In addition to Mothers Day, yesterday was our first wedding anniversary!
I've told the story of our "shadow anniversary", which we have celebrated twice now, but this was the first anniversary of our actual wedding. There are so many pictures, special details and moments from that day that I'll have to put them in another post or three. The picture above, though, is one of my favorites. As I've mentioned before, our relationship wasn't easy up to that point, logistically speaking, and this picture sums up how absolutely ecstatic we were to finally reach that moment. It was such a special, personal ceremony. Joel's uncle officiated. Our cousins read poems we picked out together. A dear friend of mine sang a song written for us by my grandfather. All of our favorite people in the whole world (and from everywhere in the whole wide world) were there, and the whole evening was just so joyful. Psalm 118:24 was even written on the floor in the chapel entryway.
Our first year of "actual" marriage has been incredible. It has been incredibly wonderful, and also incredibly tough. Of the last 12 months, Joel and I have only spent 5 in the same state. "Telecommuting" the first few months of our marriage wasn't ideal, obviously, but it sure strengthened our communication skills! Once I moved, we quickly settled into the routine of seeing each other every weekend. Joel would drive out to Raleigh, or I would drive out to Swansboro. It was tough to be apart during the week, but we knew it was temporary. There were many weeks where Joel's field training operations spilled through the weekend, though, and there were also many weekends when my head was buried in my work laptop. Half of the closet in Raleigh is stacked high with boxes of wedding gifts that haven't been unpacked yet, and sometimes our best-laid plans to visit family were waylaid. Until recently, we didn't know where those boxes would be unpacked, just a vague idea of when. Add that stuff to normal newlywed challenges, and this year was not exactly a walk in the park.
However. When I look back on this year, the only feeling that comes to mind is the same happiness that is in the picture above. In spite of the crazy circumstances, we survived and thrived this year. We dug deep, held on, and have come out the other side even stronger than before. Those weekends together were some of the happiest times ever. We fell into so many habits together and picked up our own sort of rhythm. They'd be normal, mundane things to someone on the outside looking in, but they have been such a treat for us. It's the quality of time together that matters, not the quantity, so we've learned how to make the most of it! The military is constantly keeping us on our toes, and it's those little everyday moments I miss the most when we're apart.
Above all, this year has reinforced the fact that we are really, really good together. When all of this is behind us and we're under the same roof, I hope we don't start to take those little things for granted. As always, I still can't believe that I get to go through life with someone like Joel, and I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for us. Bring it on!