Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Happy Anniversary

Nine years ago I married my best friend. I can't say that the last year of marriage has been the most romantic in our history; between trying to complete a seemingly impossible adoption and then - holy cow - actually parenting four children it's been an endurance test. Paul has been juggling working full-time at a demanding job while also going to school. His schedule has been bone-crushingly exhausting. We've had at least one child in bed with us almost every night. Lots of nights one of us ends up sleeping as a refugee in one of the kids' beds so that there's room in our bed for a parent and child(ren). It's been a wonderful year and I'm so grateful for all the blessings we have, but it hasn't exactly been a pleasure cruise.

However, going through these tests has just made me love Paul even more. He's exactly the right person to be married to when the rubber meets the road. Did you know that Tiruye had some pretty strong parental favoritism when she came home? At 21 months-old, we were her fifth home and she'd always had female caregivers. She latched onto me quite quickly as her life raft. She didn't have a very big vocabulary, but if she'd had there would have been a lot of four-letter words directed in Paul's direction. She was having none of it. It was painful for both of us, but especially for Paul. I've read about parents who have responded to rejection by pulling away emotionally. It's understandable. Paul, however, worked so hard to love her through it. Someday when both of us are gone, I hope Tiruye inherits his wedding band, because the number of games of Find Papa's Ring that he played while bonding with her was monumental. He danced to "Call Me Maybe" about five thousand times while bouncing around with her because it made her laugh. The poor man walked around barefoot an awful lot just because his daughter loved taking off his shoes and socks and allowing her to do so was a way of meeting her at her own comfort level. Now, ten months after coming home, Tiruye is Paul's biggest fan and she loses her mind with excitement when he walks in the door. How could I not be madly in love with someone who would go to those lengths to strengthen his family?

Paul devotes himself passionately to our family and is a faithful friend. Even with his punishingly busy schedule, he spends quality time with the children and checks up on people he's worried about. He sometimes comes home from working all day and volunteers to take care of the dishes and nightly cleanup so that I can get to bed. That is true romance. I look back and think that we were practically babies when we started dating at eighteen, but I'm so glad we did. He is exactly the type of partner I hoped for when I imagined living out the rest of my life in partnership with someone. 

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