Friday, August 29, 2008

Labor of Love

Five years ago I invited a boy to visit me in Ohio for Labor Day weekend. We had just met weeks ago, and I somehow convinced him to drive over 500 miles to see me. I tried to pretend it wasn’t a big deal, that he was just a friend coming out for the weekend, to spend time with some of our new camp friends. But the truth is, I had bought myself a new outfit and counted down the minutes until he arrived. That weekend we talked and laughed, and shared a kiss on a walk around my childhood neighborhood. We traveled together to Cincinnati, where we watched the fireworks and held hands (in public!). He saw my dorm where I was just starting my year as a Resident Advisor. He sat on my bed as we discussed what this all meant (I’m not sure we ever really could have known...) And he rode back to Columbus with my mom as I waved and cried because my brand new boyfriend was gone so soon.

Four years ago that boyfriend was now my fiancé. For this Labor Day we celebrated with dinner on the patio at Smith and Wollensky (no we couldn’t afford it, but it was our anniversary, so who cared?!) We talked about the year that we’d had, how our lives were changing, and our upcoming wedding. We were stressed about picking a date (two extended families, multiple cities, and one very big Ohio State football games were posing some challenges), when he looked at me, and looked at the cloudless sky and suggested Labor Day weekend of the following year. I knew it would be perfect.
Three years ago we stood in front of over a hundred of our closest friends and became Husband and Wife. We had three days of celebration, with enough laughs, food, dancing, stories, and hugs to fill a novel. The night before the wedding we had our families over for a bit of a reunion/pre-show party. I sat on his lap as we watched a slide show of photos from our lives. We saw our parents holding us as babies, my first day of school, him catching a fish...We smiled as our “together” photos came on the screen; I remember how good it felt to share our journey with people that we loved. The next day, just before the wedding I was anxious. I wasn’t nervous to get married, I was ready. I wanted to stand with him, profess my love and kiss him now. I couldn’t wait for that moment, so we could truly start our lives together. We made the most of that day, the most of that weekend. We were by each other side for three days straight ready to support each other for thousands of days to come.
Two years ago he surprised me with a trip to Chicago for an amazing weekend of shows, shopping, food, tours, the works. We were young and arrogant in our love, proud of this milestone we had reached. In my mind, we had arrived. Celebrating an entire year solidified what we had only dreamed about for what seemed like forever. It was a big occasion for both of us, as it was the biggest of all of the “firsts” we had shared that year. We were naïve about the future, but in the best, most blissful way.
One year ago we were living in a new city, in many ways all alone except for each other. The emotional high of our first year had faded, and there were challenges in its place. I was still trying to find my way in my job, he didn’t even have that luxury. Everything had changed, and yet we hadn’t. We were still in love, still forging through life together. That weekend wasn’t marked by an extravagant trip, or an photo album full of smiles, instead we have very real memories of some less than perfect times. As we searched for a open restaurant to serve as the location of our annual celebration (all these years and we still forget things close on "our" holiday!) we talked about how thankful we were to have each other, and how the obstacles we were facing didn't seem so bad with each other to rely on.
This year, my best friend and I will go on a week long vacation. I want to relive the exciting anticipation of our first visit, the hopefulness of our first year, the intense exuberant love of our wedding day, the joy and pride of our first anniversary and the trust and reliance of our most recent year together. But in addition, this Labor Day weekend will bring new feelings and memories. And though I don’t yet know how we’ll look back on it, I can only thank God for writing such a beautiful story for us. I trust He has next year all planned out already.
I love you Dustin. Forever and Ever.

There's no combination of words
I could put on the back of a postcard
No song that I could sing
But I can try for your heart,
our dreams, and they are made out of real things
like a shoebox of photographs
with sepia-toned loving
Love is the answer
at least for most of the questions in my heart, like
Why are we here? And where do we go?
And how come it's so hard?
It's not always easy and
sometimes life can be deceiving
I'll tell you one thing, it's always better when we're together
Better Together
-Jack Johnson


  1. You know, you make your Daddy cry...but out of sheer happiness. I don't know if I can ever tell you enough what a wonderful person you are.
    I am just so proud of you and Dustin, and so happy for what you have as husband and wife.
    The Lord has truly blessed me, and you and Dustin, richly.

  2. What a sweet post! Also- what a great anniversary you have. I wish Matt and I were getting away this year, but we're hoping to save up for a big trip for our ten year...

  3. You are the most creative and beutiful person I know. I am honored to be your husband, and I hope and pray that next year our story will grow and become even more beautiful. You are the love of my life and I will love you forever.