It is a freeze-frame in my mind - that moment three years ago that we stood holding hands in the humid Florida heat while exchanging vows. Time stood still that day as I married the girl I met in seventh grade. Even now it seems as though the moment just passed. Unfortunately, life doesn’t stand still and the increasingly precious moments speed by beyond our control. As is life, our third year of marriage went by as fast as the first and second years. Though it passed with disquieting pace, it was filled with many wonderful memories. Memories that young men are too foolish to appreciate. Memories that middle-aged husbands reminisce about with friends over a cold beer. Memories that old men cling to when their days are few.
Holding hands during our wedding.
Last year, I concluded my thoughts on our second year of marriage with:
I don’t know what the future holds. If it is anything like these past two years, then it will be a crazy ride. I know one thing, though - we’ll tackle it like we always have: side-by-side and hand-in-hand.
That statement was proven true in short order. The last year was a crazy ride and we did it hand-in-hand. Except this time, our hands had a little more to hold.
Another pair of shoes.
I previously stated that our wedding day was the best of my life. However, that designation was replaced by June 22, 2013. On that day we found out that my wife was pregnant. It was something that we had both talked about for years - something that we had desperately wanted over the preceding year. It was now a reality. And with that positive test result, our whirlwind year was underway. Unfortunately for June 22, three little words made the first day of October the best of my life - “It’s a boy!”.
It's a boy.
The following months were filled with nursery preparation, doctor visits, and a quiet panic about whether I had any business being a parent. We also faced a scare of premature birth at 33 weeks. Luckily, our son channeled the determination of his mother and held out until he was full term. My new “best day ever” was February 21, 2014 when our son Everett was born.
The new family.
Every day since his birth has been the best of my life, all filled with so many different memories. Waking up every hour-and-a-half in the first weeks. The first time he grabbed my finger. The first time he opened his eyes and looked at me. The first time he smiled at me. The times he fell asleep on my chest. And for every one I mention, there are countless others. I’ve tried my best to capture those fleeting memories, much like a child grabbing fireflies in a jar - fearful that she’ll forget how bright the light once shone.
As meaningful as my personal memories have been with my son, the most rewarding have been those involving my wife. Her unconditional love and affection for our son melt my heart. The best my inadequate words can hope to convey is that seeing the person you love become the parent you envisioned is one of the best treasures in life. I cannot wait to see what our fourth year of marriage brings.
Though a picture may contain the equivalent of a thousand words, this one contains my world.