15 years ago … on July 6, 2001, I stood before family and friends and took the hand of the most beautiful woman I knew. I had tears in my eyes and dreams in my soul. I promised her a lifetime of adventure that day, for I had a plan for my what my life was going to be like and where I was going to go. A few years later we had our first child and it was the proudest moment of my life to that point. I remember being so excited, for him, for us … and cause life was still going according to the plan. All that was left was the white picket fence and a prestigious career.
It is not only little girls that dream of their wedding days and the white picket fence life, I had very similar dreams. It was the life I knew I was suppose to have. It was the life I wanted. Happy family, sunny vacations, solid career. Always thought I would have that marriage other people would look at with respect and one we could look back on with pride. Sure we had our troubles, our ups and downs, but this was how it was suppose to be – You can’t see the accomplishment without experiencing the struggle.
We had our adventure, several in fact. We enjoyed some good times, and some great times. We fought side-by-side as great warriors, slaying many a dragon along the way … and then together, We even created life.
It was a great time with great memories, but not all great things last … and our adventure together was set to change in ways that I had never planned or envisioned. Yet, that period of our lives is now a part of history and today we find ourselves now forging new paths and finding new, independent adventures. Our stories are not done, they are just no longer part of a single book. We are still bound together by history and by the future for those lives we created along our way are still looking for guidance, leadership, and love. Together we are providing that, and for that I am thankful.
I knew from our first few dates that you would be a great mother, and in that you never faltered, but you were also a great companion. Through you I learned so much about how to live, about parenting, about what is important … and about how to show appreciation and affection. Simply put, I would not be the man I am nor the man I am going to become without you.
I am grateful for all 14 years of our marriage as well as the months that have followed. That is not to say I did not have some dark days, days where I could not navigate, days where I felt the world was coming apart – but in those days I have found strength, I found resilience. In the dark I have been able to rekindle some of my long forgotten dreams, once again fueling my passions and my ambition. Yet, more importantly, I have found a deeper connection with my boys. I see it, I hear it, and I feel it like I never have before. I have found my role as a father. Today I am energized by that more than anything else, and I look forward to what tomorrow will bring.
… without you life today would not be what it is, I would not be who I am. I am truly grateful for all that we did together. For it was great!