Twenty Two Love Notes

One

I once filled pages and pages of diaries, prayer journals, and composition books with earnest yearnings for an imagined and idealized “One.” I wondered, wished, and doubted. I still have wonders and wishes and doubts about oh so much in this life but I have certainty of one thing: you are The One for me.

Two

With eternal gratitude for dear WWU friendships, Care Group at the Inn, the house at 801 North Garden Street, Catch Phrase, JAM, Coffee and Dominoes, vegetarian bagel sandwiches on black trash bag seats, The Booger, Good Will Hunting, all-night conversation, and inexplicable sunglass licking. From our first hangout (which wasn’t a date) to when we became a couple, I knew, I knew, I knew that being with you would be better than winning the lottery. It is.

Three

We once sat upon the sandstone at Larabee State Park and talked about faith and God and callings on our life. It felt good to think of the future in the plural possessive. Your goodness and lovingkindness and patience and wisdom and wit and curiosity all point the way to heaven for me. You’re my proof of God and God’s goodness.

Four

captured by your sparkling eyes

cerulean blue from a beautiful core

continuous rapture with you as my prize

celestial presence and laughter adored

Five

Anya, Isaac, and Quinn made our joy complete even as they filled bag after odious bag of diaper genie and made us surrender our awesome four wheel drive pickup for a minivan. Their goodness, kindness, and light are the fruits of their mother’s labor. We’re grateful for you are what make our five fabulous.

Six

Have you ever noticed that the number six, if whispered, sounds like the word sex with a posh accent? Try it. I dare you not to laugh.

Seven

in baseball we stretch

I have never had an itch

that you could not scratch

Eight

I worry that I wasted too many of our early years in frantic aspirations towards greatness. I worked and I worked and I worked at an identity and a calling and a purpose that took me away from us, from we, from you. And with every turning of my heart from dream to dream you smiled in support and said “go for it, you’re great.” I can’t regret what I can’t take back but I don’t think I would anyway, because while I wish we would have gone to Spain instead of grad school twice, and I wish I would have stayed home and cuddled instead of supervising one more dance, your goodness and grace shine ever so brightly in contrast to my futile pursuits of career. And now that it feels all over, you’re still here. Standing next to me. Smiling and saying when I’m feeling my lowest “I think you’re great.”

Nine

We’re not cat people in the sense of the word that pet owners use, but sometimes I think maybe we’re like cats in our preternatural way we land on our feet. We’re supposed to believe it’s providence, mercy, and grace and I’m sure most of it is. But somehow I suspect there’s magic in you that keeps us from spending even the first of nine lives when things go wrong. It’s your magic that makes things gone wrong seem to work out all right.

Ten

After a decade of marriage, we spent the night in a fancy Seattle hotel and you ran the inaugural Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon and then we boarded an airplane and flew to Maui for a week and a half of heaven at Napili Kai. It had to be heaven because Grandma Laurel was there, and our kids frolicked in the sun, and we swam with turtles. And while each of those things was certainly a taste of heaven, the truth of the matter is that I get to experience the bounty of the kingdom of heaven whenever I am with you.

Eleven

It’s funny how eleven years of marriage felt like a lifetime, at the time. Now, it was just the halfway point to today. And today is, God willing and if the creek don’t rise, still less than the midpoint in our lives together. I once dreaded the day we ran out things to talk about over breakfast. Now I know that’s nothing to fear because you’re so dang interesting. You’re more special and more powerful and more amazing than that girl with the powers in Stranger Things.

Twelve

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

and Summer’s lease hath all too short a date;

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;

And every fair from fair sometimes declines,

By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;

Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st

Thirteen

Why do you think we have a word like superstitious but there’s no such thing as regularsticious or even just stitious?

Fourteen

In Spanish, 14 is the last of the special number words. Afterwards the numbers enter the boringly repetitive (but easy to learn) pattern of ten and five, ten and six, twenty and one, twenty and two, etc. In our lives together, fourteen was (until recently) the hardest year of my career. You rescued me from despair through daily walks and talks and patience and goodness. And we developed our ability to thrive when mere survival feels like heroism.

Fifteen

sometimes I steal glimpses of your smile when you’re on the phone with a friend you’ve had since you were fifteen

Sixteen

I remember the anticipation, nervous delight, and open road possibilities that all seemed to unfold when I turned sixteen and got my driver’s license. My driver’s license was a passport away from a house that wasn’t a home. It was a ticket to fellowship, fun, and a future. It was responsible for the growth of the very best friendships and adventures. And when I think back on the miraculous impact a driver’s license had for me when I was sixteen my breath is taken by the realization that you are the driver’s license of my life.

Seventeen

I love the way our entire family will get up and dance whenever this song comes on. It makes it feel like our song:

Ooh
You can dance
You can jive
Having the time of your life
Ooh, see that girl
Watch that scene
Digging the dancing queen

Friday night and the lights are low
Looking out for a place to go
Where they play the right music
Getting in the swing
You come to look for a king
Anybody could be that guy
Night is young and the music’s high
With a bit of rock music
Everything is fine
You’re in the mood for a dance
And when you get the chance

You are the dancing queen
Young and sweet
Only seventeen
Dancing queen
Feel the beat from the tambourine, oh yeah
You can dance
You can jive
Having the time of your life
Ooh, see that girl
Watch that scene
Digging the dancing queen

Eighteen

If my memory serves, it was the summer of our eighteenth year of marriage that we borrowed your parents’ silver Honda Accord and drove it to a local pizza joint near Loon Lake. Then when we went to leave, we climbed into that silver Honda Accord and it wasn’t until we were both sitting inside of it that we realized it was the wrong car. It was, from the outside, identical to your parents’ car. The way you laughed inside a stranger’s car as we hurried to get out before we were noticed was the same way you laughed when you realized you had a gigantic booger on your face way back on that date hike in Bellingham before you knew what your booger laugh convinced me of: that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together.

Nineteen

Pretty much every set of wedding vows involve pledges about having and holding through sickness and health, for better and for worse. I don’t think we could have ever imagined the heartache, worry, and trauma we would know as the result of our children’s health issues during our nineteenth year of marriage. Together we embodied our wedding vows as leaned hard on one another through hospital bedside vigils and sleepless nights and myriad appointments. Remembering the hard times is also remembering how deeply and how well you love.

Twenty

knock knock

who’s there?

interrupting cow

interrupting cow wh…

MOOOOOO

Twenty One

Even when you’re just sitting there watching the scenery go by and we’re not talking and we’re kind of just passing the time on a long drive, your presence makes it all feel wonderful. My little secret about all of the times we hit the road to go camping is that while I enjoy the destinations, and I enjoy each of the activities that we do while camping, my most favorite thing is the going. It’s the drive. But it’s not the act of driving and it’s not the many beautiful sights we see on the drive. Well, save one. The beautiful sight of you by my side as we travel down the road is, every time, my moment of zen.

Twenty Two

I like the way you let me believe my pizza box poetry is profound

and also the way you move with me on the dance floor.

I like the way you enjoy adventure and food and drink

and also the way you persevere.

I like the way you love each of our children

and also the way you even love our malfunctioning dog.

I like the way you sit on the porch and talk with your mom for hours

and also the way you make time for your friends.

I like the way you still talk about your Grandma Laurel

and also the way you’re so much like her in your wisdom, patience, and strength.

I like the way you smile and laugh so easily

and also the way you listen.

I like the way you make me feel

and also the way you make me think.

Twenty two years seems like such a short long time,

I really hope to get another sixty six with you.

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