Today - August 4 - is my husband Ben and I’s tenth wedding anniversary.
Ten years ago today, my father walked me down the aisle to my best friend. Ten years ago today, Ben and I said “I do” before two hundred of our family and friends. Ten years ago today, we didn’t know what in the world we were heading for, but we knew we were heading into it together.
When I look at our wedding photos, I see family members who have passed on during these last ten years – my grandma, my great-great aunt, and my husband’s grandpa. I also see family members and friends who are still with us, who have stuck with us through all the good times and the bad these last ten years. I see hopes and dreams in our eyes, promises of the future. And I realize, as I am ever the family historian, that I see family history playing out in our wedding album, family history playing out over these first ten years of our marriage.
Making Memories of Us
Sometimes, when we are in the trenches of life, we don’t realize that we are creating family history together, especially in the eyes of our children. That when we suffer losses, and celebrate our triumphs together – a graduation, a birth, a wedding, even times of death – miscarriage, sickness, times when family gathers from around the country as a loved one spends his last days in a hospital bed – that this is the family history we will speak of years down the road.
Family History in the Eyes of our Children
Ben and I homeschool our two children. It can be truly hard sometimes. It can be lonely. It can be frustrating. It can be overwhelming.
But then there are days that make you realize – it’s all worth it. Little days when my kids have breakthrough moments in their learning. Days when they realize they love something they are learning. Days when we just love spending time together because we are all happy in our home. And then there are days when you just know, you are all going to talk about this day for years. Yesterday was one of those days.
My kids and I drove over two hours down to a nature preserve in southern Indiana, just the three of us, to meet up with the homeschool nature studies group we are working with this summer. Little did I know the amazing memories we would create. And I didn’t fully realize how much we all truly enjoyed it until later when I scrolled through the pictures on my phone and saw the genuine smiles on my children’s faces. We talked and sang on the long drive there and back, we learned about wildlife from a naturalist, we went creek stomping, hiking, caving, discovered an old abandoned log cabin, and we made new friends. It was a day we will remember, a special day, a day I know we’ll talk about for a long time.
And now, as I think on it, it reminded me of the group backpacking trips that Ben and I went on when we were in high school. Just like the trip when we met in 2003. The trip when we went hiking on the Appalachian Trail, when we got caught in a horrible mountain storm – a story we still love to tell with our friends who were on the trip with us. Times like yesterday remind me of the trip to Georgia in 2004 when I realized more fully how much of a wonderful young man my husband was, how he loved children, how he loved nature, loved God, loved life.
I’ve been listening to all of “our songs” this past week and just reflecting on our time together. These songs help tell our story. And as he and I have been reflecting on our past, our daughter has taken an interest in our love story, in how he “told me he liked me”, how we started dating and how he proposed. I realized that in this, I have been sharing with her our story – our family history.
I think I didn’t completely realize until recently that our current lives with our loved ones are family history – that they will become family history. I remember back in January Ben’s grandmother telling me a story about a time when she and Ben’s grandpa were hiking at Turkey Run State Park when they were younger – about how she grew tired and he promised her ice cream if she would just keep going. She told me this story over ice cream. Ice cream brought the memory back.
These are the little stories we remember, the little stories that matter – the little stories we share later with our children, the stories that become our family history, that are passed down through generations.
We are creating our family history today. Those smiles in our wedding photos, on our honeymoon, in the hospital the days our children were born, the smiles and the tears and laughter of remembrance at funerals, the stories shared, these are all family history.
Remember them. These are the stories we share. Make them count, friends.
I’m gonna love you, like nobody loves you, and I’ll earn your trust making memories of us
Keith Urban, Making Memories of Us
Ben and Katie’s first dance
August 4, 2007
Happy tenth anniversary, Ben. I love you.