At nine-something this morning, this one will officially be four years old. I say nine-something because I can never remember the actual minute because I was unconscious at that particular moment in time. C-sections with general anesthesia are like that.
He is a sweet one, Oliver. A good family friend likes to say Oliver is an absolutely perfect mix of his brothers Porter and Liam. Playful like Liam, quirky sense of humor like Porter, and the tie that makes his brothers look related to one another. Because it’s true that before there was Oliver, Porter and Liam really didn’t look like brothers.
He was a surprise to all of us but really, this family is complete in a way that it would never have been without him. This boy that loves Doc McStuffins and light sabers and things with wheels and soccer balls. This boy with the highest pitch cry I have ever heard come out of a baby’s mouth. This boy that instinctively reaches for my hand every time we get out of the car. without. fail.
Oliver is a wonderful person in his own right. That fact cannot be overemphasized enough.
His turning four, though, makes me retrospective about this journey of motherhood I’ve been on for now eleven and a half years. I’ve grown as a mother–as a person– because of this boy. And I’ll be forever grateful to him because of that.
Our anniversary is a couple of weeks away yet. But this post should come now, in this moment, while I can say these things about my husband.
It’s been nearly thirteen years since we stood in front of God and fifty-eight of our closest friends and family and promised for better or worse. It’s been better and worse in that time. This man never falters or wavers. He is my rock. He is wise enough to understand me better than I understand myself, at times. He is a patient, wonderful father. He is always there waiting, when I need space. I don’t know what good things I did that the universe sent me Jared, but I will be forever grateful that we found each other.
The best decision of my life, without a doubt, was to marry Jared. He is the love of my life. It is a privilege to get to spend my life with him.
With several weddings/ engagement sessions under my belt now, I got my own wedding photos out last night.
I love them even more now than I did back in 2005. I recently got to shadow Virginia at a wedding, and I am so thankful we’ve become friends.
For instance, right after we got married I would lament the fact that it was so windy that morning. I used to look at this picture and wish for everything I had that the veil would have stayed down. But now I know if that veil weren’t flying like it is here, I wouldn’t remember exactly how crazy-windy it was that morning after all that rain the night before. I can’t imagine the picture any other way now.
Of course, there are other things I notice about these pictures now, too. We were babies, at least I was. I look so young in these photos. I was 25 which I guess isn’t exactly a baby but I sure wasn’t emotionally prepared for what was about to happen, moving halfway across the country to live with someone I’d never spent more than a full week at one time with. I also think, based on how skinny I was there, that I must not have eaten the full year before Jared and I got married. I mean, I know I was doing yoga religiously every day back then but man. I’d really like to be that size again someday. Not sure I have it in me to do what it takes to get there now, though.
Everyone we knew had to think Jared and I were losing our minds when Jared and I got married. But it has worked out, for better and worse, and here we are twelve and a half years later.
It’s time for new family photos. The last time we had a family session, Oliver was six months old, I am pretty sure. I guess one of the downfalls of being a photographer now is that family photos that include myself are the last thing I really want to think about. It seems like a hassle and while I’ve always hated being in front of a camera, it’s a thousand times worse now.
This is still my favorite photo of Jared. It doesn’t matter what I say to him, I cannot get him to smile like that for me.
This is my favorite photo of the whole bunch, I think. I just thought it was pretty back in 2005, but now, there’s so much more. It’s a candid and those tend to be my favorites these days. It’s black and white, which of course speaks to me. You can see the puddles of water from the massive rain the night before. And Virginia was shooting into the sun, which made those beautiful flares. I didn’t even know she was shooting when she took this picture. I thought we were just talking as we walked to another shot location.
Looking back, I was so worried about the wrong things on my wedding day. I was worried about preserving a dress I’d likely never wear again– I certainly can’t fit into it now. So there are no beach pictures despite the fact that the beach is what I love about St. Simons. Kind of crazy. That’s me, though, when I get uptight and think I want to present a certain image to the world.
What doesn’t show, of course, in these photos is the crazy, messed up mind I had. I had such backwards ideas about romantic love.
These two crazy kids that got married back on April 2, 2005….we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Four pregnancies. Three boys. Health issues. Financial strains. The one constant that I can say through it all is that Jared has been my rock. He still looks at me much like he did that windy day twelve and a half years ago. He’s taught me so much about how to reframe what healthy romantic love should look like in my mind. I’m still learning that lesson.
It’s time to take more photos today of my own. Maybe I will take my camera to O’s school event today. Looking at these photos reminds me that I crave the click of the shutter for the click’s sake alone.
‘Grateful’ seems like a feeble word to express how profoundly appreciative we are for everything our family is and everything they do. The people we are related to are the epitome of goodness and quiet generosity. I am humbled and so very thankful for their love and kindness.
That is all for now.
It’s not a fairy tale.
That first online “smile.” Long nights on the phone. The first meeting, in the airport. Long weekend visits. Meeting families. A wedding at the beach.
A miscarriage. Two preemies. Sickness. Arguments.
All three kids: healthy. A sturdy home. A community we love. Lots of laughter. Family. Happiness. Incredible amounts of love.
I’m a lucky, lucky girl.
It’s not a fairy tale because it is real. It’s as real a marriage as a couple can have, this marriage between J and me.
Throughout the past ten years, we have sometimes picked this relationship apart piece by piece. At times, it has seemed as if nothing was sacred about this marriage at all.
This marriage is sacred. It has been sacred and strong all along. It is as strong as the dainty, nearly flawless diamond he gave me the October night he asked me to be his wife, so long ago.
J and I got married ten years ago today.
It was sunny and windy that April morning, with only small reminders of the rain from the night before. Sixty or so of our closest family and friends joined us for the morning wedding at St. Simons Island, Georgia– one of my favorite places in the whole, wide world.
I remember the gorgeous music. I remember the earnest, sweet seriousness in my J’s eyes and voice. I remember the way my voice wavered, trying hard to hold back my tears of happiness as we said our vows.
I can’t wear the dress anymore and he can’t wear the tux, either. We both wear different rings now. Life has been far different than we expected it to be, in those early days.
I love him more today than I ever thought was possible. It’s a privilege to be J’s wife.
I got to marry my best friend ten years ago today.
I’d do every bit of it all over again in half a heartbeat.
I can’t wait to see what the next ten years bring.
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