I've tried to write about our love story at least a half a dozen times on this blog. And every time, I've ended up deleting the sappy mess of words and emotion that appears on the screen. There is just no way to cover a lifetime of crazy hard good long deep love in one post, except to say that we are still Valentines.
That guy. Tom asked me to marry him six weeks after our first date. Of course I said "yes" immediately. He always tells people, "I chased Rachel until she caught me," and it's almost true. I knew right from that first double-take that he was going to be the one. Six months from that first date, we were hitched. And what a ride it's been.
Today I'm sharing my two favorite photos of us.
The first (above) is from when we were engaged: Tom let himself into the UT Arlington stadium in the middle of the night, armed with a flashlight and a design he'd drawn on grid paper, and spelled out "I love you Rachel" in the stands by flipping seats into a pattern. In the morning, he took me up in a small plane and flew me over it as he launched into a monologue entitled, "I Wish There Was Some Special Way I Could Tell You How Much I love You....Oh Look Down There!"
It was epic.
The photo actually appeared in the local paper. Tom landed the plane and we made our way over to the stadium to take pictures and a photojournalist, who'd seen the gigantic love note from the road, snapped it. What a memory.
Fast forward 29 years, three kids, two dogs, several cats, gerbils and parakeets, three businesses, some failures, some tough years and some incredibly awesome times.....and here we are.
This photo is from our daughter's wedding in November and I love it because it was such a special moment. We were in the middle of taking family pictures and it just seemed like time went into slow motion and everything was good and beautiful and sweet and perfect. I don't know, we were just a couple of kids who fell crazy in love and made this life with each other and suddenly there we were...our kids all grown up and finding their own way and somehow it was coming back to the two of us. I could almost picture every moment of our history - the toddlers, the middle school years, the piano lessons, the braces, the job losses, the health scares, the babies we lost and the graduations and now weddings. So much has happened and yet so much has stayed the same. We're still those crazy kids, we're still laughing at the same corny lines and still getting angry over the same petty things. I'm still messy and he's still a neat freak. We still think the other is hot.
And we're still Valentines. In years past, we've made this day about the kids and making sure they felt loved. Sometimes we've even forgotten to celebrate it. But this year, we are feeling a little bit giddy again. Maybe it's that life is about to turn another corner and things will once again change when the last of our kids takes off for college. Or maybe it's just that we feel the depth of the life we've forged, and the experiences we've shared that have become our story.
There is no Small Thing today, except to celebrate the love in your life - whatever that looks like. In my experience, love is less about flowers and chocolates and more about changing diapers, paying bills and simply being there for the other person no matter what. Love is long and hard and crazy and good. It's awesome if you get a bouquet of flowers every now and then, but what's even awesomer is when you look across the table at the person you married and know you'd do it all over again. To know that you didn't get the "perfect" life together, you just got a shot at making the "best" life together. And that every day you get a new chance to make it work, to share the load, to dance in the kitchen and to hold hands on the couch. You get a new chance to love and forgive and overlook and celebrate. You are making your own love story happen.
Have a Happy Valentine's Day! With much love,
Song of the Day: Valentine, Martina McBride/Jim Brickman