10 years ago today, Alif & I were married. We had fallen in love nearly four years prior and finally the right time had come. I can't exactly figure out my feelings today. I'm amazed that ten whole years have gone by so quickly. I feel kind of like I do when my kids have a birthday - in awe, excited, wistful and even a little depressed. Like I said, I can't figure this out. It could be that I'm tired because I was literally up half the night with a sick baby. While I was awake, in fact, I was composing a blog in my head about my husband. Oh, I love him. I love him so much I have butterflies in my stomach thinking of it. Maybe I could stop worrying about my lack of excellent writing skills and just say what I want to say without wondering if anyone will enjoy it.
When Alif & I met we were so young. I was 19, he was 20. We'd both experienced a lot out of life already and I think we both knew almost immediately that we were meant to be together. We spent every spare moment together. We laughed, oh how we laughed! He brought me little romantic gifts. He met my parents, and my Dad pinched his butt and my Mom said he looked like one of the New Kids on the Block.
In 1995 I had a moderately bad car accident. Alif became a nurse overnight and along with my Mom, he tended to my every need. He painted my toenails, took me where I needed to go, even convinced me to go on outings in a wheelchair. He was so tender and sweet. I think this is when I really fell in love with him. Really knew, I mean, that I didn't just enjoy him, I really really loved him.
The years went by and we continued to fall further in love. We grew and changed and stuck together. We had hard times and good ones.
One Valentine's Day, I think in about 1997, Alif orchestrated the most romantic Valentine's I could imagine. He invited me over for dinner, and when I arrived I was amazed to see how he'd transformed his home into a Valentine dream come true. There were flowers everywhere, a special little table set up in the study with china and fancy napkins and candles and gifts. He'd done this funny, cute thread craft that made a heart on cardboard with strings. He'd cooked a fantastic meal and served me like I was a queen. I couldn't believe it - I was sure he was going to propose and I sat nervously through the whole meal. We finished eating and he slid a small black box across the table. I maybe even had tears in my eyes as I nervously opened it . . . to find a small, gold, engraved clock. I cried. He sat anxiously, wondering if I liked the gift - was I crying tears of joy or what was going on? Somehow I told him that I'd thought it was a ring and he comforted me. It didn't help. We ended up in a huge, outrageous fight. Ha! Yeah, it's actually funny looking back on it. (Though I won't bore you with it here, his eventual proposal was truly romantic and a dream come true.)
So time went on and it was time to get married, and we did. And we had a baby. Then another one. We hit hard times. Alif was going to school and working, both full time. I was alone with my two precious sons almost all the time, and I was lonely for my husband and exhausted with the workload of raising two toddlers by myself. We hit crisis. We fell apart at the seams, and it took a lot of hard work to get back to a place where we felt solid as a couple again. God is merciful and good, and we did.
I got pregnant again, and it was such an answer to prayer - not just having another baby but what that signified in our marriage. We were totally back on track and in love and so incredibly thankful for God's grace on our marriage. We named our daughter Caris, Greek for Grace.
Last year our fourth blessing came along and in some only-God-can-do-this way, I think in the last year of our marriage I have fallen more in love with Alif than ever before. I so respect who he is as a man. He works hard, really hard and never complains about it. He supports me as a teacher, mother and friend. He STILL makes me laugh literally every day. He says kind things. He calls me several times a day just to see how our day is going or to tell me some little thing that happened while he was out. He lays on the living room floor and watches movies on his laptop while I watch TV. He loves our kids, oh my GOSH he loves those kids.
So last night. Canaan woke up whining right at the time Alif came to bed. I was so tired, I just waited for Alif to go get him. He sat at the edge of the bed and I could tell he was listening to see if Canaan was going to settle in or keep crying. As soon as the whining turned to a cry he went and got him. He brought him into the bed and lined him up perfectly to nurse. Poor baby couldn't nurse because his nose was stuffy. Alif reached over and pulled the baby close to him. He slipped his hand up under baby's pajama top and stroked him softly. Canaan stopped whining, soothed by Daddy's touch. Eventually Daddy's touch didn't work any more and I spent the rest of the night trying to nurse him, carrying him around so he could be upright, dozing . . . when we all woke up in the morning Daddy rubbed baby's back and said, "Poor Mommy." I said, "Poor baby." He said, "Happy 10-year Anniversary."
I know it's corny but I'm just totally overwhelmed with how much I love that man. We both have our faults, and sometimes I want to make his head into a waffle, but I love him dearly. He is such a gift to me.
He's called several times today, just to see what I am doing and how my day is going and to say "I love you". I love you too, I really really do.