We are deep into Party Month here at the Martin household, but today I want to celebrate one milestone event above Grace's 10th birthday, Lynda's 40th birthday, or Sarah's upcoming 13th birthday.
Today, we celebrate the union that brought (almost) all of those other events to pass. I mean, presumably Lynda would have turned 40 someday had she met me or not. But the other items on the list were the result of a decision we made public 18 years ago today. We stood in Lynda's childhood church in Valdosta, Georgia and pledged our lives to each other--to have, to hold, for richer, for poorer, for all the things you expect to say and for all the things that you can't even imagine you will one day come to say.
Because of THAT pledge, exactly 18 years ago, so many things in our lives pivoted into a new shared direction.
15 years and approximately six days ago, we arrived in southwest Columbus, with all that we owned in a 25-foot truck and a packed Chrysler LeBaron. We celebrated your 25th birthday, Red White and BOOM, and the upcoming Independence Day weekend with lots of moving, furniture lifting, sweat, a fair bit of arguing, and LOTS of exhaustion. But the life we pledged back in Valdosta in 1995 was firmly OURS. We were in a new state, alone, uncertain, but together.
12 years and 351 days ago, we welcomed Sarah into our pair and the family that we had always talked about began to become reality. Sarah drew us out of ourselves and helped us to be better people, who had responsibilities to meet, values to demonstrate, and lessons to teach. She taught us more levels of humility and fear, as well as avenues of happiness that we are still experiencing.
10 years and 11 days ago, Grace joined our trio and made us realize that parenting is all about relearning. Whatever we thought we knew about what worked was tested anew by a completely new individual. And similarly, she introduced us to her own pathways of happiness and pride that made parenting that much more enjoyable again.
5 years and 166 days ago, Hannah completed our group with her own special brand of confidence, laughter, and brashness. She reflects the best and worst of all of us, encapsulating the experiences and personalities of this family that had its beginnings on the hot Valdosta day eighteen years ago . . . today.
So, happy anniversary to my wonderful wife on the day that we officially started it all.
Sure, once might say that it really started on that day in Honors House 22 years and some odd number of days before . . . but I've got to save some stories to write about in the anniversary years to come--20, 30, 37 years ahead.