I have tried many times to sit down and write about this year.
Year seven was a year where we experienced so many highs, but we also experienced some lows that have really overshadowed the year.
Our marriage was not at risk, but we had some things thrown at us this year where we really had to live out our vows of better or worse. We had to dig in and carry each other at times because pieces of ourselves were lost.
This year was hard, but this year is what marriage is for.
It reminded me that even amidst such tragedy our marriage never wavered.
It reminded me that while we have independent souls, they are made better by each other. And stronger because of each other.
It reminded me daily of the commitment that we have to each other.
It reminded me of the work we have put in over the last decade to get to where we are.
We have built something so beautiful and strong, and even though parts of this year sucked, we are here to celebrate 7 years.
This year brought us our first year with our baby girl. We have gotten to see her sit, crawl, walk, eat us out of house and home, and charm us with her giggles and ability to sleep through the night. She is everything I ever hoped for.
This year we watched George sprout into a spirited young boy whose imagination takes us often to construction sites and kitchens where he eats plastic food that he would never dare to eat at a real meal. Experiencing love from George is like no other.
We packed our kids into the car for two long road trips (one to Iowa and one to Texas) to see others embark on this journey of marriage. Long road trips with a baby and a toddler will test any marriage, but we made it through.
We’ve celebrated holidays through George’s lens who made us sit in the dark for weeks waiting for the “Christmas Tree Guy” to bring us our tree. We also documented all the things obviously since it was Daphne’s first everything.
Work took us to new places.
A couple months after I returned to work from maternity leave, I was pulled into my boss’s office to be told he was moving positions and I would now be interim director of our department. Fast forward another few months, and that promotion was made permanent. There are days that I am still flabbergasted that I am now the Director of my department. I am so humbled to think of where I was mentally 4 years ago in Fort Campbell after receiving one of the most devastating no’s of my career. And now, I feel trusted and respected. I am not going to lie though; there has been anxiety that has come with this new role for sure. There were many days that Tom had to remind me of my skill set and talk me out of panic attacks. I am passionate about what I do, but I was not lining myself up for this. It was so unexpected that there are days that I am just trying to not look like a fraud. There are many days that I am not sure how much more information I can fit into my brain or into my schedule. However, when George asks me in the morning if I am staying home, I know I am leaving for a purpose. This means more because it tells me that what I am doing matters and is noticed. It makes it worth not being home with my kids. I am not saying that I have to get a promotion to know I am doing good work. I love what I do, and that is enough for me. However, it is nice as a mom to know I am valued and needed elsewhere. And especially to come off of maternity leave into a year like this, and the fact that I did two jobs for most of the year while PUMPING. I mean that basically means that I am Wonder Woman.
Tom however had a different story written for him. Things have not been as positive for him.
One night on duty, he and another officer were involved in a shooting. This hasn’t really been something I have wanted to write about because it is extremely personal, and we are still reeling from it in some ways (it happened 7 months ago). Honestly this doesn’t even seem to be the place to bring it up, because this small paragraph cannot even begin to do justice to the feelings we have felt or describe how it is something we have to live with but are expected not to talk about. It’s become this dirty little secret that we avoid. However, I cannot write about this year of marriage without mentioning how deeply this has affected us. This is a huge part of my husband’s story and now ours. It seems dishonest and degrading to our marriage to overlook this giant thing. Some may disagree with me that I shouldn’t share this, and that some things are better left unsaid. And maybe that is true, and probably why I haven’t wrote about it yet. But I think people should know that this is real. He has become a statistic, but one that comes with feelings, dreams, and relationships. But people just want to see the statistic, they don’t want to see the emotion that is wrapped up in this. This is something that has happened TO us. And it sucks frankly to feel like we have to hide. If the community hires my husband to protect them, they should hear what that takes at times. And maybe this is part of the healing process for us. We need to be able to talk more openly about the ugly parts of our story without fear of judgement or misunderstanding. This shook us. There is rarely a day that goes by that we don’t talk about this. It was scary, isolating, and so surprising how things played out. It’s so consuming but at the same time like you are living in a dream because no one knows you are living this. You never think it will be you to receive the call. I can remember every moment of that night, and my heart still races recalling Tom’s voice over the phone. I cannot even begin to put into words what Tom has been through. Watching him go through this ordeal has been gut-wrenching. We received support in places we never imagined and lack of support from areas that we expected. It has changed some of our views and solidified others. Things that we thought would always be, we have questioned. No one wants to hear about the actual trials and tribulations of police officers, but we all have a vested interest expecting them to keep us safe. But at some point we have to acknowledge what they do instead of trying to erase it. We are not sure what the future holds here, but one thing is for certain, our marriage has pulled us through this. This situation stripped us down to our core, not just once, but many times over this year. We had to be raw and hold each other close, because some days that is all that we had. I don’t know if I will write about the whole thing again, but this was our life this year. I am sure for years to come we will be dealing with the fall out of this.
We also lost Tom’s Grandma this year. Alline was one of the sweetest women I have ever met. She always made me feel like one of her grandchildren. Tom had such an endearing relationship with her. While we all knew it was coming, it was still devastating.
These are things we never prepared for. These two love sick kids could never imagined what the next seven years would bring.
This has not been the fairy tale romance.
It has been hard, gritty, and ugly at times.
But with our marriage, we have brought each other peace and comfort. We would not have been able to persevere without each other this year.
We have built a beautiful mess of a life. While these last seven years have been unpredictable, I can’t imagine doing it with anyone else.
One thing has remained the same over all these years. Every day, I love him.
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
If you want to read more about our love story, there are links documenting each step here.