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.

  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!!!!

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