Happily Ever After…

Today is our 17th wedding anniversary.

I started dating my husband when I was fourteen.  He took me to my freshman homecoming.

At fourteen I was convinced I was already all grown up.  I was pretty sure I would marry this boy.  And I just couldn’t wait for LIFE to catch up so we could get on with our happily ever after.

I envisioned our perfect careers as doctors and could just see our perfect fancy house on a sprawling lawn with four perfect children who I would perfectly parent, of course.  We’d drive fancy cars and take extravagant vacations and spend our Saturday mornings together golfing or taking day trips to exotic locations.  It was going to be SO ABSOLUTELY PERFECT you guys!

We married at 21 and 23…still just kids really.  And I was so excited for this perfect happily ever after to begin.

Isn’t it funny how we grow and change?  Isn’t it crazy how life happens?  Isn’t it just like God to throw all that superficial stuff out the window and show me what He really has planned for us?

It turns out our happily ever after looks a bit different from the one I had planned…

Our happily ever after looks like loud chaotic family dinners and loud chaotic holiday celebrations and loud chaotic weekend nights playing Risk or Scrabble around our dining room table inevitably ending with someone upset and crying.

Our happily ever after looks like diapers and pull-ups for thirteen years running and lots of “Mooom…I’m done.  Will you come wipe?” or “Daaad…I think there’s poop on the floor!”

Our happily ever after looks like Saturday mornings spent weeding and mowing the lawn and spreading fertilizer just to do it all again next week.

Our happily ever after looks like basketball practice on Mondays and Wednesdays and soccer practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays and every Saturday spent running back and forth to games and tournaments.

Our happily ever after means only driving vehicles with seating for eight.

Our happily ever after is sticky doorknobs and dirty fingerprints down the hall and toys littering the floor and spilled milk at every meal.

Our happily ever after is an ordinary home in an ordinary neighborhood with a tiny backyard.

Our happily ever after is his bald head and my…um, fluffy tummy.

Our happily ever after is $300 on groceries every five or six days just to realize we are out of milk again.

Our happily ever after is the serenity prayer instead of nights out for drinks with our friends.

Our happily ever after is tantrums and timeouts and night after night of little visitors next to our bed so we are always completely exhausted.

Our happily ever after is vacations to see family in Nebraska or taking day trips to our local amusement park.

Our happily ever after is me understanding he loves to sleep in on Saturday morning and him realizing that when I’m about to lose my shit I probably just need to eat.

Our happily ever after is a LONG week at work or a LONG week at home taking care of kids so that by Friday night all we ever want to do is flop on the couch and eat ice cream.

Our happily ever after is sassy remarks and eye rolls and “Why can’t we just be a normal family?” when we enforce rules and set screen time limits.

Our happily ever after is years together raising a family with all these little people who look a lot like us and behave a little like us too so that some of our best and worst qualities mix together to make five whole new absolutely incredible humans.

Our happily ever after is far from fancy and not even close to glamorous.

Our happily ever after is LOVE.  And a lifetime of living and growing up and growing old together with my best friend and it’s the happily ever after I would choose again and again and again.  A million times over.

Because this is the story of us…

And our (mostly) happily ever after!

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