The summer has been great. Better than expected, I could say. Charlie has a bit of maturity to him lately, the kind that means he can trot behind me in a store and not run off as much. And Miles, well lets just say he is your stereotypical two year old in every way, and yet somehow he just seems to have settled into being "one of the guys" this year. I have some pictures from a little vacation we took in June, and other stuff to report, but before I get to that (if I get to it...Miles!), there is the news of the day:Vie: v. Compete eagerly with someone in order to achieve something.
I bought something today that I have not bought in ten years... make-up. It's not that I don't wear it, I just somehow don't go through it I guess. Anyway, there I was in the make-up isle with Calvin (who was sweet and trying to be very helpful. I went with his suggestion, too, so I hope green eye shadow works out okay for me)--anyway, so there I was with my son picking out make-up, and recalling the day ten years ago that I stood in the make-up isle in a drug store in Truckee picking out eye shadow, and pushing down my nerves as I prepared for my wedding.
Today is the day. Our ten year anniversary.
Ten years, Raymond! Can you believe it?
The kids are so cute, not quite understanding how this all works or what it really means, but Charlie keeps singing "Happy Birthday" to us, and Calvin of course follows with all the technical questions of why we are married, why we don't keep getting married and only had to do it once, why we celebrate it, and why Uncle Russ and Renee haven't gotten any kids as a result of being married (No pressure, guys, I'm just the messenger!).
Ray and I, on the other hand, get it. Our marriage. Our lives together for ten years. Choosing to marry Ray was the best thing I have ever done, and the most important thing I have ever stuck with. Ten years. It has not been easy. We are not at all where we had envisioned when we struck out on this journey together. We have experienced many things we just never could have thought to factor in to our lives. We have both changed immeasurable in many ways, and not in the ways we had anticipated or hoped for ourselves or each other. But like I often say when I discuss our view of Down syndrome and having a son with special needs: We never would have thought we would be on the path we are on or experienced the things that we have, but we are so, SO thankful that this is what we were given.
Funny thing about us is, we are two very different people. I don't think we had the first idea of just how different we were when we began to fall in love. Well, from the outside some people may have speculated--me in my hippie-girl clothes, and Raymond a vintage car driving, swing dancing, collar shirt wearing kind of guy (he does look good in a collared shirt!). The years have shown us, though, that we are vastly different. A dating service would NEVER have dared paired us up. He is an extrovert, I am introverted; he is a steady, unchanging pillar on which anyone can depend, I am a bird in the wind, a changing, shifting force; he loves food and a good meal, I don't like to think about food unless it is growing in my garden; he is spontaneous, I need a plan; he is auditory, and I am visual; he's technical and I emotional ; I can find things, he can't find anything... ever (seriously). When we began to fall in love, it was not so much over shared interests or good looks or good times, but it was over a shared faith and vision for life. We just knew, somehow, that common interests would come with a life shared, and what was most important in finding love was finding someone who believed the same. I am so glad, with all the insight I lacked then and still do, that I placed faith above everything else. Ten years later, faith is the one thing we always have and always share.
So in ten years we have earned our degrees, borne three sons, fallen in love with Down syndrome and shared it's trials, we've served in ministry and nearly lost faith, we've struggled against each other and along side each other, we've tripled our grocery bill and learned to budget, we've held each other in our joy and our pain, we've moved houses 5 times, upgraded (degraded?) to a mini van, we've wandered alone and walked in faith.
In ten years Ray has taught me how to walk through difficulty with integrity, and I have taught him to walk away when the time has come. He has taught me to be rational and steady, and I have taught him to be open to possibility. He has shown me dependability, I have encouraged him to dream. Or maybe...
Maybe what is more true is that when I need to be steadied, I reach for him; when all he can see is the reality in front of him, he asks for my wildest ideas; and when I've come to my end, I only have to look to his example to learn how to keep going forward. Maybe that is it.
And maybe that is why, come what may in ten more years, we will always be better--more complete and capable--when we are walking together, side by side.
I love you, Raymond. And I would do it all over again in a heart beat.
I am so glad I stayed in HumCo "for a guy". For you.