(Our anniversary is on Sunday, but since we’ll be far from a computer then, I thought I’d post this today.)

Hard to believe it’s been twelve years already, Buddy. Twelve years of sharing a bed, taking turns cooking meals, helping each other through the rough spots, raising children together, wondering whether we’ll be able to pay the bills, going camping… and all those little moments where even the silence was comfortable.

We’ve been through a lot in twelve years.

– We’ve lived in 3 homes and owned 2 of them.
– We’ve conceived 5 children, given birth to 4, and got to raise 3. And aren’t they the three most beautiful girls you’ve ever seen?
– We’ve travelled to Mexico, Alberta (lots of times), B.C., Denver (remember all that snow?), San Fransisco, Quebec City (oooh baby, wasn’t that fun?), the Black Hills (a couple of times), and lots of places in between.
– We’ve done a lot of camping, even when the girls were really little. Julie’s first night in a tent was at 2 weeks old.
– We spent two summers at White Lake in our camper. We had lots of campfires, ate lots of s’mores and camper breakfasts, and walked to Rainbow Falls lots of times.
– We’ve survived several job transitions for both of us.
– You went back to school and got your GED.
– You surprised your family and friends and even YOURSELF when you took the greatest risk of your life, quit work and went to University. So glad you did. And I’m not the least bit surprised you’re pulling off A’s and B’s. You’re one of the smartest people I know.
– We lost our son Matthew, and through it all, our marriage and faith got stronger.
– We found a great church where our whole family feels loved and supported.
– We watched our siblings get married, have babies, adopt babies, get divorced and re-married, move in with us and move out again… and we still get along with ALL of them.
– You finally got diagnosed with sleep apnea, and after years of living with your snoring, I’m so happy to fall asleep to the gentle hum of your CPAP machine. And you’re happy to wake up without a headache.
– You supported me through quitting a good job with the government and following my heart to a new, exciting (though lower-paying) opportunity.
– You patiently watched the kids alone while I jumped on so many planes to travel to work commitments (including a three week trip to Africa).
– We made it through the deep dark days of your depression. When you decided life wasn’t worth it and tried to check out, I didn’t know how our marriage would survive. But we patched together the pieces and struggled through. Now we’re stronger than we were.
– You cheered me on whenever I tried to be a writer. You’ve always been my biggest fan club.
– Two years ago, the day after we celebrated our tenth anniversary, we lost Dad. I remember how you held me up when the phone call came and my legs crumpled beneath me. I think it was almost as hard on you as it was on me. He’d come to mean a lot to you and I know you miss those political discussions over Time magazine and instant coffee.
– We’ve had to play nurse-maid for each other on several occasions. You’ve had to pick me up off the floor numerous times when I’ve passed out from vomiting. Something in my crazy brain makes my body shut down when I throw up – I know you were rather surprised the first time you saw it happen, but now you calmly stand behind me to catch me when I fall. Bless you for that.
– Your brother married my sister and now they’re having a baby with the same genes as ours. Who’d have thought, twelve years ago, when they stood at our sides and signed our marriage license, that we’d be at their sides doing the same for them 11 years later?
– We watched our oldest 2 girls start school. Hard to believe how much they’ve grown.
– We went to several funerals for grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and cousins. And of course our son and dad.
– We lost my grandma and your mémère. I know you still miss mémère – she was an amazing woman.
– We’ve owned 4 vehicles – the Blazer, 2 vans, and now the car.
– We’ve shared a bed approximately 4300 nights (give or take a few when you snored too much or I was travelling).
– We’ve eaten a lot of meals together, usually taking turns cooking and cleaning up afterwards. Now that you’re home more than I am, you cook more, and I’m grateful for that.
– We’ve had a lot of good discussions, about politics, kids, world affairs, you name it.

I love you, buddy. You’re so good to me. Twelve years ago, we promised to love, honour, and support each other through all kinds of ups and downs. It hasn’t always been easy – sometimes the road gets bumpier than we could have imagined – but it’s been worth it.

Happy Anniversary and may we see many more of these. I want to grow old with you. I want the journey to stretch out in front of us for many years to come.

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