This picture gets me every time I look at it. It’s also been the screensaver on my phone for the past two days and I’ve found myself clicking my home button a few more times than normal, just to get another quick glance at it. This picture – and this smile on this face – takes me back, way back….all the way to our college years. It takes me back to the very first time I laid eyes on Adam: which was via a Facebook profile photo.
My roommate had come home from the library, and informed us all that she had invited someone new to our next Sunday night dinner. Being the proper stalkers that we were in that day, the rest of us immediately hopped on the nearest computer to find him on Facebook. I stayed clicking through his photos much longer than the rest of my roommates, and learned that he was a “theater boy,” having been in several of the college’s plays, and that he spent a lot of time with his nieces and nephews. I learned that his smile lit up his whole presence, and that his eyes were warm and welcoming. I learned that I wanted to get to know this boy.
So when Sunday rolled around, and we made our weekly trek to the church building, I was surprised to see Adam – in person! – much earlier than I had anticipated. There he was, walking down the sidewalk. Someone I was with started chatting with him, and before I could stop myself, my mouth opened and out spilled the words, “Oh! So you’re Adam.” Adam was tickled with my mysterious familiarity with him, and, he told me later, intrigued by the camera hanging off my shoulder.
He came to dinner that night and I tried to play it cool by doing my French homework (in I’m-definitely-not-trying-but-still-trying sweatpants) in the living room instead of in a nice, quiet study area like my bedroom. I sat next to him while a group of us played Egyptian Rat Screw and he slipped me cards out of his hand just to keep me in the game and sitting next to him longer. He had a car – a rare commodity on an island campus – and offered to take me to Costco (the coveted place of grocery shopping for college students). By the end of the night, I already knew a few important things:
One, I was completely, for sure, 100% OVER dating bad boys. Nice guys were much….well, nicer.
Two, I wanted to go to Costco with Adam for more reasons than just bulk grocery items.
And three, if I ended up dating him … I would end up marrying him.
Well, I didn’t just date him.
And I didn’t just marry him.
…I made a family with him.
I made a life with him.
Nine years ago, I took a giant leap of faith based on 6 months with Adam. I took that wide smile and warm eyes, and I cradled them in my heart and I saw what they could become. I saw the giving father he could be, the gentle husband he would be, and I said Yes to an eternity. I said yes to this life we’ve built, and I’ll keep saying yes – over, and over, and over again.
Not every day is perfect. It’s true – not every answer is soft, not every touch is wanted, and not every smile is returned. Writing that makes me sad, but the reflection reminds me I have room to grow. I’m grateful, however, that we stay in the fight, and that the bad days are rare. And, at the end of an imperfect day, we still crawl into bed next each other and find something to laugh at. We still stand on each other’s team, cheer each other on, and try harder the next day. We don’t just finish each other’s sentences – sometimes we say the exact same sentence at the exact same time and then we give each other Well That Was Freaky eyes. We know each other better than anyone else, and we use that knowledge to fight for each other, for our marriage, our children.
He took a chance on the girl with the camera and I took a chance on the boy in the plays, and together we made our own luck. I still wear my not-trying-to-be-sexy sweatpants and a camera on my shoulder, and he still does everything he can to keep me in the game longer, to keep me right by his side, and once in awhile….he even still takes me to Costco.
We started a tradition of taking photos together on our anniversary – just the two of us, no kids – as a a testament of another year well-loved. As documentation of US, the glue holding it all together. We get a little bit older, the wrinkles set a little bit deeper, but I think we also get just a little bit more sure of it all. Sure we’re hanging on to something good, something pure and right, something bigger than just ourselves. We’re holding on to eternity.