder that at 49 years old, we’ve been married for almost half my life.  It’s amazing and wonderful.  While I can easily remember life before we were married, those memories are mostly like the memories of a movie I saw.  They’re real, but the memories of life prior to our wedding are mostly absent of “tangible” emotion (if that makes sense).  The years after, however, are rich with the emotion and events of our lives together...our life together.  We’ve moved our household 10 times, traveled to and lived in a variety of places around the world, and 12 into the adventure our son was born as he joined us in our amazing journey.  Looking back at all that’s happened, all the moves and discussions about the stuff of life, the decisions we’ve made, our agreements and disagreements, all the things routine and exciting--it’s a bit overwhelming.  So much has happened in what now seems to be so little time.

And yet there’s comfort.  Even though time flies, somehow the past 20 years has seemed like a lifetime in the most positive way.  While time does fly, strangely at the same time it’s become foreign to me that there was a time before we were married, a time that I lived alone, did things alone, had no wife or son or in-laws.  The wonderful life I have today is almost the only life I remember with real emotion and passion.  It’s the long and delicious life, the full and complete life, that’s culminated in things that have nothing to do with houses, cars, places, etc.  The past 20 years has somehow quietly and firmly consumed all that I am, focused on my wife and our son, and our extended families.  All the rest very peacefully became the stage we’re on and the props that set the scenes we’ve experienced and enjoyed.  In the end, the past 20 years, married to the same sweet and amazing woman has taught, and brought me comfort.  At least a kind of comfort that didn’t exist before we were married.  Not that I was uncomfortable, but I’m somehow now more content and comfortable than I ever was before.  Life went from good to great, from tasty to exquisite, from black and white to full color, or perhaps from regular-def to high-def.  You get the idea.

So our 20th anniversary came and went, with the associated and heart-felt special events and a quiet evening alone while our son spent time with his grandparents, but the momentary celebration of our 20th year pales in comparison to the wonder and comfort the last 20 years has brought to and meant to my life.  I believe there’s truth in the statement that when we’re wed, the two become one.  I can’t think of a better way to describe it.  Without my wife, half of me would be gone; I can’t even imagine it, nor do I want to.  She is and continues to be the love of my life and the mother of our son, and I’ve probably failed in my attempt to explain how those very sterile words actually mean something more than words can say.  I trust that there are other husbands and fathers out there who know what I’m talking about.  I also hope this modest attempt to describe how something conceptual has quietly become real serves as an encouragement to someone out there who might be considering embarking on the same adventure in marriage.

And the only thing I can say to my amazing wife are these powerful and insufficient words:  I.  Love.  You.  Thank you for being my wife and the mother of our amazing son.  As long as it's with you, I can't wait to see what the next 20 years brings for us!

It’s great to be a dad!