19 years ago today we stood in a church on a cold rainy day, much like today, and said our vows. Who knew what lay in store for us in the coming years? Would we stand the test of time? We faced the unknown together, holding hands, with smiles and tears.
Who knew that when we met, we would actually get married? You with your strong dislike for me and my friends. Me with a bitterness towards men based on two bad relationships; I had given up on finding Mr Right at the ripe old age of 24. Funny how we thought we had it all together then; how we thought we knew what we wanted, or didn’t want. Yet there we were 2 months later, dating, getting to know each other, and falling in love.
Our first home, do you remember it? It sat just off of Hastings St in Burnaby and was a small one bedroom hole in the wall. Our closest neighbors a Iranian/East Indian couple who lived above us and who would occasionally send ethnic food down to us…oh the mystery of those meals. Then there were those nights that their music would keep us up at 3 in the morning, and you with the broom handle banging on the ceiling.
We moved around quite a bit in those first years – Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey. Remember the condo in New West? We had to constantly emphasize to people that we lived on Cariboo Street NOT Cariboo Road. Oh, and please take the elevator down one level to get to our floor. Once in Surrey, we lived in several homes until we were able to buy our own place just 8 years ago today. Oh the sense of accomplishment and the terror of finally owning our home. We took possession on our 11th anniversary and my dad was in there, like a dirty shirt, willing and able to help make changes and upgrades. I still remember walking in and seeing the debris field that was once a small wall in our kitchen and thinking, “the landlord’s gonna kill us!”
The coming years gave us our three children we have now, and saw us grieve for the child we lost. We wept together over that loss. We held each other up through it. You were my strength then and now. Even when I ended up going off on medical leave for mild depression, you continued to hold me up and our two children who were far too small to understand.
I remember you making the decision 16 years ago to concetrate on making film your career choice. The ledger we once used to work the budget for our wedding got a new life as the keeper of your hours and your supervisors as you worked towards your membership requirements for the union. Now all these years later, you’re still there and making a name for yourself as someone who works hard, can be trusted, and who the union leadership is now approaching to take on new responsibilites. This past year has shown all of this, from being asked to be part of the contract talks to becoming a pension trustee and now throwing your hat in the ring to sit on the executive at the request of the union president. I am so very proud of you.
The years flew by, the children grew, and life began to change. You stopped coming to church all the time, citing fatigue. I didn’t argue, but kept getting the little ones up, dressed and off we’d go. We started attending a different church, one your parents had started attending, and it was a big adjustment for us to go from the relative calm of the mennonite church to the rather raucous one of your parents, but adjust we did, and there we stayed, even when your parents moved on. That was 14 years ago, and now we are not only at home there, we are home. Our youngest has known no other and has run feral through its halls since she was old enough to walk; it is home.
We have weathered many storms together over the years, but the biggest ones occurred in the last 10 years. First there was your Mom, who was diagnosed with stage 4 Lymphoma in 2004. Together we fought the demons of cancer, yet 16 months later she went home to be with Jesus. We discovered tht death is never easy, even when it is expected. You decided you were going to read a Robert Munsch book titled ‘Love You Forever’ at her service. We sat and listened as you started the story, and then one by one we joined you up front, lending you our strength as you choked and sputtered bravely to the end of the book.
The next huge storm, occurred just a few years after that in 2007. You were off work for 7 months and I tried to pick up the slack by working 2 jobs; one full-time the other just shy of full-time. It was here that my faith took a beating but it drew you back to the Father’s heart. You were digging into his word, you started to faithfully come to church, you made the decision for us as a family to join a home group. Your faith grew by leaps and bounds, and in some small way I resented having to give over the high priest mantle that I had worn for so long. My faith in contrast had faltered and I wasn’t sure that God was even hearing us. Once again you became the strong one. You registered me for a course that I had wanted to take for a while, and over the next 2 years I found my stride again with you cheering me on all the way.
Those storms could’ve ship wrecked our marriage, dynamited it beyond all repair, yet they brought us closer. They gave both of us a greater appreciation of the third party that we invited into our marriage the day we said “I do”. I am conviced, beyond all measure, that it has only been because of God that our marriage has held strong and not broken apart as so many have.
Now here we sit 19 years later, and we aren’t done yet. There is still so much more to come. I look forward to seeing where God is going to take us, both personally, as a couple, and as a family. We are poised at the edge of something new and wonderful and I can’t fathom takign those steps forward without you by my side, holding my hand. I love you more now than I did all those years ago when I pledged to be your wife, and I couldn’t imagine loving you more then.
Happy Anniversay my Love.