Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Saying Goodbye...

I'm leaving this afternoon to journey to Santa Barbara to say my final good-byes to my Grandmother.
I'm going to Denver tonight, flying to Santa Barbara tomorrow morning, and coming home on Friday.
I am leaving my sweet husband at home to deal with all of the busyness and schedules, and a sick little girl.
I feel guilty, and sad.
Yet excited.
I miss my hometown and I am happy I get to see it again, albeit only for a few days.
I can already smell the ocean and hear the sea.
I can picture the white stucco buildings with their gorgeous tile roofs.
I can feel the laid-back atmosphere.
It will be a bittersweet trip.
But I am going to make the most of it.
I'm going to take a kazillion pictures because I don't know when I'm going back again.
My Dad insists it will be his last trip there.
I want to capture as much of it as I can for him.
My soul is already there.
Hometowns are like that.
Especially when they are as beautiful as Santa Barbara.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

15 years . . .

Tom on our wedding day - looking ever so dapper.

Me on our wedding day - looking happy, but nervous.

Sorry for the weird frame - I couldn't remove the photo from the album matting.

Us with the boys. My, how they've grown since then.

It has been 15 year since our wedding. It seems like yesterday in many ways, in others it seems like a lifetime ago. We were talking this morning about how young and naive we were. And how newlyweds always assume life will be perfect and blissful and easy. It hasn't been any of those things...but it has been wonderful. There has not been one day in the past fifteen years that I haven't thanked God for bringing this amazing man into my life.
Tom was a happy bachelor when we met. He was 28, had never been married, and he had no children. He had seen me having lunch a few times, and we'd been introduced at a birthday party. I had no interest in dating anyone. I had just been through a very difficult and painful marriage and divorce. The only males I wanted to spend time with were my two sons. Then Tom and I ran into each other one evening while we were each out with friends. He asked me out (apparently he'd been wanting to do this for quite some time). I hesitated. He saw the hesitation and quickly blurted out that he wanted to MAKE ME DINNER. That won me over so I accepted.
Basically, he "had me at stir-fry". LOL.
We were married 8 months later. In a small church in Evanston.
I was Mormon.
He was Catholic.
We were married in an Episcopal Church.
By a Lutheran minister.
It was a lovely wedding, full of love and laughter. Our friends and family were there to help us celebrate.
We went to Maui for our first anniversary / belated honeymoon. Tom insisted we take the boys with us. Those ten days brought us even closer together as a family. We always tease the boys that since we took them on OUR honeymoon, we fully expect the favor to be returned when they marry. They insist it won't happen... We'll see.
We have never taken a trip without our children. We haven't even taken a weekend away, except for the year I was VERY pregnant with Katie. So, technically, we had a child with us. It isn't that we don't want to be alone together, but we both know how quickly this time will pass. It won't be long before the two younger kids are in college and we won't be able to travel with them anymore.
Not many women have the opportunity to see what kind of father their husband will be. I was able to. He was amazing with my boys. He was kind, and patient, and loving, and very involved. A few years ago, we got some new neighbors. Tom was out back working on the yard quite a bit then so he had a chance to visit with them several times before I even met them. The day I met the lady, she inquired about our family and commented about the two older boys being Tom's. I replied that I'd already had the boys when we married. And she said, "Yes, but you are the step-mom, right? Tom is their father?". I had to explain that, no, I had actually given birth to them. She was shocked. She said that from the way Tom spoke about them, they just assumed that they were his. THAT is the kind of man he is.
After I got pregnant with Brendan, I had horrible morning sickness - always at 2:30 am.
Every single night.
Each time it happened, I could hear Tom pacing the floor outside the door...apologizing profusely to me. When I finished and opened the door, he was always standing there with a cool, wet cloth and a cold glass of water for me.
Again - every single night.
He has changed just as many icky diapers as I have. He has read to and rocked our babies to sleep as much as I have. He has probably given them MORE baths than I have. He is a hands-on Dad to all 4 of the kids.
Tom drove by himself for 8 hours through a horrible snow storm to go to our first grandbaby's funeral in Utah. He stayed at my former in-laws' home (there aren't hotels there - small town), and went to the funeral home to see and pray over our sweet grandson before his burial. Alone. I couldn't go. I was pregnant with Katie and was not allowed to travel so far away (we had a very high-risk pregnancy). He called me from the parking lot, sobbing with me over our loss. His heart broke as much as mine did.
We don't have "steps" or "half-'s" in our home - we're just family. Period.
I could try for 3 lifetimes and never be able to thank him enough for all of the love and support he has shown us through the years.
There is nobody I would rather my sons see as an example of what a husband and father should be.
There is nobody I'd rather have taking Katie on "Daddy-Daughter Dates".
He is truly one in a million. And I am so very, very grateful that he chose me to journey with through life.
Happy Anniversary, Mr. C.
I love you most.