Tuesday, January 09, 2018

The Last 19 Years

In one week, Brandon and I will celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary.

It feels strange. #1 is already half way through her junior year, has taken the ACT, and is talking about college. Our baby is almost 3 years old, and all the other kids keep growing up (how rude!).

I remember being the young married wife, the young mom... I remember starting adulthood, and I remember how optimistic and absolutely clueless I was. Oh, I thought I knew everything. I figured, "hey, look at me! I went to college. I have a degree and I read a lot. I read all the books! I know everything there is to know. I am so prepared!" Older and wiser mothers would look at me with a strange expression on their faces, and I figured it was because they were blown away by my amazing knowledge and awesomeness.

Well, now that I'm older and a little bit wiser (with so much more learning and wisdom to still gain), I find that I'm looking at those young, confident mothers with the same look. And it's absolutely not because I'm blown away by their awesomeness (although many are awesome!).

It's the look that says, "I was you, once. And although you're doing better than you think you are, you're going to experience things that will stretch you further than you thought you could go. You're going to change your opinions about things --maybe even a lot of things. You're going to go through tough situations that you thought you could prevent. You're going to find out what matters most. And then you'll discover that you really didn't know very much at all. But it's okay, because you'll also find out that you're strong and loved, and you'll gain wisdom."

I've been pondering these past 19 years (20, really), and thinking about all that has happened. The wisdom I've gained through experience has been humbling and beautiful all at once. The truth is, I'm still going through experiences (even now) that are pushing me completely out of my comfort zone and teaching me that I really don't know much at all.

And now! Since I like lists and family history, stories and memories, I want to write a summary of our married life, thus far...


I met Brandon May 20, 1998. We worked together on campus at BYU, and although my first impression wasn't the greatest, it didn't take me long to find him quite attractive (like, 24 hours). Our first date was June 10, he kissed me June 20, and proposed October 20.

We were married in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple on January 16, 1999.

January 16, 1999
In our 19 years together, we have moved 10 times (Provo apartment to Aspen Grove Family Camp, back to apartment, back to AGFC (we worked there two summers in a row), back to apartment, to the condo, bought a house, moved to Concord, CA, moved back to Provo, moved to PA, moved to KS).

Aspen Grove Family Camp, Summer 2000
Less than a week before graduating from BYU (we both graduated in April 2001), I gave birth to our first child.

April 21, 2001

In the next few years, we bought our first house and then welcomed 3 more children to our home -- a daughter and two sons.

February 11, 2003

August 9, 2004

August 2004

February 8, 2007

We then moved from Provo and lived in Concord, CA for approximately 13 months.

May 2007
It was an incredible, life-changing experience in so many ways! I lost 40 pounds that year (Brandon lost 50).

We learned, through prayer, that we were supposed to have more kids and we made the decision for Brandon to get his Executive MBA. The young couples/families that we spent our time with were amazing, and even though it's been more than 10 years, we still consider many to be our friends.

July 2008
When we moved back to Utah, Brandon started at Wharton (San Francisco campus --oh, the irony! That we left the Bay Area just before he would be going to school in the Bay Area...). While he was in school, we had our fifth child (third boy!).

July 28, 2009

We also got to spend our 10th wedding anniversary in England (mostly London) while Brandon was working with a client. Wharton was definitely a highlight, too. The people we met were incredible, and we went to China (Brandon also spent time in Israel)!

Buckingham Palace, January 2009 
The Great Wall of China, September 2010
Brandon received a top-notch education and although it was financially difficult, we don't regret it. I was so proud of him! For those two years he juggled a full time job traveling internationally, two church callings, and traveling to San Francisco every other weekend to attend classes (UPenn's Wharton school has a west coast campus). He was amazing.

Graduation in Philadelphia, May 2011
My first (and sadly, only) home birth occurred in 2012. Four boys in a row! Wha?!

March 2, 2012

Moving to PA was one of the best things we ever did, hands down. Although we were only there for 2 1/2 years, it will forever be cemented in my memory as a place of great personal healing. Our idyllic village of Thornton, Pennsylvania was the backdrop of miracles -- I finally sought and received mental health help. We finally (after 18 months of praying/trying) conceived our seventh (and incidentally, last) child. A girl! What a miracle! Our children thrived there. We made life-long friends and I still miss the trees. Brandon faced a lot of challenges, too, and he came through them with incredible maturity.

February 23, 2015

And now, here we are in Kansas. We love living here! Our kids are doing well, the ward is like family, and the community is amazing. I'm finally getting myself physically healthy, again (now that I'm mentally/emotionally doing well, the physical health is coming a lot easier), and although we still struggle with normal mortality-induced trials (some a lot more difficult than others), we are happy. 



Christmas Eve 2017
I left out the vast majority --I didn't mention our vacations, nor that time we camped across the country for basically 6 weeks. I left out our pets, the sickness, the fighting, deaths of loved ones, the adventures, the dangers, and all of our spiritual progressions. I don't think it's possible to record every detail of a life, even if you journal religiously. There's simply too much happening. All we can hope for are glimpses of what adds up to a deep, complicated, and beautiful life. And when I look at our life over the last 19 years, I think that's exactly what it is: deep, complicated, and beautiful.

I'm grateful for Brandon and for my marriage. Aside from mothering, I don't think anything else has taught me so much! I'm blessed to have a strong, dedicated, brilliant, handsome, hard-working, and loving husband. I love him! And I love our life.

1 comment:

Courtney N said...

Happy Anniversary! I loved looking at all those old pictures! It reminds me of when I would come and visit you when we both lived in Utah. I miss that!