Unlike my daughter, my dramatic play as child was always pretty routine. Dress Barbie, do her hair, then "da da da da" down my make-believe church aisle and ta da! She and Ken are married and it's happily ever after. Time to watch a little Sesame Street, jump rope or grab my hula hoop. Getting married was always part of my childhood play and my lifetime plan, but I never dreamed how much work it would take or the depths I would go to hold it together. I was 28 when I met Steve. At the time we were both seasoned players of "the dating game". Steve had actually already been down the aisle twice before, but when he asked for my hand, he told me that I made him want to be a better man. He promised to always take care of me and love me in the way I deserved. I was smitten by his rugged good looks and jar-head mentality to not only protect me, but treat me with respect and kindness. Loving him has always felt safe and good and the right thing to do.
In 11 years we've had more financial snafus, ER visits and emotional stress than I ever thought I was capable of handling. However, I believe Steve's unwavering faith in God has strengthened and fortified my own. Through lots of drier than dirt humor, Steve has helped me find the courage to laugh when I just wanted to lay down and cry. He's helped me learn to not sweat the small stuff. Over the years I've watched him make good on his promise to do his best to take care of our family. No matter the cost. Whether by working overtime, going back to school, beginning a new career, or even participating in medical research to better our family's financial standing. Several years ago, when we were in the throes of dealing with Noah's health concerns and struggling to make ends meet, Steve began looking for creative ways to earn more money -- and FAST. He signed up to participate in a research study in exchange for cash. The assignment required an overnight stay at the facility and involved more than 20 blood draws in a 24 hour period. When he returned home both of his arms were riddled with bruises. I gasped in horror, but Steve wasn't the least bit bothered by the event. A little blood-letting was nothing to my former Marine, who years earlier, had spent time on the front lines. Later that week Steve found an ad from another lab doing diabetic research. They were prepared to pay participants $100k in exchange for allowing them to amputate one pinky toe.
"Can you imagine what we could do with $100k?" Steve suggested.
"It's totally out of the question!" I replied.
"But, it's just one toe...I have nine more," he reasoned.
(He's now talking to himself because I've gone into the kitchen, but I can still hear him yammering on)
"I wonder if they'd give me $200k if I let them take BOTH little toes...then I wouldn't need to buy two different sized shoes," he continued.
For weeks, Steve found ways to squeeze the topic of "this little piggy went wee wee all the way to the research lab" into our conversations. Thankfully, God gave us both the gift of bull-headedness and I was able to outlast and out-debate his outlandish scheme to get us out of debt.
11 Years! Google tells me that the traditional gift is steel...and I believe it. I just don't plan on buying or receiving cutlery, jewelry or a kitchen appliance as an anniversary gift. This year...11 years, represents having nerves of steel and the strength, love and commitment needed to carry on for 11 more and beyond.
Happy Anniversary Steve...my very own Man of Steel!