I was nervous, not nervous because I was about to marry the man who would become my husband, my better half, my friend, my lover – nervous about the ceremony. Would it go off well? Would I trip? Would I forget my lines? Would someone sneeze at the wrong moment? Funny, none of those are important, but they seemed to be at the time. Notice I never asked, would this marriage survive? Would we be happy? Would he love me forever? I already knew the answer to those questions. My Schnooke was ingrained onto my heart the moment he locked eyes with me at that youth event. We were painting the walls of the youth room…and everything in it. We planned our wedding, I turned 19 and a few months later we were married, one day before his birthday (I did that on purpose so I wouldn’t forget.) Dressed in off-white antique satin with rose lace, tiara and veil from my Mother-in-law (yellowed with age just enough to match my dress), blue garter from my prom outfit, fake press-on nails for up close hand pictures, suits with tails for the men; anticipation. Wedding march playing, stepping down the aisle veiled to everyone, awaiting the moment when the veil was lifted and I was presented to the one standing at the altar ready to confess his love for me and mine to him in front of God and family.
I, Liese, take you, James, to be my lawfully wedded husband, secure in the knowledge that you will be my constant friend, my faithful partner in life, and my one true love. On this day, I reaffirm to you in the presence of God my sacred promise to stay by your side as your faithful wife in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, as well as through the good times and the bad. Whether near to me or far away physically, you are always in my heart.
I further promise to love you without reservation, comfort you in times of distress, encourage you to achieve all of your goals, laugh with you and cry with you, grow with you in mind and spirit, always be open and honest with you, and cherish you for as long as we both shall live.
Today marks the day that I’ve been married half my life; it’s an important day for me. It’s a milestone and the years that pass will never be like this one – the day I have spent half my life with the one who was made for me. That sounds cliché’, but in our pre-martial counseling that we had to take which was made up of lots of tests and talking to our pastor about them and life, children, our dreams and goals – we found out something. At the end our pastor said he’d never seen two such diverse people who seemed to be made for each other. James was the lock and I was the key, those differences that our pastor saw are the hills and valleys that make up who are, but not just who we are individually, who we are together. My love was crafted just for me, down to the difference of our love languages; he was made to surprise me, comfort me, and stand beside me. We can learn in those differences too. I have learned how to speak a totally different love language than I want to receive and that is a good thing. It is still funny when I see examples of our mind melding and I think, see how we are alike? When we IM there will often be a phrase or sentence that pops up on the screen twice – once from my computer and once from his. 7,000 miles can’t infringe upon the awesome link that we hold with each other, amazing.
Fast forward a few years, my love has given me the gift of life. Two become one and then a family is born. I give my love his first born, a son. How we cherish this, our first, our son. Then, later, I give my love three girls, all who have their Daddy wrapped around their fingers and who share his love language. They are part of our anniversary because they are a part of us.
Life is good. We work, my love toils, he gives us a home. Not this house with walls and floors, but a home. We move to Colorado, not to get away, but to find us. To stand on our own and live.
This is the first anniversary that my Schnoooke and I have been apart. Even the year that Hannah was born and he was up here and I was in Texas, he still drove through the night to be there for me. 7,000 miles away he is feeling alone, but he is closer to my heart than ever, he is my love. Every year from now on, I will have been married more than half my life. And all I can say is… the best is yet to come.
Letters from Balad to Denver and from Denver to Balad have flown with reckless abandon since March. Even though we are separated by time, an ocean, mountains, desert and other physical features, our hearts have grown closer. In an age where we can Skype and IM, I cherish these bits of paper that encase words written by my Schnooke to me. They are a testament of his love for me, simple letters, but written with desire and longing.
By the time James sees this – it will be his Birthday in Balad time. So, I guess I can post the contents of our anniversary/birthday box now.
We made package covers like we did for the Dharma box, only this time they said ‘Schnookeversary blend’ and ‘Birthday blend’. He has patiently waited for over a week to open it (my theory, if you put Happy Birthday/Happy Anniversary on the outside of the box – it gets there faster.)
Hope you like it!
I love you.