In 1996, Prince Charles and Diana divorced, Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympics, Dolly the sheep became the first successfully cloned mammal, and Woody and Buzz were all the rage among the kid set because the original “Toy Story” had been released for the 1995 holiday season.
Also in 1996? Mr. Andi and I got married.
On February 10, on a drizzly Saturday in Guntersville, Alabama, two days shy of the anniversary of our first date and after a lengthy engagement (we got engaged a little over three months after that first date), we both said “I do.”
When we set off for our honeymoon, we were young and optimistic, and we had every reason to be. We had our health, we had great jobs working for the same stable, growing company (we first met at our job interview), and we had each other. We envisioned a house full of boys who would play sports and hunt and fish (though girls were welcome, too!)
We bought a house – a small post-war bungalow with quirks galore – and we got the requisite labrador retriever (though she was a rescue pup – a pattern of rescue pets we still follow). We waited a couple of years and then decided to start a family.
Our family didn’t turn out exactly the way we expected.
On the road to parenthood, we crossed the bridges of miscarriage, stillbirth, infertility, prematurity and cerebral palsy, and (eventually, twelve years after we started) Down syndrome. There are days that I feel we’ve lived two lifetimes in nineteen years. We have had a couple of rough patches, as well – times when I wondered if we were strong enough to make it.
But we are strong enough, and we have made it, and we will make it.
As I was mulling over what to say in today’s post, I thought how clearly I can remember the rough times, which at first seemed like a bad thing. But then I realized why those rough times stick out so much in my mind.
It’s because there are so few of them.
Mr. Andi is a good husband, and a good father. He is patient with both of our children and their limitations, and with me and my craziness (as I type this post there’s an almost-finished console table in the garage that he decided to build for me on Sunday because I Just. Can’t. Stand. One. More. Day. the piece of furniture it’s going to replace).
I mentioned our family vernacular last week, but Mr. Andi and I have our own private language, as well, that not even the kids understand. Because we were married for almost seven years before Sarah Kate was born, we had time to make our own memories without the children, and she enjoys listening to those old stories. Another seven years passed before Nathan came long, so there are also stories that feature us as a family of only three.
I’m not sentimental or romantic, so believe me when I say that Mr. Andi and I are a perfect fit. He is strong when I am weak, and I am calm when he is stormy. He seeks adventure while I avoid risk, and keeps me laughing through even through the darkest of times.
I don’t know what the future holds for us, but I know I want to journey through it with my soulmate by my side.
Happy anniversary, Mr. Andi. There are no words to express how deeply I love you.