“I didn’t even try to kiss you until our third date, in large measure because I was completely unconvinced someone like you would want to kiss someone like me.”
The first time I saw you, I knew you were out of my league.
I nudged the guy next to me. “Who…is that?!”
“Dedee Wallace. She transferred in.”
“Forget it, Lhamon. She’s out of your league.”
See, even my friends knew.
You were completely unaware of your beauty. All of your attention was focused on the person to whom you were speaking, oblivious to the guys twisting their necks to look at you.
It made you more desirable to me.
We didn’t date right away, in large measure because I was completely unconvinced someone like you would want to date someone like me. After a bit of prompting from a friend, I finally asked you out.
I didn’t even try to kiss you until our third date, in large measure because I was completely unconvinced someone like you would want to kiss someone like me. But I mustered up the gumption and gave it a go. It was the most tentative initiation of a kiss in the history of kisses, but I did it and to my surprise you kissed me back. I’m not sure there’s been even ten days since that we haven’t kissed at least once.
On October 31, 1987, I dropped to my knee, pulled out a tiny little box that contained an even tinier diamond, and asked you to marry me. In spite of the fact that I proposed on Halloween (what a loser!), we’ve gone the distance.
How can I sum up the past 26 years? Like every marriage, we’ve had our share of peaks and valleys. But we remained. We prayed through it. We made it work.
When we arrived at our honeymoon cottage in Pemaquid Point, Maine and discovered there wasn’t a double bed in the entire place, we pulled the mattresses off the single beds. We put them in front of the fireplace in the living room and realized it was better that way because we were lulled to sleep each night by the sound of the ocean coming through the windows. We made it work.
We didn’t make much money early on, maxed out our credit card, and didn’t know how we were going to make rent. I was offered a job in sales at a radio station with $12,000 salary PLUS commissions PLUS bonuses and we celebrated our new-found fortune with an extravagant dinner at Captain D’s. We praised God and we made it work.
When you called me that day at work to say, “The test was positive,” I dropped the phone and raced up the hallway screaming, “We’re going to have a baby!” and then ran back to the phone when I realized I’d left you waiting. You were patient with me and we realized we had no idea how to raise a child but we praised God and made it work.
A week after Taylor was born, she had to go back to the hospital and while everything turned out fine, we were left with a mountain of medical bills. We praised God that our baby was healthy and celebrated 18 months later when the last bill was paid and we laughed and said “Now they can’t repossess her!” We made it work.
A few years later, we borrowed $5,000 from our family for a down-payment on our very own home. We wondered how we could pay the money back and make a house payment, too. We couldn’t afford curtains or a couch so we hung sheets in the windows and bought two large pillows that served as our couch for years until we could afford a real one. We made it work.
Then, Rachel was born and we wondered if we could love another child as much as we loved Taylor. We realized how stupid that was because God makes hearts grow bigger as families get bigger and we adored our little girls and made it work.
When you were torn between a career and the longing to stay home with the kids, you cried and I said “I’ll support you either way”. You decided the kids needed you more than you needed a career. Meanwhile, all the diapers, onesies, formula, hair ribbons, little dresses every kid needs in those early years put a strain on our budget but we thanked God that we always seemed to bring in just enough to make it. Through it all, we laughed and smothered our girls with affection. We were actually making this family thing work.
When the radio station was sold and I was out of a job, we wondered “What happens now?” We stayed up that night to hear the station go off the air and we were scared to death. You encouraged me by saying “I believe in you” and we both cried. Somehow, through it all, we made it work.
When the doctor said “There’s nothing more we can do” and we all said goodbye to your Mom, we cried our guts out as she passed away. You wondered how you could go on without your best friend. We both wondered how your Dad was going to make it on his own and how our girls were going to cope without their Nanny but we had friends who sat with us, brought meals and prayed. Even though the hole is deep and we feel it even now, we thank God knowing that we’ll see her again. Even though you ache just to hear her voice and at times the pain is as fresh as it was 12 years ago, we press on and we somehow make it work.
Now our girls are on their own and that longing deep in your soul to pursue a calling has found its fulfillment as you founded and lead The Covering House. It is amazing and beautiful to see the work you’re doing. All your education, every talent you possess, and the wisdom you’ve gained from each pain and joy of your life is being used to help the survivors of the most wretched scourge on earth. These precious girls find hope, healing and restoration from sex-trafficking because you have a heart that is open to the broken people in this world. You astound me!
These past 26 years, we’ve learned to love each other even when we’re unlovable. We’ve learned to forgive at great personal cost. Even those little irritating things that used to drive us nuts about each other have now become dear to us, even attractive. Isn’t that odd?
I am forever grateful that we never once considered letting go of each other, even when it hurt to stay. The sticking-with-it has produced an intimacy that I couldn’t have dreamed was possible back in college when I first laid eyes on you.
Thank you for being my wife, my lover, and my best and most compassionate friend.
I love you dearly.
(This is an excerpt from a post Greg originally found on his blog, www.GregLhamon.com.)
Photo: Jason Corey/Flickr