Sixteen years ago, I met a boy. Actually I met him a year earlier than that, but we weren’t so fond of each other. He was my best friend’s locker partner, and he thought I was annoying for leaving her random notes taped to the door. I thought he was a jerk for always ripping them down. But about a year later, things changed. We were both Juniors, competing on the speech and debate team for Flathead High (Go Braves!) and on Saturday, after a long first meet in Great Falls I ventured to the back of the bus on our trip home. And I saw him again. I didn’t recognize him as the jerk who shared a locker. But I did recognize his big heart, shining through that crooked smile and spiked up hair. We talked the whole way home, and by the time we reached Kalispell, I knew I wanted to see him again. Over the next couple of weeks we got to know each other more and in a move of bravado, I asked him to our winter formal, a Sadie Hawkins, and he said yes. Soon after that, on November 14, 1997 we started officially dating.
I can’t believe it’s been that long. Half of my life I’ve spent with this boy-now-man. I look back and can’t help but smile at the memories. How he would meet me at the door and walk me to my classes. When I bought a fishing license just so I could spend more time with him. Pick nicks in the living room on a rainy day, and marathon rounds of Uno. Walking to the Ferry Steps and hiking in the woods. We had long distance calls half way around the world, and we vowed to spend our lives together on a cold winter day.
We’ve made so many plans, these sixteen years. Some have come to fruition, and some have not. And some have taken root and grown in ways we never imagined. When we had first talked about building our family, adoption was something we always wanted to do. The thought of so many kids out there who needed a home was too much for us not to address. And while it wasn’t the whole original plan, adoption is how we have built our family. It hasn’t been an easy road. There have been let downs and loads of paperwork. Disappointments held hands with home studies and social worker visits. But in the end, what was two has now grown to six. And through it all, he has been beside me.
On Tuesday I was a guest speaker for our students at the college. I know it sounds odd, but they didn’t know I was coming and presenting for their class and there was a reason for that. I was talking to them about infertility and I didn’t want them to see me as only their in
structor. I wanted them to see me for who I am: a woman who has fought a battle and survived. And it was an amazing experience. There were a few times during my time with them that a few of the men in the group asked questions, and often it had to do with my hubby. How had he supported me? What about his grieving as well? Was he with me through all the procedures? While the specific answers to these questions varied, there is one thing that I made clear: when it all comes down to it, when the dust settles and the tears dry, I know this beyond a shadow of a doubt: he’s got my back. It’s an amazing thing to know that. To recognize
that our vows have gone beyond the richer or poorer, the healthy or sick. We’ve fought demons together and I know that wont change in the future. He is my rock, and I am blessed to be his wife. Together we have built a family, and it all started about sixteen years ago.