My dearest Kenny,
Fifteen years ago, I stood in front of friends and family and committed myself to you for all time. I remember the day in technicolor. I woke that morning before everyone else and went for a short run. When I got home, I sat with Paddington for a while talking to him about our future. He purred contentedly while my heart beat with eager anticipation.
Between basic training and reporting to your duty station, our time together since we met had been intermittent at best and so much change was on the horizon. Not only were we about to marry, I was leaving Ohio, leaving family and friends, joining you in the Army life in Tennessee. Yet I didn’t feel any fear or anxiety, only happiness and delight.
As I got ready, the world around me seemed frazzled, but for me it was like being in the eye of the storm. All was calm, cool, and collected in my sphere. My dear Maid of Honor and beautiful bridesmaids helped me with makeup and dress. We laughed about how difficult it would be to use the restroom with a giant wedding dress on. I saw how radiant I looked. I saw the joy in their faces. And I knew this would be one of the most wonderful days of my life.
Walking down the aisle and keeping my dad from crying, my view of you was obscured. Then, it was if the sea parted and I saw you for the first time that day. So handsome in your dress greens, I could not take my eyes off you. The world around me disappeared and it was only you and I. The ceremony seemed endless while I desired to take your hand and run away so we could bask in each others love. Our kiss declaring us husband and wife was nothing short of magical.
We left the church to a flurry of love and laughter given freely by our friends and family and finally got to be alone together in the back of the Rolls Royce. On our way to the reception we drank champagne and did our best to stay upright as our driver, who must have thought he was Mario Andretti, whipped around every corner. Do you remember that? He was a crazy man and gods how we laughed.
The rest of the day was just as beautiful and surreal. Dancing, laughing, loving….endless amounts of each. As the night drew to a close and we left as husband and wife, I felt a contentedness that I cannot put into words.
The next 15 years would be an unparalleled adventure. So many ups and some really deep downs, we have been at each others side through it all. Before we got married, I remember us saying all the time that if we could survive being apart as much as we were then we could survive anything. We have proven this to be truer than true time and again.
You got deployed and came back. I graduated school. You left the Army so we wouldn’t move our family all over the place. Then we moved across the country countless times anyways pursuing my career. We lived in Tennessee and Oregon, New York and Wyoming, landing as we are now in Arizona. We lost one baby. We gained two beautiful boys. Such sorrow and such joy.
Our passion for running has grown together. We have run races in so many places, some successful and some failures, some together and some apart. All of them priceless in their way. Our running in many ways echoes our life with its ups and downs and relentless call to keep us coming back for more.
Life has stressed us and blessed us but together we never stop flourishing.
Through it all you have been my rock, my light, my love. I have accomplished so much in the last 15 years and none of it could have been possible without your support and encouragement. How could I be so lucky to have you as my life long partner? You and I have grown so much together as individuals and as a couple. The husband and father you are is the best role model our little men could have. I am better mother, wife and woman because of you.
Our future holds some known:
The upcoming goal you have set to earn a second degree is admirable and I deeply believe in your ability to be successful. Our boys continue to grow and mature. We both have epic running goals – you running your second 100 miler later this year and me planning to run my first 50 miler next spring. This in addition to a couple of 50Ks and other smaller races in between. Our family will continue to love and cherish each other.
And so much unknown:
Where we will be in the future, how long we will be in Arizona, where will our careers take us, who our boys will become, and who we will become.
Much of this scares me but it also excites me. What I do know, with the utmost confidence, is we will be together no matter what comes our way.
Once again before family and friends, I declare my love for you with my whole heart, body, mind, and soul. You are the light of my life and I am excited to see what our next 15 years hold. The journey is the adventure and the adventure continues.
Happy Anniversary my Darling. I love you and am forever and always: