15 Years.

September 21, 2017

I remember my mom encouraging us to wait.  “Maybe after he finishes college?”  She didn’t waste too much time on the topic, knowing we weren’t going to listen.

I remember a server at my wedding reception sneaking me a glass of champagne, and then getting carded for an R rated movie on my honeymoon.

I remember moving into our first (pretty crappy) apartment together in Colorado Springs and how thrilled I was that it had a fireplace.  I remember our (also crappy) metal futon couch and our (the crappiest) falling-apart vehicles.  I also remember how happy we were that day.

I remember struggling so much that first year.  Trying to make ends meet (unsuccessfully) & living across the country from all our friends & family.  Fighting.  A lot.  Crying in my car wondering what kind of horrible mistake I had made.  Maybe mom was right.

I remember moving back to the Cincinnati area, tail between our legs, after what felt like a failed first year as a married couple.  Broke and frustrated.

I remember settling into good jobs & a new apartment.  Then we moved to another apartment because our neighbors were too loud.  We did that a lot.

I remember calling 911 in the middle of the night when you were working the late shift because I thought we had a gas leak & my death was imminent.  I remember calling you, freaking out, telling you to come home – and the firemen bringing out to me a plastic spatula that I had let fall to the bottom of the dishwasher that was burnt up, smelly, and the culprit of my fear.  Oops.

I remember walking to our car to go to work together, navigating the fresh snow and packed ice on the ground.  I (sort of) remember falling – and remember waking up again to you shaking me and yelling my name.  So afraid for me.

I remember the dogs.  We really tried on that dog thing.  I remember giving up after the 4th adopted dog and deciding kids had to be easier.

I remember figuring out I was wrong.

I remember all the nights of you studying.  My God, I thought college would never end.  I remember feeling like we’d go weeks without seeing each other, but knowing you were doing it for the good of our family.

I remember moving to Oklahoma to try something new and live near your family.  I remember the first temp job I had there & how no one talked to me for 2 months.  I remember how lonely I felt, and then realized how lonely you must have felt living away from your family all the years prior in Cincinnati.

I remember deciding to try out “that photography thing” and falling in love with it.  I remember you telling me to pull the trigger on buying a website & new equipment, and also saying “I really hope you stick with this & it’s not like the dog thing.”

I remember walking into a hospital room together, not fully understanding how much our lives would change when we walked back out.

I remember watching you hold our first baby.  I remember your tears.  I remember your big hands fumbling that tiny baby bottle to feed him.  I remember feeling like my heart was going to actually explode with love while watching you two bond.

I remember the sleepless night.  Oh, the sleepless nights.  I remember trying to figure out parenting together.  I remember the confusion.  I remember you changing middle of the night diapers & watching NYPD Blue reruns on the couch with our baby at 2am when he decided to be (wide) awake.

I remember not showering for… well, a long time.  I don’t quite remember too much from this period of life – but I do remember that I constantly looked like a train wreck (see aforementioned sleepless nights).  I remember you never mentioning how rough I looked.

I remember that time my friend & I convinced you how great you’d look with a shaved head, and then taking a razor to your scalp.  Sorry about that.

I remember deciding to move back to Cincinnati after your company tried to move us to St. Louis.  I remember that you were kind of keen on St. Louis but I hated the idea.  You let me pick.

I remember buying our first house.  After years of living in apartments or rental homes, we had a place with our name on it.  I remember the (exhaustive) search and finally agreeing on a place together.

I remember babies two and three.  The (miserable) pregnancy and the (miserable-r) birth.  I remember you holding my hand through all million-hours of labor.  I remember you telling me how strong I was.  I remember thinking you were a liar.

I remember watching you with two babies at once.  Watching big brother with the little brothers.  I remember my heart actually hurting with love to see all my boys together.

I remember realizing that all the books that say that women are better at multi-tasking were totally right.

I remember learning to love late nights of movie or tv-show binge watching with you.  I remember having to change my mindset on what “date night” consisted of, while I hit pause every 20 minutes to check on a fussy baby.

I remember the final pregnancy and how scary it was.  I remember you being the calm one while I panicked.  I remember the days in the hospital leading up to her birth and your voice soothing me during surgery.  I remember you telling me how tiny she was while they whisked her off to the NICU.

I remember you staying at the hospital all night long with her.  Rocking and reading.  Reading and rocking.

I remember bringing her home & the moment that I (finally) had my family of 6 all under one roof.

I remember buying a new house & moving again.  And swearing we weren’t doing that again.  (So far, so good.)  I remember being so excited for the new place & you letting me do whatever I wanted in terms of decorating without having to pass anything by you.

I remember watching you with our little girl as she grows.  Teaching her to not be afraid and to like dirt and sticks.  I remember the look of terror on your face the first time she cried just because she didn’t like the way you glanced at her.  Get used to that.

I remember you taking all our kids for hike upon hike.  Teaching all of them to tie their shoes, dry themselves off after a shower, load the dishwasher, take the trash out, read a book, and skip a rock.  You teach them independence in a way that I’m horrible at.

I remember the first time I watched you shoot a wedding with me.  Watching you help my brides, bringing them water & holding their bouquets.  Letting me bite your head off when I was stressing and needed you to do something.  I think that’s still the only time I can get away with being so bossy to you.

I remember the countless number of times I’ve needed a hug and you’ve given one.  How you’ve said “I’m sorry” more easily than I have.  The times that something really wonderful or really awful has happened & you’re the first person I want to talk to.  The times that we’ve walked through (actual) hell together and managed to just grasp each others hands tighter.  The times I needed to travel & explore something just for me & you letting me go.  The times you’ve fought for me.  The times you’ve fought for our family.  The times you’ve been a complete moron all for the sake of a laugh when you can tell I need one.

I remember walking down the aisle to you 15 years ago today.  Knowing we were young, but knowing that just meant we would grow up together.  And we have.

Happy anniversary.

3 Comments on 15 Years.

  1. Mom

    September 21st, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    I could not be more proud of the two of you. I love watching you both grow together over the years. For the record, I was wrong. You two are awesome together and I love you both dearly! 😘

  2. Mandi (Amanda Bess)

    September 21st, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    I can’t even finish this blog because I’m at work and my eyes are all blurry with tears. This is such a beautiful tribute to the hard times in life and how beautiful they become. Happy anniversary, Amanda dear. xo

  3. Angie

    September 21st, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Oh my gosh Amanda you are really good with words. I remember you guys getting together during YWAM and thinking wow they are going to make it all the way, and to me 15 years tells me I was right! You guys are both super awesome and I can only imagine how awesome your kiddos are. Congrats on 15 years!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

the list

get the latest news