16 years have passed since I said " I do.." and in those years, there have been ups and downs and sideways curve balls and all that sappy, "We made it..." memories....and it's true. We did. Still happy, still friends, still looking forward to each day together. It wasn't always easy, but I can say I haven't really had a day where I didn't want to be a part of my beloved's life. As crazy as we make each other, we fit very well. We just do. We're buddies.
But the thing is...I am not sure how we've done this. The odds couldn't have been more against us. We were young. Very young. Broke. Hadn't known each other that long. Hadn't come from happy homes. The list goes on and on....
But something was pulling for us...and when I think back to what it could possibly be my mind goes to one thing...one person.
This woman, this beautiful, sweet creature left us in 2006, but the impact this one person had on me...on my marriage and my family...is eternal. Jamie would say it was both his grandparents, but I didn't get a chance to know Grandpa well before he passed into Glory.
But grandma? I knew her well. We talked almost everyday when Jamie was out to sea. She was alone, by death, me by career and we would talk for hours. She was the highlight of all our trips back home and was always up for anything. Fishing? Let's go! Walmart? Absolutely? Meandering around town? Sure, but can we eat while we're out....let me get my earmuffs! She always had earmuffs on. The wind bothered them so and even when it wasn't cold,she had them on ;)
She loved Jamie, oh so much. But not possessively. Oh she did have words about him joining the Navy...but she made peace with it and something that I recall is how much she loved that *I* loved him. She loved that he was in love....whereas his mother seemed to be bitter about our closeness and not at all happy about our relationship. Grandma encouraged me to love him like there was no tomorrow, because even in her old-wrinkled face, in those aged eyes...you could see the almost shock that life had so quickly passed her by. You see, with Grandpa the days flew, without him, they crawled. She had lost her lover, her friend, her companion.....her next recliner neighbor watching the "stories on TV"...the second plate she made come dinner time. She assured me it passes faster than I thought it was and that each moment was precious.
She shared stories with me that hinted that times weren't always happy between she and Grandpa, that "everyone fights...that's just living..." but that the Lord, as the center, was strong enough glue to heal any rift, big or small. I recall a stormy look crossing her face when I told her about my buddies husband stepping out and her anger over "those hot ass women that think they can steal our men..." She was feisty, yet gentle...funny..oh so funny ;)
And she was the key. I truly believe this.
One woman. One marriage. One example that busted through Jamie's mom's three marriages....an unknown father, my mother's three marriages, which were never quite right....my Dad's three marriages that all ended as he died alone, with perhaps the promise of a fourth love, but one that didn't get its chance...
But this one precious woman, this one Godly woman paved the way for 16 years of marital happiness...7 children that are growing up in a happy, healthy home with parents who are in love....security, comfort, adventure....
Life. A life lived together, for each other, for all of us, and for her ;) I can't think of a better tribute than making it another 16 years and eventually meeting her at the gates and saying "Thank you...."