Fourteen years ago today, Supersoldier took both of our families to a dinner theater at the Spaghetti Warehouse in our home town.
I was a sophomore at a college eight hours away, he was a junior at the university in the town where we both grew up. We were enjoying our treasured two weeks of between-semester togetherness, something rare in our long-distance dating relationship. (God was preparing us for military life even then …)
Supersoldier had suggested that both our families get together for one big holiday event, and he arranged all the details.
So, two days before Christmas, although our PARENTS had met, our entire extended families gathered at one table for the very first time.
They enjoyed garlic bread as they all chatted and got to know one another.
They laughed over sodas and bad murder mystery jokes as we all dug into the plot and tried to pinpoint the killer.
And then, they whipped out video cameras (a totally normal Spaghetti Warehouse occurrence, I thought at the time) as the Santa actor chose Supersoldier and me as his crowd “volunteers” and took us up onto the stage … where, when Santa asked Supersoldier what he wanted for Christmas, that man I’d loved since the night of our very first date my senior year in high school got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
I’ve never made an easier or better decision in all my life.
I look now at the photos of that naïve 20-year-old girl — the one who only previewed the Army through the lens of R.O.T.C. and truly believed that military life was one big free vacation with a side of adult prom (that was one smooth campaign you ran, Supersoldier — well played, well played!) — and I think to myself, “Sista, you REALLY had NO CLUE.”
You had no clue that night when you said “yes” that this man you thought you loved then would captivate your heart over and over again.
That, out of your love for him, you would fall in love with HIS passion — soldiers and military families — and that HE would fall in love with YOURS — advocating for superheroes-in-waiting.
That 14 years, nine deployments and eight mailing addresses later, you would make this strange but chaotically perfect family team who lives this weird and wonderful life of capes and combat boots, of military life and orphan advocacy, of boy rearing and booty wiping, of wrestling refereeing and clothes policing. And that each day, you would fall more in love doing hard things TOGETHER.
That, on the 14-year anniversary of this day you said “yes,” you would find yourself with a man even more incredible than the one you dated. A man who, today, jumps on the trampoline and sings as he prepares family pancake breakfast and washes and folds all the laundry and cuddles up for hours with books and board games not only with his own superheroes, but with the ones he, too, adopts in hosting seasons in his role as Shu Shu.
That he would hold and love and spoil THIS little girl he only gets to steal for a month with the same huge heart that HIS boys get to enjoy every single day of the year.
Supersoldier, I don’t deserve a man like you. But I am SO THANKFUL that, in God’s mercy and grace, He offered me not just the perfect husband, but the perfect partner. The perfect teammate. The perfect balance. My very best friend.
There is no one else I would rather do FaceTime marriage and spoil other families' future superheroes with than you. <3