Seven years ago today on a hot, August evening, a man waited at an adorned altar surrounded by his best friends and immediate family. As the auditorium door opened and "Come Thou Fount" began to play, a slew of women progressed down the aisle, but none of them were of this man's desire. And then, the music stopped, the door closed, then opened again, and new song began...an old hymn entitled "Be Thou My Vision." And then he saw her, lavished in white, accompanied by another man very close to her heart. This woman was about the become his wife.
This is the scene that plays over and over again in my mind of my wedding day...that very moment before Neil and I became one, the very moment my singlehood ended. I never looked back, not even once. And today, two and a half kids later, I realize how much more of my being belongs to this man. I couldn't imagine my life without him.
Sure, there are times when I would personally like to ring his neck and leave him out to dry, but what good would that do. Then I would only be half-whole. Neil is the kind of man who lives out his character on a daily basis, in the details of his life. He uses the talents and gifts that God has given to the maximum potential. A few weeks ago he changed out the faucets in a complete stranger's house, just because she needed it. For three years, he mowed not only our grass, but also our next door neighbor's because Ned wasn't able. This is just the kind of man Neil is, one of strength and subtle mercy.
God grabbed a hold of Neil's heart during his first year in college, a couple years before I met either of them (God or Neil). For a few years there, we ran in the same circle yet never really noticed each other. Well, I never really noticed him. Not sure exactly how I managed to turn his head, but once I did, I was the center of his affections, the apple of his eye (cheesy...yes, but appropriate).
Neil has always been my biggest fan, supporting me in every adventure, though we could both agree i don't tend to be the adventuresome one. Perhaps "venture" would have been a better word there. He supported me when I decided to leave my full time job, not sure of what was ahead. Of course we found out later that God had parenthood in mind. He supported me when I decided to become a Pampered Chef consultant, two months after our first child was born. And he supported me when I decided to start a day camp at Grace, knowing the toll it would take on our family. This is the kind of man Neil is, one who doesn't have to be at the center of everything. He stands with humble strength and allows me to use my God-given talents and gifts to their fullest potential.
He's a father of two energetic boys, who test the limits moment by moment, and yet he's still here. Not much for the infant phase, like most men, but you should see him roll around on the floor with his boys. It's inspiring (not to roll around with them, but still). Actually what you should see if him talking Owen through peeing on the potty. His patience and praise speak to Owen's three year old spirit in ways that I just can't. This is the type of man Neil is, a man equipped to be a father, and does so with grace and maturity (long way from his chin stud and scruffy gotee).
Though far from perfect, my Neil never ceases to amaze me in his creativity (as unique as it may be), his randomness, and his desire to live a life worthy of the respect he deserves.
Happy Anniversary Neil! May the next seven years be as fabulous as the first seven.
I'm Not A Stalker, Just A Fan
2 years ago