Category Archives: Life

No Words

“You can be amazing you can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug” -Sara Bareilles, Brave

Words hold power.  The power we assign to them.  We get to decide what they mean, and we can do so on an individual basis.  They can mean one thing to one person and quite another to someone else.  In this situation we’re at risk for our sentiment being lost in translation, so to speak.  Words convey thoughts, feelings, and emotions.  With them we can tell stories and share moments in time.  We can even recall memories and give those meaning as well.  They can also be used to hurt.  Though they may not break your bones the way we’ve been taught that sticks and stones will, sometimes words will hurt you even more.  All the words in the world, all of their uses, meanings, and inferences, and sometimes we can’t seem to find a single one to do us justice.

What do we do when words escape us?  How then do we convey those thoughts and feelings whelming up inside of our hearts and minds?

This week I found myself standing in front of the greeting card section of my local grocery store.  I was there to buy a card to send to a friend.  I wanted her to know I was thinking of her. I wanted her to know I was remembering her son’s life, the anniversary of his birth and subsequent death later that same day.  I wanted her to know he is not forgotten.

I stood there, in front of the cards searching for the right one.  The one to convey my sympathy, unfortunately, my empathy and also comfort to her as well.  There were cards that expressed you were thinking of someone, cards of support, and cards of sympathy for loss of grandparents, parents, spouses…and even pets.  Yes, pets.  But there were no cards for loss of a son or daughter.  Loss of pets, but not of children.

Cards

They don’t make cards for that, not that they stock at that store anyway.  They don’t make words for that.  When you lose a parent you are called an orphan.  When you lose a spouse you are called a widow(er).  The very idea of loss of a child in our society is so unthinkable, unimaginable, horrific, and taboo that we do not even have a word for it.  It is literally unspeakable.

Nothing works more efficiently to keep uncomfortable, unenviable, hopefully ignorable pieces of society locked away in the shadows than lack of speech.  And that’s exactly where society wants to keep it, us.  Why?  We’re scary.  We know you want to keep us at bay.  We get it.  We know how daunting it is to talk about, how difficult to imagine, and truthfully, how alarming it is for you to even think to pull us from the shadows and to be forced into the light of knowledge to concede that you look just like us and in further consideration that you could, in fact, be us.  After all, isn’t everyone afraid that if our light were to shine too brightly and you got too close that your wings might melt?

Nothing makes us feel like more of a monster to be hidden from than being expected to exist only in those shadows.

It’s a simple sentiment that means the entire world to parents of lost children; we want to know that you still remember.  We know they are gone.  You will never remind us of that fact.  We live with the scars of their loss every day.  We just want to know that you remember they ever were here in the first place.  Not to make you uncomfortable, not to punish you, or push you away but for our own soul’s soothing.  For our broken heart’s sake.

My child lived.  She was a person.  She mattered. I have thoughts and memories of her that permeate every day of my life.

Sing her name unto my ears and let the beauty and magic of her spirit radiate into my heart and soul.

“Say what you wanna say and let the words fall out, honestly, I wanna see you be brave” – Sara Barelilles, Brave

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Holding On and Letting Go

When you get a phone call that your ninety year old grandmother is in the isolation unit of the hospital with double pneumonia and a “leaky” heart valve, you go.  It doesn’t matter what time of day it is or where she is, you just go.  When we received this call about my husband’s grandmother two nights ago in the late evening we made arrangements to get on the road to go see her right away.  Luckily she only lives a couple of hours away and we could be there shortly.

The time in the car was fraught with, what ifs?  It had been four, maybe five years since we had seen Grandma Benson.  Instantly, Loren felt guilty over this fact.  Some family issues had caused tension in the past and things had not been the same these last few years.

Loren, his brother, and his mother were all abandoned by his father when the boys were just one and three years old.  I don’t say that to be dramatic, but I won’t mince words, completely abandoned is what they were.  He decided to walk out of their lives, as well as the lives of the rest of his family and never looked back for no other reasons than selfishness and cowardice.  There were never any stray birthday cards,  random phone calls, or sporadic visits.  They just plain and simply never saw him again.  His mother tried over and over to take him to court to at least make him financially responsible for the children he knowingly and willingly helped to produce and then walked away from three years later.  But for a dead-beat who mainly worked under the table he always claimed he didn’t have any money to pay with and couldn’t produce a paycheck for the state to garnish so no financial support was ever given.

Their mother, suddenly finding herself alone with her two young boys went to school, earned her master’s degree, and became an artist and teacher.  Their whole childhood she made a concerted effort to keep the boys involved in their grandparent’s lives.  Time went on, the boys grew up, and became hard working men with loving, stable families who adore their children and are there for them in every way.

Then one day we hear from grandma that “Michael” had been stopping by to see her.  A rift was born.  Grandma forgives her son, of course, in the way that only a mother ever could.  I’m told grandpa, whom I never met, wouldn’t be so lenient of this transient’s sudden resurgence, or her acceptance of it.  We certainly weren’t.  No one felt he had any right to access even the smallest corner of the boy’s lives.  No one could stomach the thought of him in such close proximity after all these years of nothingness.  What did he want?  Why was he there?

What right did he have?  What did he think as he sat in his mother’s house and gazed at her pictures on the wall?  Did he just keep pretending his children didn’t exist?  Leary of ever running in to him, and grandma misunderstanding, thinking their mother had told the boys (men in their thirties by now, mind you) not to see her anymore because of Michael’s presence, their time together over the holidays, and other visits and phone calls became strained, and eventually nonexistent.

We arrived at the hospital, flowers in hand, and grandma recognized Loren right away.  Ninety years old, and still sharp as a tack and feisty as hell.  Skylar had gotten so big, she had said.  And she asked Loren what he was doing all the way over here (in her town).  She had been in the hospital for almost two weeks.  She told us how she was feeling, and talked about how bad the hospital was.  The male nurses whom, she presumes must not be able to become doctors, and are settling for nurses instead.  The constant poking and prodding.  She doesn’t like the food, it’s bland.  We offered to go out and get her anything she wanted to eat, or otherwise.

“Oh no,” she said.  “Michael’s been bringing me KFC and Arby’s.”  She floats his name across the room as if it’s nothing.

Stunned, Loren turns white.  I know what he’s thinking, but we don’t say a word to each other.  We had no idea Mike was still hanging around.  Would we have to worry about possibly running in to him here?  I don’t know how Loren would react.  I don’t know if he could handle it.

The nurse comes in to start an IV.  She looks at Loren and says “Are you Mike?  I’m supposed to call Mike”.

“No, I’m not.”

If she only knew what a shocking question that was.  Loren excuses himself to uses the restroom, but comes back shortly thereafter.  “I got spooked,” he tells me.  “I saw a man standing at the end of the hall that I thought looked enough like me that maybe I should know who it was.  He just stared at me strangely until I turned around and came back.”

I’ve never seen a picture of Michael, and any of the ones Loren might have seen growing up would be thirty years old now.  We stay for a while and chat with grandma some more.  We tell her we’ll come back when she’s out of the hospital and take her to lunch.  We write down our address and phone numbers for her, again, just in case they had somehow been misplaced over the years.  It’s clear that she needs to rest, so we go.  We ask the nurses to please notify us if her condition changes.

After we get to the car Loren tells me, “I couldn’t believe it when she said my dad’s name.  I don’t know what I would have done if he had walked in there.  I mean, they don’t even write movies about stuff like that,” he says.  ”  Who knows what kind of response you’re supposed to have.  I don’t even know what the appropriate thing would have been to have done.  I guess I would have just kept calm, and told grandma I love her, said goodbye, then left.  She doesn’t need there to be a problem.  I probably would have just ignored him, treated him like the stranger he’s made himself to be.

I’m glad he didn’t show up.  And I’m glad I got to see grandma.  I’ve been feeling guilty about not seeing her these last couple of years anyway.”

On the way home we discussed the reverberations parental abandonment causes for generations in society.  The brokenness in children that leaves them unknowingly unable to function properly and all it’s many examples projected in abuse, neglect, mistrust, lack of intimacy, inability to form meaningful bonds, sexual promiscuity, drug and alcohol dependence, etc.

Broken homes, broken world.

In Loren’s case, he had no idea his lack of a father had even affected him until he became one himself.  It’s been a painful eye opening road of acceptance and healing ever since.  We talk of Miss Elliott.  A child, so helpless, so innocent.  How could anyone just walk away and never look back?  He doesn’t understand it, couldn’t even begin to imagine how someone could commit such an injustice toward their own flesh and blood, a child nonetheless.

I’m proud of my husband for letting go of the anger and feelings of betrayal by putting others before himself.  I’m proud that he doesn’t let his childhood define him.  I’m proud of him for visiting grandma even though Michael could have shown up at any time.  I’m proud of the husband and father he is: a bigger man, a better man, his own man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year, Same You

As the end of December nears we’re busy scrambling to end what was, and eagerly looking forward to what (we hope) will be in the new year, we also stop to fondly remember days of auld lang syne, or “times long past”.  Auld lang syne is the fond remembrance of those meaningful times we’ve had, and times we quite possibly yearn for still.  This year’s-end anthem has always made me particularly melancholy.  I doubt I’m the only one.  As we move forward and turn away from the old and toward the new, it’s also only natural to want to keep something of your experience with you to carry over into the what will soon be.

In some ways these lyrics also feel like a warning, or at least a cautionary tale:

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld lang syne”.

Should we get so wrapped up in impending change that we forget what was the past?  The song implores us not to forget what was because before you know it you’ll be looking back wishing for it once again.  And by this point you’ll have most likely moved so far away from it that you realize it has slipped through your fingers long ago.  The caveat here, of course is that we can also become so consumed with the past that we have just as much difficulty looking forward as others do looking back.

Things change.  The world changes.  You change.  And nothing can stop it.  Sometimes you don’t recognize the changes reflecting back at you in the mirror until you look back at an old photograph and pick out the comparative differences.  And then again, sometimes you’re painfully all-to aware of the changes you’ve experienced in your life.

Photographs in my life from three, four, five years ago and more show a smiling family of four.  Photographs today are sometimes painful examples of how one of these family members, who now exists only in a memory, is most often represented by a picture in a picture (as in this blog’s header itself).  Auld lang syne.

Everyone seems to be forward focused this time of year, making resolutions about their new year and they new them they want to be.  I sit here year after year, and try to figure out how, as another page turns on the calendar of life to keep my daughter’s memory alive…again.

Everyone else is changing around us. Their children are growing, their families are growing, their lives are shifting. We’re stuck in our own stalemate, and in some ways we always will be.  Those who’ve experienced the loss of a close loved one often tend to group their own lives into two categories:  before and after they died.   I want to share stories, and pictures, even anecdotes of my daughter with you when you share with me or in a group in general, but I know you’ve already heard them, seen them, know how they go. I’m sorry. They’re all I have. They’re all I’ll ever have. As time keeps ticking away I’m perpetually faced with a new year, and same dead daughter who will always be three years old to me.

A new year, Miss Elliott, but you’ll always still be the same you.

I still want to speak her name and share her life the way you share the lives of your children. I don’t want you to pity me. And I don’t want to make you uncomfortable either, but please speak her name to me. You won’t upset me, I promise. I didn’t forget that she died. I just want, most of all, to know that you remember she existed in the first place.  It helps me stay in the present by reassuring me that it’s ok to keep moving forward, all while yearning for the days of auld lang syne.

So speak her name unto my ears and let the music of her spirit flood my heart and soul.

The Magic Season; A Series of Unexplainable Events

2014 Card

Only twice in my life have I had such an experience.  The kind that leaves you in unexplainable shock-even dismay, yet conversely strangely comforted at the same time.  These experiences have left me questioning the theories of the known world, generally accepted as fact, and pondering the idea of what reality truly means.

Is it relative to time and space?  Is it relative even to your own individual perception?  Can a broader more encompassing scope of the idea of reality even exist, or must it be accepted piece by piece, individually, as to only create an illusion of the idea of reality in each of us?

I find that as time marches on, as I grow and learn, and as I mature the important answers in life seem to always be two steps ahead of wherever you currently are.  To additionally compound the complexity of any given situation, I also tend to find those answers (whenever I’m lucky enough to get one) in hindsight, though I would have been sure they weren’t there before.  Sometimes situations and experiences happen in which the explanation eludes you completely.  And how then do we quantify the incident, but can chalk it up to nothing less than phenomena.

Three years ago I stood at the instant-print machine in the photo department of a local store designing my Christmas cards.  Tapping away at the screen a young boy, I’d say eight or ten, walked up to Miss Elliott and I.  He stared at her quizzically for a moment and then directed his attention to me as he spoke.

“She’s sick isn’t she,” he said.

Caught off guard yet intrigued by his candor, “Yes she is,” I replied as I now looked quizzically back at him.

“She’s going to die soon,” He continued.

Shocked, I looked around.  Who was this kid?  Why was he here all alone? Where were his parents? “Yes, she is dying,” I confirmed to him.

“She won’t be here for very long. She’ll make it through the holidays and past the New Year, but probably not long after that,” he prophesied.

Tears formed in my stinging eyes. I wanted to ask him when, and how he knew this. I wanted him to reveal more information to me. Instead I stood there, paralyzed in some confused state of awe. Before I could say anything more his grandmother walked up.

“I’m sorry my  grandson’s bothering you,” she said as she shuffled him away and kept walking herself. “He’s not right. He says things. Don’t mind him.”

“It’s ok,” I told her. “He wasn’t bothering me, really.”

“I’m sorry,” she repeated, and they walked away before I could say any more.

I wondered so many things. How could such a young child have had the foresight to think something like that? What prompted him to say it? Was he a messenger? And if so, did everyone in his life blindly excuse his differences as just nonsense?  What made his grandmother think he was bothering me?  Even more mysterious, I wondered if he even existed in the world at all outside of this particular interaction. Was it possible he was there solely to speak to me?

I left the store more than a little rattled by my exchange with the Ghost of Christmas Future, and returned home. His prophecy now haunting my thoughts. She would die soon? When? Why? She was doing fine. I kissed her head and head her tight. I stared into her face and cried all night at the thought of losing her. It was, of course the nature of her condition. I had already acknowledged that she was, in fact dying. I just wasn’t ready for it. I knew I never would be.

Christmas came and went, and so did New Year’s. By the end of January, when she was still with us I chalked the would-be prophet’s omen up to my own overindulged imagination and put it behind me,  that is until February 3rd, when she passed away.

As I sit here today I think about this experience so often, and know that even now, even in hindsight, I still can’t explain it. I’ve decided that this, like so many other things in life, I won’t have an answer to in this world, and I’m okay with that. Perhaps the answer isn’t what’s important. Perhaps it’s what I, what we all make of the experience itself.

I Was Too Ashamed, So I Lied.

Last night at the elementary school my daughter attends we went to watch her and the other fifth graders give their presentations at Night of the Notables.  It’s an evening where they present their research projects on historical figures who helped shape America as we know it today.  I think this is a great idea.  When you combine history and research, then couple it with presentations, it’s an active and engaging way to learn.

What I wasn’t so stoked about was my daughter coming to me on Monday morning telling me that she had to dress up like Queen Elizabeth I for her presentation…tomorrow…night at school.  “Oh yeah, I had a flyer about it in my Friday folder,” she said  Great, I thought.  Time to get creative.  In a mad dash to the nearest thrift shop I was on the hunt for some Elizabethan type anything I could fine.  Since it happens to be the week of Halloween there was actually plenty of items to choose from, if I wanted to shell out $39.99 for the dress plus additional money for accessories that is.

I did not.  Maybe if she would have been using it as her Halloween costume as well, instead of just for an hour at a school event I wouldn’t have minded so much, but she wasn’t.  So instead I found some used junk I thought I could piece together and for $12.00 and change I created an (albeit more Victorian than Elizabethan) dress for her to wear.  I sewed all day.

Voila!
Before and after:
Before
After

I knew this would be good enough for the fifth grade home room event, but I also hopped my daughter would like it.  That she would appreciate it and the time I put into it, not just expect it to materialize without a second thought.  Truthfully, it annoys the crap out of me that schools tell kids they have to dress up, and that part of their grade it dependent on it.  Just like it frustrates me how much parents are asked to spend on school supplies or even field trips these days.  Let alone, pictures, sports, events, classroom magazines and other materials.  Yes, some of these are required, and some are “optional”.  But even for the ones that are “optional”, if you don’t “choose” to participate, your creating an outcast of your child.  A line drawn in the sand of haves and have-nots, of doers and don’ters.  We’re just lucky that we’re able to be a family who has the ability to pay for this never ending list of school room needs.  What if other families honestly don’t have the money for any of it?  It’s not always as simple as being a lack-luster parent who’s not engaging enough and not putting enough care, concern, or emphasis on education.  Sometimes it’s about not having the money to do so.

The reason I was so gung ho to track down an outfit that day, to pay money for it, and spend my time sewing it together was simple:  I didn’t want my daughter to feel like I did.  I too had a time when I needed to dress as a historical figure in school…and my grade depended on it.  It was seventh grade, and I was Helen Keller.  I remember so clearly how all the popular girls, the ones who wore Calvin Klein and Doc Martens, got together over the weekend and rented period specific costumes from the local community college’s drama department.  I was so envious of them standing in their exclusive circle talking about how they went together with their mothers over the weekend to make sure they had the perfect costume to wear that day.

I wore a ribbed white t-shirt, Levis, and imitation combat boots from K-Mart.  I thought these things were nice because they were all store bought, and for once not from a yard sale, but I still knew they weren’t cool.  I knew better than to even ask my parents to help me put together a costume.  There was nothing in the house to use and I knew the money wasn’t there to buy anything.  There was no extra money in our house, period.  And I didn’t want to make them feel worse than they already did by asking.  I already knew they wished they could give me more.  I knew that if the money had ben there my mother would have happily driven me down to the drama department and I would have had a fabulous period dress on that morning too, but I didn’t.  So I lied.  I got up to make my speech and included a completely made up portion about how I dressed this way because my (Helen Keller’s) favorite thing to do was to wear my brother’s clothes because they were more comfortable to run around and play in.  The teacher didn’t buy it, and I got marked down for “not dressing up”.

Of course I knew it was wrong to lie even then, that it always is, but at that moment I wasn’t strong enough not to.  I was too ashamed so I made what felt like the easier and less embarrassing choice.  In reality, no child should ever be made to feel this way over something so completely superficial and out of their control, but in reality they do.  I’ve never told my parents, or anyone about that day.  Like I said, I didn’t want them to feel even worse because they couldn’t provide what I “needed”.  As a twelve year old girl, I wasn’t as attuned to speaking up for myself back then as I am now, so I just took the lower grade my teacher doled out and went on with the day feeling crummy.

It shouldn’t matter, but I want to make sure my daughter always has  what she needs to be successful in school, like the perfect costume.  It shouldn’t matter, but it does.  I want to make sure she succeeds, and in my mind part of that means making her feel like she fits in and doesn’t have to hold back because the money isn’t there.  My husband grew up in the same type of household and he too understands and shares the same feelings of being an outcast because your family didn’t have money for new clothes or extravagant Christmas presents like other kids’ families did.

Adolescence is an awkward time that’s hard enough with the pressure you get from other kids.  Children shouldn’t have to worry about it coming from the adults in their lives too.  Teachers should know better than to add to it and should be more sensitive toward these situations, especially in the public school system where you encounter all ranges of diversity. Furthermore, as adults (who interact with children daily) they should understand, without a word, when a child cannot willingly or openly share how uncomfortable they are when they may not be able to ante up, so to speak, along with the rest of the group.  And they most certainly shouldn’t be docked participation points for it.

Queen Elizabeth I in action:
QEI

I think her smile shows just how proud she was of her costume, and from
a child who’s already gone through so much, that smile’s all I need to see.

To Let Them Live

“I just try to let them live their lives,” she said.

“I say, just try to remember every moment. She won’t be two months old for long,” she told her seat-mate. “Soon she’ll be walking and talking.”

Or she won’t, I thought grimly.  The rest of the world doesn’t seem to share the same outlook as me with their constant expectation of a bigger, better, brighter tomorrow that they seem to feel entitled to, but I couldn’t help it. As the mother of a now deceased child who never did those things it’s just the automatic thought that springs to life in my mind. A consequence of my position, I suppose.

“I worry about them,” the petite, approximately mid-fiftiesish Asian woman continued from the seat behind me. “I just see them working all the time, and I know it’s rough on them. I know they want to get a house, and now they have the baby so you wonder when it will work out, but what can I do?  They’re adults and I have to let them live their lives. I just can’t wait to see my grand kids this weekend…,” she continued.

This eavesdropped upon conversation was a reminder to me that parents never stop parenting. Not when your children are grown, not even when they’re dead. It was an all too familiar thought, and ironic given the timing as we were wheels down in San Francisco after the first leg of our flight on our way to a good friend’s wedding.

Like me, this friend has also lost a child. Again, like me, she lost that child to Tay-Sachs disease. She knows the pangs of grief that accompany never hearing those first words or seeing those first steps that, like everyone else, we also thought we were entitled to as a mere byproduct of giving birth to our children.

Like me she’s never stopped being a mother to her child, even though he now exists in some form and realm beyond her reach. Even so, here we are this weekend to celebrate with her and for her. She’s found new love and recently become a mother again to a beautiful new daughter named, in part, after my own daughter.

She relayed to me in one memorable conversation how strange it is to see her wiggle and crawl around. It’s something foreign to us, uncharted territory, as our deceased children were never able to achieve such praise- worthy accomplishments.

This trip marked my first official face-to-face meeting with this tiny, magic girl. Holding such a precious child, my daughter’s namesake in my arms was a salve to my deeply broken heart. I whispered in her ear that I loved her so and had since long before she was born. I watched my husband cry as she was placed into his arms and I marveled at the beauty and joy she brought into the world.

It’s a relearning about the process of life. A continuation. Another chapter. Time matches on, and so must we. Old wounds may sting somewhere from below the surface, but new joys may also be just around the corner. Incessant worry won’t change what’s already there waiting for us, it simply distracts us from the pleasures of the present.

Living without entitlement doesn’t mean living without hope. We each have to choose to have the courage to ’round the bend as the road begins to curve. None of us know what the future holds for ourselves, let alone anyone else. You just have to let them live their lives. And as a parent, or child, or lover, or friend, you just have to live yours. And know that even in times of extreme pain and suffering this life, your life, and theirs too, can always circle back around and turn out to be better than you ever thought possible.

My Husband Does Not Complete Me

 Wedding

He doesn’t fill some void within me, or make me whole.  He’s not my best friend or my other half.  He’s my husband.  My partner, my equal, my rock.  A whole separate person of his own who chooses to share his life with me, and I, mine with him.

We were married very young.  We knew we wanted to be together, to do this ting called life together, so just one month after I turned nineteen we eloped.  We had met when I was sixteen and been dating for two years at this time.  We knew that we were ready to begin a life with each other.  I know people questioned and even worried about our decision, after all what could we possibly know about love and life at the ages of nineteen and twenty?  The answer surely must have been nothing.  Close, but not quite.  There was one important factor that we did know; we knew who we were. We also knew what path we wanted to go down.  We decided to take that path together, for better or worse, to grow with each other by our sides.  We made vows and we meant them.

No marriage is ever easy.  No marriage is ever fully without trial or tribulation.  Everything in life doesn’t always come up roses.  Here we are, going on twelve years of marriage later.  In that time we’ve experienced career changes, moves across country, and back, the buying and selling of homes, the birth of two wonderful children, and unfortunately the terminal illness and subsequent death of one of them.  So here we are, going on twelve years later, and now I feel like I can say I know quite a bit more about love, and life in general, and most importantly, I still know who I am. 

I am a whole person on my own.  I was not looking for love in order to gain completion of my half-self.  I was not looking for someone to make me the person I would be.  I am who I am on my own accord.  I have family, friends, and an entire community that does not revolve around my husband.  I have my own mind.  We have separate interests, and hobbies, and thoughts, and passions.  Likewise, my husband does not need me in order to function (despite what I may tell people).  Without me he would still have his career, his life and avocations entirely his own.

What we do complete, together is our family.  Every day, we wake up and make the choice again and again to keep doing this thing called life together.  To be Mom and Dad.  We don’t always agree, we’re not always on the same plan, but every day, over and over, we choose each other and the life we have built together.  We make time for one another.  We make room for one another.  And aside from just being Mom and Dad, we let each other be Becky and Loren as well.  We encourage and celebrate each other’s successes and shoulder the burden’s of each other’s failures.

It is one of my greatest hopes for our family that in this way we will have lead through example so that our daughter will grow into a level headed person of her own who knows who she is and what she wants in life.  Someone who will never let her individuality, or thoughts and opinions be swayed or suppressed. (who am I kidding, she already is)

We are strong, not because we have melded ourselves together into the single thought line of one super-person, but because we allow our individuality to exist so that we may each contribute the best parts of ourselves to our family and our life together.  Where one has a deficit the other fills it in.  On top of this and above all else we respect each other.  We are present with each other, while still allowing each other room to grow.  We communicate and make every attempt to follow the same strategies to be a united front, so-to-speak.

We argue and fight and get annoyed with one another from time to time because that’s what you get when two strong willed people don’t see eye to eye, but the truth is, I wouldn’t trade what makes my husband him any more than (I’d like to think) he would trade what makes me, me.  There are a lot of people who’ve spent a good portion of their life trying to find such a person, and who’ve encountered several bumps along the way.  I’m happy to have found my husband at such a young age.  I’m happy with the life we’ve built in the time we’ve spent together. 

My husband does not complete me, instead we compliment each other, and he does complete us.

wedding 2

Note: Remember how I mentioned at the top that we eloped? 
The pictures embedded in this post are not actually those of our wedding,
but of the reception we held for our family and friends three months later.