Stalked by the Stork...a diary of raising twelve kids

Having twelve children is an amazing blessing and one heck of a crazy ride. Join us through all the joys, smiles, tribulations and trials as we navigate this fabulous journey!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Real Love is Always Unconditional

Today is our 16th anniversary. Sixteen years. It feels like a startling surprise that such a big chunk of life has blown by. It feels crazy to contemplate the fact that in three more years, we will have officially been married half our lives. It is mind blowing to look across the living room at all ten children...all ten representing the love that we have shared and the life that we have been blessed with thus far.
We celebrate our anniversary pretty intensely around here. It's a big deal to us. We aren't one of those couples who just sort of casually acknowledges it in passing. Nope. We make the day incredibly special and we revel in every detail of that day. We celebrate the fact that we have been blessed with each other and with our ten babies. Some of whom aren't really babies anymore and are in fact nearly grown, but that's another post. But just as importantly, we celebrate the very survival of our relationship. When I look at my husband, the fact that we are still married and the much larger fact that we are happy- really, truly happy- is amazing. And the knowledge of how fortunate I am- how fortunate we both are that we have this, is not lost on me.

we got married pretty young...with lots of obstacles already in our way. We were 19 years old on the day of our "wedding", which took place at the town courthouse in a very rushed attempt to get hitched before then end of Albert's 96 hour leave from the Marine Corps. In attendance at our wedding, held in my little sister's arms, was our four day old son. I was wearing an ivory colored dress I'd snagged off the rack from Sears. It wasn't particularly flattering as I was four days post partum. Albert had borrowed a pair of slacks, shirt and tie from his best friend, or else he'd have been wearing a pair of shorts or his Marine cami's.
There we stood. Surrounded by my mom, my sisters and my dad (who had rushed home on a lunch break after getting the call that we were getting married..right then....that day) and our newborn son. We were a nineteen year old, mixed race couple with a newborn baby that we didn't have the first clue on how to successfully parent. Not a great recipe for happily ever after.

And it wasn't. It wasn't happily ever after. Those first years were hard. We moved to California. Alone. Without our families for support. We were immature and selfish and honestly, each a bit spoiled. The years passed by. And we had happy times, but still always struggled under the weight of our immaturity, bad decisions and selfish behaviors- on both our parts.

As a couple we have experienced so much...we've had legendary arguments and fights. We've both been unfaithful. We've hurt each other, betrayed each other and been unloving toward one another. And yet, we've clung to each other even when no one in the world thought we'd make it. Even when it didn't make sense for us to make it. Even when there was no other logical reason in the world that we should stay together other than the fact that despite everything- we loved each other..even when our actions didn't seem that way. Sometimes our children were the glue that held us together. Mostly, it was becuase no matter how much we'd hurt each other, or been hurt by each other- the alternative...not being together, was unfathomable. And so we stuck it out. And fell in love. All over again in some ways, and for the first time in others...we fell into a deeper, more real love...

And then Brandon got sick. Really sick, and his doctors couldn't offer us what we wanted so desperately to hear- that he'd pull through and survive and grow up to be a healthy adult. During that time, we held tight to each other- because no one else we knew- not our families or our friends- could really fully understand our fears and our nightmare. What we faced in that moment was so much bigger than anything else we'd ever experienced. It dwarfed everything that had come before and everything that's ever come after. Sure, we'd felt similar emotions during other crises in our life...but nothing hurt like the prospect of loosing our son- not our fighting, not our financial issues, not infidelity. Nothing. We learned during that time though. We learned to depend on God. We learned that we were a unit and that we couldn't be broken. No matter what.

As the years have passed, Brandon has been healthy and we've added another five children to our lives, we haven't been immune from further crises, issues, hardships or troubles. Those things fall upon all of our lives. We all have to struggle through them. But this is one thing I am sure of. I never, ever struggle by myself. My husband is my best friend and the love that we share is the greatest blessing of my life. I know without a doubt that I am loved, cherished, respected and wanted. And I hope he knows those things about himself also. My husband has loved me when it didn't make any sense to love me, and he has loved me when life might have been easier for him had he not. He has stood beside me in the face of overwhelming reason not to...and I have done the same for him. I know with confidence that my husband would put me and our relationship first in any and all situations. No matter what. Regardless of what it costs him.

We don't have everything all figured out in the marriage department. We annoy each other from time to time, we fuss over who should have started that load of laundry or who should be cooking dinner.Sometimes we have very real, fundamental differences of child rearing. But here is what we do know. God CAN restore any marriage. God wants troubled marriages to be healed from whatever adversities they may face, from whatever sins or shortcomings each partner may possess. Bad relationships CAN turn around. Love CAN be worth fighting for. The good in a relationship CAN outweigh the bad. Real love is ALWAYS unconditional. And that if two people really, truly love each other, then no matter how steep the uphill climb, it CAN be accomplished. Because really, there is no other acceptable alternative. Not for our hearts, not for our children.

So, today is our day. Sixteen years. I feel so in love and so happy and so fortunate and so thankful that God is the ultimate healer. Of children. Of marriages. Of everything. And that He enabled us to move past ourselves and demonstrate to our children and each other that love He created is worth fighting for and worth struggling for.
And that He blessed me with this particular person to be my husband, and the father of my children, and my soul mate, and my best friend.


Anonymous said...

So glad you're really celebrating today. You know I've seen it over and over when a child gets sick, the parents split. What a blessing that you two had the opposite reaction.
Lifting up prayers!
II Corinthians 1:3-5 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
Prayer Bears
My email address

Anonymous said...

Always praying!
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Prayer Bears
My email address

debi9kids said...

Hope you had a wonderful anniversary!

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