Where has time gone? Today is our 12th wedding anniversary. I don't even feel old enough to have been married for 12 years, much less figuring in the fact that this is actually my second marriage! Yet, we are both showing signs of age. Both of us have a touch of grey sneaking into our hairlines- me a little more than you. Of course, you are four years younger than I am. You have some time to catch up. Your hair is starting to thin, though- quite a bit in some areas. We both have some wrinkles on our faces and a few more pounds than we used to carry around. But, we have so many memories and stories to tell, too.
This year has been crazy- a roller coaster really. Which is quite a fitting description with what we now know. On this day last year I was lying in bed and asked you if I was going to die. You honestly couldn't tell me no. You were as uncertain as I was. I will always appreciate that you were so honest with me. You've always had an attitude that we will fight our demons together- no matter how big those monsters are. I did recover, though, for the most part. I still have a lot of pain and frustration with nerve damage, but I'm here. I had said then that if I could teach I would be happy.
I just finished my first year of teaching. What an experience! I loved that you came to my classroom with me so often and cleaned my desks. It helped me see that this was an important experience to you, too. When we found out I wasn't going to have a contract for next year you were the first to encourage me to find the job I really enjoy instead of settling for something just to have financial security. I love that you want me to be happy.
Our daughters are growing so fast. They are already at the stage where they want to be away from the house all the time- out with their friends. They don't call it playing anymore; it's hanging out. Already! I look at Andrea and can clearly remember being her age. Amber is not too far behind. You are so good with them. You talk to them like they are human beings. You give them the benefit of the doubt that they can understand what you mean when you talk to them without talking AT them. Both girls know so much about life because you have taken the time. I remember the one time Andrea asked how the water came out of the faucet and you began to tell her and show her the pipes. She finally got bored and wandered away, but you cared enough to answer her question. When we brought Amber home after being born, you and Andrea sat on the front porch watching the Preying Mantis for an hour while I napped inside with the baby. You've been a great father!
Staying together hasn't always been easy. I'll be the first to admit that. With your recent bipolar diagnosis, though, I can understand what we've been through a lot better. I am so proud of how hard you are working at staying stable and continuing to become healthy. I know it's not easy, and I know that not all patients want to give to their families the way you do. I thank you for realizing this isn't just something that affects you; it takes a toll on all of us. We'll keep figuring it out, though. The ups and downs of life will someday become just that- normal life events that don't scare us quite the way they do now.
It's definitely been a year. We've been through more changes and events than I would have thought possible to survive. We did it, though! The other day you left a note on my desk that said "Everything will be okay." You then crossed out the "will be" and wrote "is." You are right, Daniel. Together we make everything okay. We'll get where we need to be together. We've always been an incredible team. I can't wait to see what the next year will bring us.