14 January 2016

Number Nine

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary and we celebrated number nine!
Married f-o-r-e-v-e-r! Hooray!
The day started out like most: I woke up early to get the fire started, trudged through sub-freezing temperatures to slop the animals, collected more firewood, slipped and knocked over the log cart and temporarily pinning myself underneath until I could push enough wood off myself to get up (that doesn't happen every day at least...), then headed inside to get everyone else ready for the day. It was a flurry of baths and diaper changes and preparing lunches and fixing hair. Jack went to work, we dropped off Evelyn at school and hours in between them coming home were as normal as always. Just livin' the dream!
Jack made many-a-girls' hearts pitter-patter with that 'fro.
I do admit to reminiscing whenever there's a special occasion, celebration or holiday (there's not a lot of brain power required when painting trim or cleaning a bathroom, so I've got time to ponder). We've only been married nine years, but Jack and I have known each other for about sixteen. He was a scrawny fifteen year old when we first crossed paths at church, were each others' first dates (though he was so embarrassed about hitting the same car twice while parking that he didn't talk to me for almost a year between our first and second date) and we grew together through the teenage years, until he was a scrawny high school senior with a very polarizing 'fro (it was a love/hate issue for EVERYONE).
My prom date.
We went to his senior prom together and had a fantastic time--I still have the cheesy photo taken of couples sitting on a shelf in our living room (Jack always did look good in a tux). I even managed to convince him it was time to tame his locks and we said goodbye to the 'fro, which doubled as a birthday present and second "official" date.
Look at those baby faces!
Then, we went our separate ways for two and a half years, which only made our hearts grow fonder. As missionaries, Jack lived in Mexico and I in Montreal and communicated only by letters, emails and the occasional package from each other. It was quite the adventure but when we both returned home (and in a twist of fate, he had to wait for me), we decided we weren't too weird for each other and were married three months later.

Hey, everyone saw it coming, and it worked out great. Obviously.
Always one for fun.
Not much has changed about Jack since we first met, but in nine years of closely observing him, I have become more and more struck by how incredible of a person he is. I honestly can't think of a time he's ever become flustered or overwhelmed (except maybe when he was playing Zelda on our old Super Nintendo and kept losing to one of the level monsters). One of his top priorities is to be a good husband and father and to help me feel like a successful mother and homemaker. He lets me take the lead when it comes to deciding how many children to have and never makes me feel like my current lack of monetary contribution to the marriage makes me any less valuable. In fact, he's constantly telling me what a wonderful job I'm doing, when it feels like all I've done all day is break up fights and change dirty diapers.
Evelyn's first carousel ride!
A lot of people think Jack is all solemn and serious, and he certainly knows when to be but he often is so easy going and lighthearted that he can make anyone laugh and any chore is made fun when he's in charge. He's a deep thinker, who after many hours of quietly pondering, always has wise, honest counsel to give. And speaking of honesty, Jack is exactly honest. Though women gush about being spoiled (and I'm one of them!), Jack's also pushes me to be my best--whether it's mentioning I should really caulk the ceiling trim when I ask his opinion and secretly hope he'll say it looks fine (even though he knows I hate caulking and working on the ceiling) or that yes, there is a character trait I need to improve upon. He doesn't hold back, and I'm grateful for that. Usually. But, he also is my biggest cheerleader. He is full of compliments too--in our many years of friendship and our relationship in it's many forms, he makes me feel beautiful and feminine, whether I'm rail thin or curvy or hugely pregnant and everything on the scale. Jack's also incredibly tenderhearted and a tear or two will slip from his eyes at the most unexpected times. Like watching movies. Interstellar? He choked up. Star Wars? Misty-eyed. Star Trek? Outright cried (maybe it's the combination of sci fi and a good plot? Whatever it is, it's endearing). And, of course, whenever he catches me looking at him, he still winks, like he's been doing since I first met him. Makes me feel like I'm reliving the best parts of being sixteen again.
Teaching the girls the meaning of work. We were building their rock wall, after all!
I'm not trying to claim he's perfect (I know he's the one wadding up his socks and leaving them two feet from the laundry chute) but, by golly, he's pretty close. He's a mischievous boy at heart who was never afraid of growing up and I can only hope I in some ways mirror and complement him.
Celebrating our anniversary is a family event--this year, a picnic in the great room next to a warm fire.
I sometimes envision us celebrating our winter wedding anniversary by sunning myself on a faraway beach, but for now (I've always told myself that I would for our tenth anniversary, but let's be realistic, I've got little kids to take care of! Maybe we'll shoot for the fifteenth...), we celebrate close to home because it's a family affair--we really do enjoy spending special moments together. Yesterday, Jack's gift to me was a cute little picnic basket, a simple, yummy dinner of cheeses, breads, berries, dips, cookies and sparkling grape juice and listening to corny Parisian accordion music, so we could all pretend we'd escaped to France (is that close enough to cross off my goals??). He always has a surprise up his sleeve.

My idea of celebrating.
Happy Number Nine to us!

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