It's mother's day, and you're at work like you have been every mother's day since I became a mother, except last year when you had 2 glorious weeks of paternity leave off with us after Greystoke's birth.
I miss you, and I'm looking forward to seeing you tonight. But I know that you're having a great day, doing what you love: training the seasonal rookie lifeguards for another year of protecting the beaches. You're the good cop. You do everything with them. Even though you kind of like when you make them puke, you're probably also the first one beside them. You moan and groan in your sleep from trying to swim faster than them. I love that about you.
I'm having a great day too. My mother's day gift to myself was to skip church this morning. I love church, I think church is very important. I will get the 3 kids up and dressed and off to church by myself for the next week and the next week and the next and I will love it. But today, I needed to not get dressed. I needed to not rush out of the house and chase the baby around the nursing room because it's nap time but he won't sleep, but he's too sleepy to go to the nursery. I needed to sit and read my Bible while the boys watched Sesame Street and ate their bagels and not feel like I needed to rush to the next thing.
After I finished my reading, I told the boys that we would be watching church on tv, because it's mother's day and today I don't want to get dressed for a while. I told the big boys that I expected them to make me some treats, fan me with homemade paper fans, and put away all of the laundry. Aquaman laughed because he gets these sorts of jokes now, but it was kind of nervous laughter. The Dude laughed because he doesn't get my jokes at all, and he's really squirrely and in his own world these days.
Then, because I think they were just a tinge afraid that maybe I really was serious, or maybe because they actually understand a lot more than I think they do....they disappeared upstairs to play Legos, and closed the door behind them.
I lay in our bed and put Greystoke to sleep, which, as you know, is no small feat. I turned on our wedding DVD, which I have been watching in bits and pieces since our anniversary, and I was almost to the end. I watched us pull away in our car, hung with silly string, yelling goodbye to all of our friends and family, driving just a few miles down the road to the 1 bedroom condo we would share together, and I remembered that nervous feeling of beginning.
Then the slideshow from our wedding came up, with all our baby pictures and I saw each of our 3 boys in yours, and even, surprisingly, in mine.
And then picture after picture of me in your arms, of surfing together, praying together while on a mission trip.
"The God of second chance will pick them up and He'll let them dance through a world that is not kind....and all this time: they're sharing with the One who holds them up when they come undone- beneath the storm beneath the sun."
It's only been 8 years since that day, and so many more years stretch in front of us. They've been quick years. The quickest years of my life, because they've been the happiest.
There's been mostly sun, but there's been some storms too. I've come undone a few times. I've doubted your love. I've doubted my own.
It's only been 8 years, and so many more ahead, and they've gone so fast, but even so- so much has changed. We look a lot the same on the outside, you and I, time has been good to us so far. I'm not sure how, but I've lost 10 pounds since that day. Looking back at those surfing guns I've got in those pictures, I'm guessing it was all muscle weight.
You can measure time best in the children. My four flower girl nieces, alternately flitting and pouting down the aisles are all in middle school now. Our 3 little boys were not even on the radar yet.
Yesterday I watched the ceremony part of the video, while I was putting away 6 days worth of laundry, because, well, there's just never enough time in the day. The Dude came in, naked, to watch a few times, and to ask when I was going to take him swimming, even though we had just spent 2 hours at the beach.
Greystoke kept trying to climb off the bed onto the dresser, so admittedly, my eyes weren't on the screen the whole time.
Still, I found myself staring at that girl in the white dress, trying to remember her. Trying to go back. There were a lot of familiar things in her, like a comfortable old friend, but a young one. There are a lot of things she wouldn't understand about me. And I bet there's a lot of things that would drive me crazy about her. But the most familiar look I saw was the way she looked at you.
I still feel that same way about you, JT. I know I don't get to gaze into your eyes a whole lot, because the couple of times I've done that in the past several years babies have fallen off of couches and older boys have almost broken your nose. But it's simmering in there in still.
I miss a lot of things about us back then. How I got to be more a part of the things you love most- like swimming and surfing and working out. These days I feel certain that my calling is to care for our children so that you can fulfill your deepest callings out there in the world, and I have a lot of peace and fulfillment in my own calling.
But now there are joys I never could have imagined. If I thought it was awesome to watch from the shore when you surfed 15 foot El Salvador waves, that is nothing compared to watching you give The Dude his 14th hug of the night, or clean up Aquaman's 15th spill of the day while gracefully assuring him that accidents happen.
You, and your love, are more than I ever dreamed it would be.
The great Weaver of all beautiful things started an awesome work the day He called you to Him, and on that plane ride on the way home from Haiti, and our beautiful wedding ceremony, which, watching it again yesterday, I can only describe as...Holy. Sacred.
I am in awe of Him still when I kiss you goodnight. And I'm remembering my vows to you today.
"For the rest of my life, I will be your biggest fan.
I will be your playmate, and your soulmate.
I will always love you, even when we trade our surfboards for rocking chairs."
My surfboard has been hung up for a while. I traded it for holding your sons in my arms. Your go-to is a stand up paddleboard now. You're pretty awesome on it.
We both agree that we have no interest in world travels anymore. We get excited when we talk about family trips to the Springs.
Our trips to the beach now most often involve digging boy-sized holes and chasing naked babies.
And in another 8 years, who knows what the trade ups will be? The only consistent thing in this life...is change.
I give you my 100% today, even though sometimes my sleep deprived, air-headed 100% doesn't seem like much.
I love you forever, JT.