Remember that time we baked a pie and took it by the river and ate it straight out of the pan with two forks? Or when we climbed the mountain, wine and cheese at the top, you down on your knee with the forever question? Or do you remember grabbing popsicles and walking through the neighborhood as the sun dipped below the sky every night?
Add up the millions of moments between us, mundane and magnificent alike, and suddenly those moments have become nearly eleven years of memories shared since we stood in front of our family and friends, I in a white dress and you in a suit.
We dated for three years and were married for six before adding them to us but somehow it seems so sudden that it is no longer just us anymore. I look over and see that same confident and carefree college boy that hooked me with a glance on a Tuesday evening but this time there’s a little more life lived between us, this time there are the three on the couch with you.
The building of a family happens in much the same fashion as the building of a castle: Brick by brick, little by little, day by day. And suddenly, there’s a wall.
And suddenly, we’ve done a whole trip around the sun and there’s an anniversary.
Suddenly, a new trajectory sends us forward with a move, a job transition, a curveball.
And then suddenly, there’s a pregnancy, a baby, a milestone.
And little by little, but so suddenly still, we are a family of five.
And right now, I am mostly momma. Right now, the three littles need me in some form most moments of the day, and they’ve got me. We’ve become our very own castle, strong and resilient and brave. And there are the days that we’re run a little ragged, days in which our bricks are thrown together a little haphazardly. Between it all, it is a merry-go-round.
So sometimes in the midst of the crazy, I can forget what got us here in the first place; sometimes I lose sight of the man with whom I began it all.
And I wonder why it’s so easy to take my eyes off of you. Because sometimes, there are the days when I have given them my all and I have nothing left to give. There are the days I feel so exhausted, that I feel so inadequate that I wall off the one person who promised to be in it with me.
Here’s the thing I have learned about love: We chose each other on the day we said I do, but I also choose you every moment of every day after that, even the wild and chaotic ones where we only interact as Momma and Daddy.
Because then I saw you look at me. You don’t see the messy hair or the squishy belly or the dirty clothes. To you, I am still beautiful. Not beautiful except for those 15 extra pounds. Not beautiful except for the unwashed hair. Not beautiful except for the yogurt on my shirt.
You just see me.
So I let you be my mirror. I let your glance remind me.
And I take a breath, see that you choose me too, every single day, and we walk through our days building our family and memories, moment by moment, brick by brick. This love of ours, this everyday ordinary, embracing the adventure, growing older together kind of love of ours is built in the everyday small.
Coffee mugs. Footie pajamas. Pancakes. Tickle tortures. Nature hikes. Arguments. Puzzles. Whining. Car seats. Let’s try that again. High fives. Bedtimes. Date night at home. Fort building. Laundry. Friday night pizza. Make it right. Family walks. Believe the best. Choose love.
I changed my name and we began our story. This little family began as just the two of us and I don’t want the busy and the crazy and the exhaustion to cause me to forget that.
And so I will keep choosing you and you keep choosing me every single day, in moments both big and small because it all matters. And when the chaos of the day or the difficulty in a moment causes me to forget, I will look at you and let your glance remind me of our beginnings and our everyday love.
And little by little, brick by brick, we raise our babies and put the other first and choose love and lay down blame and anger and resentment. We drink coffee and read stories and raise up little hearts to be loved and strong and sometimes even get out on a date.
Because by taking care of our marriage we are also taking care of them.
I am their momma and they are my world.
But I am also your wife and you are my rock.
I just needed you to know that.