Therefore today I am going to share some things about Bill and I and our marriage. It will be newbee marriage advice as we are only on our 28th year. Perhaps by our 50th anniversary we will be pros, but for now I will share about our marriage and some thoughts we have.
I believe in love at first sight. I knew the minute I saw Bill I would marry him. He isn't as gullible as I am. He took two days to make this determination and then he proposed (yes two days later).
Bill did not earn a paycheck when I married him. He worked at his family's business and did anything required from changing tires on semi trucks, to cooking in the restaurant, to cashiering at the registers. I confess, even all these years later, that I knew. He was a good man. Money cannot buy a good man. Now I joke and tell people I did not marry for money but height~as I wanted my kids to have a fair chance at reaching anything from the lowest shelf. I think I did okay...considering how not tall I am.
We were going to marry on the 25th of August but my grandmother died. We ended up changing the wedding day and the location. Instead of me marrying in my home back east, we married in Nevada. My mother did not want a funeral to stop life and the marching on of time. I did not understand but I do now. My very pregnant sister was my matron of honor and Bill's youngest brother was his best man. I met my mother-in-law for the first time on my wedding day. I will tell you that very few women are as incredible as she is. I know that my Bill has the respect he has for women because of the example she established.
We really knew nothing about each other. Many may consider that a huge risk, but, let me tell you why we connected. First and foremost, Bill was and boy still is a cutie! Secondly, he and I both come from large families, small towns, and have hard work ethic instilled in us. He is not the oldest, nor the youngest and neither and I. We both had a desire to serve God and have taken all of our years of marriage to do that. We married only weeks after we met and have pretty much figured out things on the fly.
We learned important things as a young couple. We learned that to make a marriage better one must place the marriage in a place of importance. For us, marriage was first. We placed our marriage first and dated all the time. Heck, we date all the time now. Our dates are not stereotypical dates. They are perfect dates for us. We walk, we drive, we picnic, we sit and hold hands. We walk and hold hands. In fact, I am certain that if you live in my area, you have seen Bill and I together and we are holding hands. Before I close my eyes at night I see my Bill and the first thing I see in the morning is my Bill. I cannot imagine a better way to end or begin a day. We are very cheesy. Well dorky according to our kids. I am not ashamed to be in love with my Bill.
Before our first anniversary we became 3. Our lives took a new turn as we became a military family and Bill was a military policeman. We moved around Germany and our family grew to five and then we ended up in California when our lives changed. We had our fourth, and she was born ten weeks early and we were told she would not live. We went from a military to civilian family almost overnight and relocated to an area with a children's hospital and Bill became a civilian police officer. Our precious baby not only defied the doctors predictions but she is nearing her 21st birthday. Although we had planned to have at least 8 children, God decided that 4 was it, and four has been ever so perfect. A few years ago it dawned on me that we will have 8 children one day, but four will have been raised by other families, and Bill and I will gain them through our children. Soon we will have 7 as our oldest proposed recently to his love.
We made a decision before the first baby was a month old that I would stay home to care for him and the home. It was the best decision we ever made, even though it took me about 8 years to really come to terms with it, as the world views homemaker or housewife as a lesser skill. I have found it to be the most amazing of roles as I was the one that influenced the next generation in how they are. I saw every first that each of them had and I cannot believe how fortunate I have been to have been able to stay home. As the housewife, I am the one that circles the wagons around the home. Early on, I made our home a place where a very young Bill could come home and be important, because anyone that has been in the workplace understands that the young men (early 20s gangling, thin, and bright eyed) are the gophers no matter how qualified they are. At home, Bill was everything and still is. I greeted him first alone, every time he crossed the threshold, and when the children came along, I would say Dad is home, and we would all race to the door and greet him. It is not easy to go to work and deal with things and then come home and not be lifted up. I worked very hard to make sure Bill knew that home was a loving place. As he was in law enforcement, I wanted him to know that what he saw weekly if not daily was not at home. At times, I had to work a bit to help with some things, especially when Bill was taking college classes and I did so to strengthen the family. It took Bill about 10 years for his bachelor's degree with classes at night and finally online. We decided as a couple that steady pace wins the race and continued to plug on even when things weren't always conventional.
We have lived in 6 states and 2 countries in our marriage and I believe we are at our final home, but I am never one to question what is ahead of us. We moved 34 times, most due to the draw down of the military during the Clinton years. Every single member was born in a different place: 4 different states, 2 different countries, and two different cities(in Germany).
There have been major events that altered our lives and shaken us deeply. First off, each pregnancy was difficult and I had major medical stays during each one. The second event was our preemie which I shared above. Third was on July 6, 2001. The events of the past weeks have really brought this to the surface again and I will share this as it was something that impacted us as a couple and family. On July 6, 2001, Bill was working and the plan was he was coming to dinner and his chief was coming over as well as we were going to buy one of his old cars. Dinner time had come and gone, and I made nothing of it as that is how it is in law enforcement, something had come up. Around 40 minutes from the time Bill was to be home, he called and said one sentence. He said that Cecil was dead and he loved me. He sounded so hollow. I had no idea what was going on, but Bill was worried I may have had the scanner on and did not want me to worry that it was him. Cecil was a true father figure to the men on the department as well as such an honorable man. Cecil was killed during a domestic dispute. Bill and three other officers were on scene and were the original targets of the man. The gun misfired four times...one aim was for each young officer, and finally the man aimed at Cecil. According to Bill, Cecil was yelling at the suspect to notice him. His dying act, was to draw fire away from his men. This day changed us. This day changed Bill. I never thought I would ever have to go to another law enforcement funeral, yet last weekend I did. Another date that transformed us was January 1, 2005. Bill had a car accident while on duty as a deputy sheriff.
We had to change course midstream and we were a bit shaken by this. It is not what happens to you that defines you, but how you react to the events, that is the defining factor. Bill has and always will be Bill. He never lets anything get him down and that is another thing that has made the marriage so strong. We roll up our sleeves and dive in no matter what. If we need to have something happen, we do it. We did not have a clue how to raise animals, yet here we are 8 years later doing pretty okay. I would never have guessed that Bill and I would know how to muck out pens, butcher animals, and raise the variety of critters that we have but wow...we learned fast. Our marriage took each event tossed our way and made it stronger. We decided that one will fail but two will succeed. We became stronger with every action, every bad thing and now are much more at ease when something bad happens, because we know and find complete comfort in the verse Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
To my Bill, thank you for the best years of my life, if all I have was what we have had so far, I am thankful. I do pray that we have many more years as I am because of you. Now I will close with a few little bits of information about us.
- We are 16 inches different in height. I think I have shared over the years 15, but I actually wrote it out right now. Wow, you are tall. In my head I can hear you say, wow, you are short!
- I was reading a book where the main character had your name...In 1988 on the day I actually met you! I have not finished the book. It is in the memory box. You do not have the most common of last names~now Bill, I will grant is a pretty common first name!
- With shoes on, I can put on your boots.
- I can carry you on my back, piggy back style. I am pretty strong, even as an old goose.
- I receive flowers all the time. It took me a few years to redefine what flowers mean, as some men do not go for all that frilly stuff. Bill has given me many flowers over the years. For example he has changed diapers. That is a bouquet of love for sure. He has picked up things around the house. He holds my hand when we drive places. He has shown me the moon SO many times. Flowers need not be in a bouquet. If I were to share with newlyweds, this would be one of my #1 things. I would say stop expecting what the world says you are to receive and instead look to what your love is truly giving of himself.
- In 2011, I decided to let my hair go gray. I have had many ups and downs with this as America seems afraid of aging. It was not easy, but my Bill tells me how beautiful I am, and he makes me feel as though gray hair is the best hair color on the planet. I must confess I agree now that I see so much gray in his hair and beard!
- Each year gets better. Seriously.
- We have four pretty amazing kids. Well four pretty amazing adults. They are not perfect but they are wonderful and we enjoy watching them as they walk in the steps we took oh so many years ago.
- When we first married we imagined 20 years was a long marriage and vowed that we would always be laughing and goofing for all those 20 years. Now we know 20 years is nothing and we are still laughing but no longer put a date on a long marriage. Each and every day one is fortunate enough to be married is a long marriage and it is to be cherished.
- If things aren't going your way, stop thinking of yourself, and do something for others. In fact do a lot of things for others, and you will realize that the world doesn't revolve around you.
Oh and Bill, thank you for changing my name. First to Mrs., then to mom, and now all because, I am Gigi (grandma). Happy Belated Anniversary to my best friend, my love, my everything.