Dan and I have been through a lot together. This coming fall it will have been twelve years since that cool October night we were married. Twelve years! That’s just crazy talk. And yet when I look at our wedding photographs I think thoughts that I previously assumed were reserved for people who had long passed their twenty-fifth anniversary.
Thoughts like: We were so young!
In a sense, life has matured us to a far greater degree over the past decade than I ever could have imagined. Life poured six babies into our hearts; Life asked us to trust him (and each other) as we wrestled with a decade of financial hardship; Life asked us to travel from state to state as we sought the place in which the earth would invite us to put down roots; and Life said, “I know this is hard, love each other anyway.”
And we did.
Imperfectly, of course. I cringe when I think of the things I’ve said and the damage I’ve caused, but my sweet husband has remained emphatic that forgiveness and love rule our home. He has taught me how to leave the pain behind and march forward with him, hand in hand.
There are moments in life when God lifts you up and gives you a moment of ecstatic clarity. These are the moments that give all those crosses meaning and reveal their goodness. Moments of reprieve.
This past Friday night reminded me that we are smack dab in the middle of one those moments.
Beautiful Charleston has treated us very well and has brought so many selfless, good-hearted people into our lives. People who, when I leave my kids when them to spend time with Dan, make me think, “This isn’t just good for Dan and I, this is good for the kids. These people enrich our children’s lives.”
Hannah, who hatches plans to teach my girls the “dramatic mermaid” move at the pool and take them on girlfriend dates.
Valerie, who goes all vogue and strikes many a pose with Lucy Jean.
Chris, who shares his rich heritage with my boys. You see, Chris is the great, great, great, great, great grandson of Redbeard, the infamously cruel pirate. Did you know that if Chris grew out his beard you could see traces of red? It’s true, my boys told me so.
And Therese, who…well, she loves my kids with such tenderness that it makes me want to be a better mother.
These people. I mean, there are no words. My kids are lucky ducks. And blessed, too.
Friday night Hannah and Chris came and took over as Dan and I hit the road and headed to Basil Thai.
Oh. My. Yum.
Just look at these drinks! Mine is the Margarita on the right, and his is the Bourbon and Ginger Beer on the left. Oh-so so so good.
The food was also delicious (hello, Neua Nam Tok, you lover you), and the ambiance so warm, that I went back the next night with Anna of In Honor of Design and her husband, Gabe, who were visiting Charleston for their upcoming anniversary.
If you’ll indulge me a tangent, can I just say that I think Anna might be a mermaid? She has that naturally beachy hair that the rest of us are always striving to achieve, was absolutely luminous (even at 37 weeks pregnant!), is as sweet as pie, and loves the water.
You do the math.
Her husband is awesome, too (though I can’t say that I got a merman vibe from him). Such a cute couple. It was a treat to spend time with them.
After a dinner that may or may not have included a few “get a room” gazes, Dan and I went to Isle of Palms and took a walk on the beach. The wind was up just a bit from the last remaining bands of the tropical storm and the shore was dotted with couples kissin’ and children chasing sea life with flashlights. I could walk that stretch of beach every night and never get tired of it.
We chatted and held hands and as I dipped my toes in the water and gazed at the stars above I couldn’t help but to get a bit choked up as I thought, “We made it.”
We made it through all those trials I listed above, through seasons where date nights like this would have been an impossibility, and we still love each other. So, so much. This man is my rock, my true love, and my dear, dear friend. Plus, he just looks so cute in a suit. I’m ridiculously unworthy of him.
And what do you know but we’ve finally found our home, our little slice of heaven on earth. Right here in Charleston, South Carolina.
Since life is still chaotic and this season isn’t without it’s own little crosses, it would be easy to miss this moment of restorative grace. So I won’t. I’ll soak it up and savor it all and prepare myself to continue to fight the next good fight. After all…
There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to give birth, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.
What a gift it is, this time.
After an hour or so we walked back up the unfinished, sandy pier, over the beach grass, and back to our car. And do you know what we did on the way home?
We went grocery shopping. Which was really kind of perfect.