It’s not very often that I blog here. Michelle and I started it some years ago with the intention of us throwing out random thoughts and historical documentation of our lives together. I, most of the time don’t feel I have much to offer because she writes so well and notices the details of our lives that I sometimes glaze over. Not that I dont think they are important, but because I get swept up in my day to days. My goal for this year is to notice more, to stop and smell the roses as they say. So I think that I’ll start here. My best friend.
Some of you may know the story but for those who don’t, here goes.
In spring of 1999, I needed a change of scenery. I could have gone back to Sioux City and worked or even stayed in Ames to do the same. But fond summer memories of Camp Foster as a kid, flooded my head and I decided to take a stab at becoming counselor for the summer. I was terrified, I had never been responsible for that many kids at one time. I lacked confidence but gave it a whirl anyway. I went through staff training getting to know almost everyone, those who would become my summer family. One however, stood out to me. We had skits that we would perform for camper and staff that would always get a chuckle out of everyone. One day post lunch, it was skit time. Out came this beautiful girl on roller skates, with crazy hair and acting silly, confident, and carefree. Its cliche, I know, but my heart skipped a beat. I was in love. Over the course of that summer, we dated, fell in love, and spent every chance we could get together. Here I was, unsure of myself, couldn’t figure out why this wonderful woman wanted to be with me. I was confident that as the summer came to and end, she would move on and this would have been just one of those camp romances that dies when the doors close at seasons end. But it didn’t.
Michelle had started grad school at Iowa and I was at Iowa State. We would go and see each other every weekend over the course of the next couple years. We would go out with friends to the bars as college kids do, but some of my favorite moments were just laying around our apartments, with food delivery and watching old episodes of Frasier, Rosanne, etc. Being next to her always felt right to me, no matter what we were doing. We came to know and love each others families well. We started making plans for our future, voicing dreams, and just being silly on the phone till the late hours.
She graduated at the end of the program and accepted a position as a planner in Janesville, WI. This was a huge step in our relationship. This is the moment where we became an us. I bought Michelle a ring and my mother gifted me a diamond which she had treasured for decades. I had all of the plans to make a huge proposal, fancy, romantic, all that. Michelle and I were in Sioux City and at her folks’ house for the night. My stomach was in knots. I was so excited to propose, I couldn’t wait any longer. I asked her dad earlier in the evening for his blessing. (Old school) Michelle was half asleep on the couch and I had the ring in my pocket. I kept looking at her. This beautiful, kind, loving woman. I couldn’t imagine my life without her. I woke her up, I kneeled in front of her and proposed. I will never forget the look on her face. She had half asleep eyes with tears in them and she muttered out “shut up, shut up” in disbelief of what I was asking. It wasn’t the most romantic moment, but I wanted her hand so badly, I wanted to spend every moment of my life with her.
We moved to Janesville and started our lives together as an engaged couple. We were married in August 2002. One of the greatest moments of my life. I will never forget how beautiful she looked as she came down the aisle. It is etched into my memory for eternity. I could see the life that I had always wanted in her eyes and smile as she looked at me at the alter.
Shortly after we were settled in a new house in Wisconsin, we decided to start a family. We had some struggles at first, which brought heart ache, tears, doubt, frustration and all of the things you can imagine. But we got through it together, we didn’t give up and kept trying. Then, came Ethan and in 2004 he emerged into this world. The glow on Michelles face holding our baby boy was another one of the great moments I will never forget. The child we had struggled to have was now here, healthy and beautiful. Joy had filled our hearts.
After some time, we decided that we wanted to move back to Sioux City to be closer to family. Both sets of grandparents were in town so it just made sense.
Not long after, Owen came around. In 2006 he was born, another beautiful boy. Again more, joy came into our lives. Owen was born colicky which quickly became difficult. Many sleepless nights. He was so uncomfortable, we felt terrible and helpless as he cried throughout the day and night. We were drained and frustrated, at our wits end and then we managed to find a miracle in a formula designed for colic. Soon he was happy and content as were we.
A few years went by. Michelle started to feel like she wanted to try for the 3rd child, with high hopes it was a girl. I was less inclined, unsure if I could handle three children. But I came to my senses and we tried for the 3rd. In 2010 , Zooey was born. and…..with colic. However, this time, we were smarter and more prepared. She has all of Michelle’s silliness, her blue eyes and wild hair. I love it. Our family finally felt complete.
It’s now 2016. Michelle is at book club and I am watching the Good Dinosaur with the kids. Looking over them, all bundled up in blankets in our bed, I realized how much I appreciated my life so far with Michelle. It hasn’t been perfect. We have had our disagreements over stupid things, big things, silly things. We have been through rough patches with trying to conceive and not being able to. We have had pets and lost pets. We have had our house fall apart on us all at once and struggled to find how to pay for it. While the road isn’t always smooth, the only person I would ever want to travel it with is Michelle. She has been there for me through all of the tough times, moments where I was unsure of myself and has brought me happiness and clarity when I needed it most. She is my best friend, my rock. I probably dont say it enough. I appreciate all of the years we have had so far and can’t wait to discover the mysteries ahead of us, together.