It was 23 years ago that I made one of the most important decisions of my life. I stood in a church and watched the woman I would call my beloved walk down the aisle. It was the day my father lit his robe on fire with the unity candle (which Wendy didn’t even want in the first place). Side note, he handled it like a champ – as he always did. He put it out and just kept rolling. Most people had no idea. As Wendy made her way towards the front of the church, she was absolutely beautiful – but what I didn’t know is she would become more and more beautiful as the years went by. And here were are, 23 years later. I’m not sure many would have put their bet on us being here this many years later. For so many reasons, it seemed unlikely. But we are still moving forward together – and I couldn’t be more grateful.
This is not intended to be one of those sappy posts. I’m not much for those and neither is Wendy. This is intended to be more of a gratitude post. I don’t do this much because Wendy isn’t necessarily excited when I talk about her. She is the quiet one. She feels deeply but is reserved. My Dad swore she didn’t speak more than 5 words in the first 3 years of our relationship. Then, he said once she started, she never stopped. Wendy is a gift to the lives she touches and my Dad was as excited as anyone to have her as one of his own.
I do want to say that I’ve learned so much in our time together. The lessons I have learned and the wisdom I have gained would not have been the same without her. We have struggled together. We have celebrated together. We have welcomed children into our lives and watched them grow into amazing young women. We have done this together. And for me, that has been essential. It hasn’t always been easy. There have been so many times it seemed easier to give up than to keep going. But we chose to keep going. We kept struggling together. That has paid off. Here we are.
23 years down and as many as God allows to go. It isn’t perfect – but I wouldn’t want it to be – because then that would mean I wouldn’t be a part of it. It isn’t always easy – nothing valuable ever is. It isn’t always what we would want – but it is so much more than we could have ever dreamed. Today, I am grateful – my heart is full – and my life is joyful. Thank you, Wendy Mitchell – I love you.