|Our Krispy Creme donut cake.|
Just a couple of months before December 21, 2012, Dave had taken the day off of work to watch the kids, so that I could go to Denver and meet a friend and do some shopping. After shopping, I went to my parents house for dinner and when I was there, Dave called to check in to see if I had bought him some new digs and how the day went. We chatted a little about the adorable new clothes I bought and I said, I would leave after rush hour traffic had died down. When I got off the phone, I told my parents, "I just feel so lucky that I love my husband so much." Maybe that sounds weird to some of you. Maybe that just seems like it should be a given. But for all that Dave and I have been through, FEELING that I loved him, was not always a given.
I think that there were maybe two nights in our entire marriage that we didn't tell each other, "I love you," before we went to sleep, but there were many nights where I questioned whether I really did or not.
Our marriage started off pretty good. We made a pretty big rookie mistake, though, by buying a house that needed to be gutted and then put back together. We did ALL the work by ourselves, which left us with very little free time to do the things we did, back when we were dating. A day that we would go to the mountains to play, would be one more day without a toilet. At the time, I could tell you all the cleanest bathrooms in town, and as luck would have it, most of them just happened to be at Target.
What I didn't know at the time, was that Dave was a task man. If you know me, I am NOT a task woman. I love to play and chit chat and throw the frisbee and laugh. I don't like to paint trim, take 16 trips to Home Depot in one day (and that is not an exaggeration), or refinish hardwood floors. Overall, that first year was spent on tasks, but not really growing into a flourishing marriage. It was fine, though, and things continued to be pretty good for a few years, with the occasional upswings and the occasional downswings. One last thing, about that cute little Custer house, while I have mixed feelings about it, I will say that I am beyond thankful for all of Dave's hard work on it, because it allowed us to live where we live now. So, thank you, Dave, if you can read this.
The years went on and we had Spencer and Leah, and our marriage went from fine to not so fine. For quite some time, I could point to other reasons why it was shaky. From working on the Custer house, to having a newborn, to having two kids, to a health scare with Leah, to sleepless nights, to a stressful move, to a special $20,000 home repair as soon as we bought our new house, etc . . . But then we had a stretch of stress free living and our marriage didn't seem to be bouncing back. So, in February of 2010 we darkened the door of a marriage counselor that, paired with the sweet grace of Jesus, would change the course of our marriage.
Then one average Saturday, dressed in black and purple, we were getting ready to leave for the Rockies game when the most unexpected conversation in the whole world began to ensue. Over the course of the next hour, we waved the white flag, laid our band-aids down and revealed it all. We wept, we talked, God's grace poured over each others reactions, we fell in love with the whole of each other, and then we left to cheer on the Rockies with raw hearts and a bit of wonder over what just happened. Our lives and our marriage changed in that one Saturday afternoon, never to go back to the way it was. Our marriage began to grow fruit, laughter, fun, life, and love.
We continued with marriage counseling for the next year, learning how to rebuild our marriage in a healthy way. We had started counseling sitting so far away from each other on that little maroon couch, but by the end, we looked forward to having that time to be together and to talk about our relationship. This is where I get a little teary. I just can't explain to you all how proud I am of Dave for the work he put into our marriage. He could have waved the waved the white flag, picked back up his band-aids and headed for the door, but he never missed a counseling session, when he had every excuse in the world to put work ahead of it. He worked diligently to do what our counselor suggested, and most importantly, he dared to trust me with every single little piece of him, for which I am so grateful and so proud.
For years, I would read others' facebook posts about their undying love for their husband. How they were married for 15 years and how every single day had been cupcakes and rainbows. I would either think one of two things: they are so lucky OR they have to lying. But the time came when I felt like I could write something like that on facebook and not feel like I was pretending. Then I thought, Dave never checks facebook and I don't want others to think I am lying, so I'll skip that just tell him. So, a few months before he died, at our kitchen table, I confessed my facebook post to him and said, "I have so much fun with you. There was a time . . . " He interrupted and said, "Thanks a lot," in a light hearted sarcastic way, and I said, "No really, there was a time that it was hard to be around you, but I love being around you now. You are so funny and fun and so much more alive." It was a quick conversation, but I'm so grateful for those 60 seconds and for his reaction which was so cute and boyish.
I can say with great confidence that there was never a day that I didn't think that Dave loved me. He was much better at loving me, than I was at loving him, but in the end we figured it all out. What seems so unfair, is that we put A LOT of work in getting to where we were, and then our life together was cut so short. It just makes me so sad that we didn't really get to live out our sweet spot even for a little longer.
Yesterday, would have marked one more year of marriage for us. I wonder how we would have celebrated? Where would we have gone to dinner? In what park would we have played? What trip would we have started planning for next year's 10th anniversary? (That answer would have been Hawaii). All of these things crossed my mind multiple times yesterday. It was an exhausting day, but I made it through. There were even unexpected surprises, that I think were little gifts from Dave. So, again, Dave, if you are reading, thank you for building friendships with great people that take care of me and thank you for loving me every single day ever. I miss you.