Being married ten years is no small feat. You would think that with all the writing I do, I would be able to adequately--or more than adequately--capture what my heart feels after ten years of marriage. But the truth is when it comes to romantic words, Jason is far and above better than I am. He gets the perfect card every year, and writes the perfect message. Me? I sometimes don't even get a card, that's how horrid I am.
And yet, ten years later he still loves me. Still loves it when I dress up. Still loves it when I fix him spaghetti with browned butter and mizithra cheese. Still loves it when I remember to plug the cell phone in at the end of the day instead of making him hunt through my purse (or diaperbag or backpack or car) to find it.
And I still love him. Gosh, how I love him.
This weekend, when I was driving him home after he finished up the Hood to Coast relay in Seaside, I was lamenting our current situation of a real estate investment gone very bad. I was having a moment of bitterness (and, dare I say, fist shaking at God), and Jason said, "But we've learned that even when it's hard, even when we're facing the most difficult thing ever, we're still okay. We're not strained, we're not angry at each other, we're not fighting. We're okay."
We are. And at the end of the day, it's just money we've lost. I won't lie and tell you that I've suddenly become okay with not being able to pay bills, or have a backyard, or extra money for a vacation. Disappointment is still disappointment. Despite all that, Jason reminds me that we have each other, we have our health, we have our kids, we have jobs we love, we have a faith that is greater than either one of us. We have what matters. After ten years, I'm still learning this lesson. I'm still learning to be content with what I have, which is a lot.
You may well ask, what does all this have to do with dragging out my wedding dress, putting it on, and romping through a creek? How on earth does my ten-year anniversary have anything to do with Trashing the Dress?
For me, it has to do with remembering. When I put on that dress I was awash in memories of our day ten years ago, feeling like the most beautiful woman in the world marrying the most handsome man in the world. I remember the feeling of expectation and excitement, of wonder and wonderfuls. I wasn't worried about the house we would live in, or stressed about what lesson plan I would put together for my class. I was in the moment and very in love.
It's good to remember that and allow the warmth of those memories to melt away some of the struggles that have tormented me over the past few years. In truth, not all the creases around my eyes are from laughter, and not all gray hairs are just from age. I have at times forgotten the feeling of hope and expectation, but putting on that dress and wandering along the creekbank of my childhood helped me remember the joy of being a bride and living in the moment. I was reminded that every day love is not only within my reach, but in my arms in the form of an amazing husband, a smiling toddler, a giggling baby.
Another main reason why I did the whole TTD thing has to do with a storybook that I'm putting together for Jason. Since he reads my blog, then I won't give the surprise away, but when it's finished I'll show you what I came up with.
Until then, I will tuck away the fear that you'll find it absolutely vain that I'm linking some photos here and focus on what it is that I really want to share, which is this: True love is real, and the face that you see in these photos is the face of someone who has found love and is blessed to experience it every day of her life.
*A million thanks to my SIL Sarah for taking the photos and wading through the creek with me. She took over 350 photos (she's not timid about that photo button!) in 75 minutes and made the experience just as fun as could be. Any compliments of the photos should go directly to her.*