Today as we celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary I find myself reflecting on the journey that got us here. What a ride it has been. The good, the bad, and the ugly. From where we came from to where we are, I'm certain we've needed all of those things to bring us to where we are today. Life needs balance and I know that there's nothing I would of learned about life without all that we have been through together. Sure we could of done without all of the heartache and sadness we've caused each other now and then, but the bottom line is we've loved each other more than we've disliked each other.
Like a day on the lake.
A few weeks ago we took a day for ourselves up at the lake where we enjoyed the sunshine, serenity and beauty of what surrounds us here in paradise. As I sat in my seat while Rob navigated the boat, I appreciated what I had around me. I paid attention to the little things, and the things that have kept me in my marriage for this long. There are so many little secret places on the lake that I've never had the chance to see before, and Rob took me to some of them that day. With my bad knee it made it a little difficult at times but he helped me through it.
We stopped at a small beach where we had to climb a bit of a mountain to get in behind under the canopy to get to something I've never seen up close before. The beauty of the hidden waterfall and the pool it emptied itself into with such grace and precision was a sight to behold. I know these places exist in the world but I've never thought I would see one with my own eyes. What I paid attention to though was how Rob held my hand to ensure my safety and to protect my knee so I could share in the things he enjoys every time he visits the lake with the dogs. He never left my side the whole way there and the whole way back.
Sometimes we've let our grip on each other slip and we've had to climb through life on our own, but when it matters most we hold on as tight as we can to make sure one of us doesn't fall off the mountain.
Getting into the boat was difficult with my short legs and big butt. Trying to climb over with one leg at a time wasn't conducive to what that may do to a girl so it became a little difficult. Rob lifted me when I needed him to so I wouldn't land in the water like a fish thrown back after a catch. Time for a drink and out comes a chilled bottle of wine that he had thought to pack for me. Perfect. Trolling for trout isn't his preferred way of catching the big one but he knows I like to spend my day in the boat doing just that. So that's what we did. He drove slow, taking his time and let me drag my line behind us while I slowly sipped my wine.
Sometimes one or both of us is a little slower at learning or accepting the things life throws at us and it's apparent that we've been able to slow down with each other when the situation asks us to.
Wham! I had the biggest fish on my line that I've ever caught before (or so it seemed) and man was I excited. The excitement of reeling it in and the anticipation of seeing it's size was taking over. But just as it got close to the boat, I lost it. I had never thought I would be that disappointed over a lost fish and so I was surprised at how upset I was that I couldn't land it in the boat. I mean, what if it was bigger than any fish Rob has every caught?
There have been many, many times that we've been so excited for things we were hoping for over the past 25 years, only to have them not turn out the way we had expected. Sometimes it can be so disappointing and draining to have gotten so close only to have to start all over, or to let that hope and dream fall away and carry on. LIke Tanner deciding he didn't want to be born a girl. So we let go of our hopes and loved him just the same anyway.
Three times I caught a fish and three times I lost it. Each time I stood up to reel Rob would shut off the motor and a couple of times when he tried to fire it back up it seemed it wasn't going to start again. Oh crap. Everything was going so smoothly. Why does this have to happen? Can't we just keep doing what we were doing without any issues. Of course not.
That's not how life works. If we didn't have some bumps and bruises along the way then we wouldn't have anything to learn from, to be prepared for the next time something like it happens. We need all that we go through to learn, grow and become stronger from. I swear I could be one of those weight lifter girls in the Olympics.
Off to another great little spot for the dogs to get off the boat, right beside a beautiful little waterfall that would be perfect to sit beside with a journal, a drink, and the sound of water to sooth my soul. I managed to maneuver the rocks and little crevices that I needed to so I could get to the perfect spot. And then I fell. Down onto the rocks and out of sight from Rob. It took about 10 steps across the rocks for him to be at my side to save me, and I knew he would be there.
No matter how bad it gets we know we will be right there beside each other when we need to be.
Back to casting his rod into the lake in hopes of catching his first fish of the day. A few casts later and his hook landed in a tree. Into the water, out to the branch to save his hook so he could carry on with what he was doing.
We've had a lot of snags in life but we always seem to find a way to work through them so we can pick up and carry on.
Time to head for home. I had put sunscreen on half of my exposed skin before the tube ran out. With the breeze caused by the speed of the boat it didn't seem the sun was as hot as it really was, and by the time we got back the other half of my body was burnt to a crisp. Ouch!
That's life. 50/50. Good and bad. Up and down. Balance.
Through all of the bad times there have been shoulders to cry on when we needed to talk ourselves through a mess we'd be in. So many times myself (and Rob too), I've wanted to just walk away and call it quits and needed someone to talk me out of it. (Or maybe to talk me into it?) I want to thank all of my wonderful friends and family for being there for me in life. You've been there to share in our good times too. You're the family we have hand picked to share in this life with us. I know there have been many times that others have wondered how we have stayed together for so long. We've wondered that a few times ourselves.
Our son's finance Kortney was sharing her disappointment on something with me one day, and when I gave her my answer she said, "But that's you, always finding the good in every situation."
That's the only way life works for me. I've finally learned that if I focus on the good (every situation has some) it's easier to put the bad stuff behind me.
Rob Darke, I want to take this moment to thank you for all of the good things you have brought to my life.
You've stood in front of a room full of strangers and told me you loved me for the first time. I believed you. Guys don't do that so publicly. And I believe you still. You married me. No one has ever done that before. You didn't want kids, and you gave me three out of the six I desired. Three of the most crazy, amazing boys a mother could ever ask for. You gave me that feeling of the most deepest love that I felt the moment each one of them was placed in my arms. You didn't give me my daughter but you let me put makeup on them and ponytails in their hair (when no one was looking of course).
You allowed us to stay in one place so our kids knew where to call home. You did boy things with them and you loved them too. You've worked hard at every job you've had and taken jobs sometimes just to make sure we could keep our heads above water. Sometimes you were a stay at home dad so that I could pursue the career I loved, and our boys didn't have to be placed in the care of someone who could never love them like we do.
You have always wanted to buy me a red convertible (even though I don't want one, but just because you could), or a pink hummer. You don't make me feel shy or embarrassed when I'm naked with the lights on. You take as much time as I need to experience pleasure and you bought me a vibrator for those long months we are forced to be apart. You stop in the middle of cooking a meal to dance with me in the kitchen because you know I love to dance.
You bring me my coffee every morning and my tea every night. You work hard at our new adventure to prove to me that I made the right choice jumping in with both feet to follow your dream. You laugh at me when I'm funny and comfort me when I cry. You've done the laundry and vacuuming for 25 years and you make sure all of the coffee and food stains are removed from my shirts.
You've handed me every one of your pay cheques because you trusted me enough to manage it for what we needed. You've allowed me to be the bread winner which has allowed our boys to be influenced by you and have you be present in their lives. You never once left my side or went to work when I was close to death with pneumonia.
You let me pull your hair and scream in your ear when we had our first child. You bought me a barbie for Christmas when I complained that there were never any girl toys under the tree to play with. You didn't get mad at me when I put a fishing hook in your arm and the doctor had to dig it out with a scalpel. You surprised me with a candle lit bath and strawberries and champagne (even though you forgot the bubbles for me to hide my body behind). You always tell me I'm sexy.
You've loved me just the way I am, I trust you and I love you too.
Happy 25th Anniversary!