Twenty-five years. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around it. Even after celebrating your 25 years as an active-duty soldier, the idea that we have now been married for that amount of time still boggles my mind.
Two and a half decades. DECADES!!
We were so damned young. On the surface of it, we really had very little going for us – neither of us had any education past high school, neither of us had spent any time living on our own. You were a baby Private First Class in the Army, and I had a scholarship at the University. We had potential; oh, we had such great potential. But it was feared our plans to get married would derail a lot of that potential.
That’s what we were told.
The simultaneous facts that I was newly pregnant with Big G (surprise!) and that we hadn’t talked to our parents at length about how serious we were in our relationship probably did not help matters.
We were told by some that we wouldn’t last five years. Some thought I would never finish school. Some figured we would be destitute and miserable.
But you know what? We weren’t. We aren’t.
My G, you’re still first.
All these years later, you’re still the first I want to laugh with. When I see something funny at a store, or I come across a hilarious bumper sticker on the road – you are the first one I want to tell. I sometimes can’t wait to share the laughter with you.
You’re still the first I need to hurt with. When our girls have gone through struggles of their own, you are the one I turn to for help. I know you will understand that my mother’s heart is hurting, and you offer a shoulder even as your father’s heart aches too. When the Army has offered us another “challenge,” I’ve known I could turn to you. I know I can lean into your warmth, grow stronger, and then we can forge ahead together. If work or friendships or other situations go sour, I know I can turn to you. Even when you’ve been 7,000 miles away – you’ve been the first.
You’re the first I need to rejoice with, too. When I got that interview for a dream job, or something went fabulously, ridiculously well, you’re there to share the joy. I know you feel gladness simply because I am rejoicing. Your eyes sparkle and your smile welcomes me to share.
You’re the first I need to help me decide. When there are big decisions about work, or family, or future, I turn to you to help bounce the ideas around. You don’t just say what I want to hear; sometimes, in fact, you say exactly what I do not want to hear. You say what’s real.
More than twenty-five years ago, we saw potential in each other. We looked at our friendship, felt a spark flare up, and thought “Yeah, we can make it work.” We wanted what was best for each other, and decided we would put each other first.
Twenty-five years ago this month, we committed to each other first. First before friends, first before family, and quite often, first before self.
Here’s to 25 more years of “firsts”.