I have to be totally honest. At one time I did not believe in marriage. I did not believe that anyone could literally be there for me and me there for them for the long haul. Even the day I got married as much as I did love Donald, and as much as I was committed to the idea of marriage I was still unsure of the actual idea that it could last forever. I was married before and even though I loved my first husband it was never “in the cards” for us. So after 3 years….Donald and I took the plunge. Partly because we wanted to have a child together and partly because well frankly we had postponed our marriage several times…it was now or never and WE both felt that way.
Our marriage has been full of ups and downs, many learning curves, many hours of marriage counselling, days of non stop bickering but we ALWAYS LOVED EACH OTHER. So after 18 years of “marriage” I feel that I can say we have learned a thing or two. I have learned many more things….about myself, and about Donald, and the man he is.
I do not know what I did to gain God’s favor. But I have felt his grace and peace surround me at the most surreal moments of my life. To be blessed with a man that took my child and me into his bachelor life without hesitation. He stepped in immediately as a father figure and has never wavered and for this I am eternally thankful, and I know Brad feels the same. Donald has never shown a difference between Brad and his own biological children. We are a family and we are strong in our commitment to being a family. We will go to any morally and ethical length to protect them. They are our legacy.
As Brad has grown and married the love of his life we have come to love her as our own too. Anna is one of us. She is our child and our children’s sister. As we watch their marriage mature we are in awe of the commitment that they share. There is no better feeling in the world than to see your child truly happy, truly loved by and loving someone unconditionally. Their story is just beginning –they have their entire lives ahead of them.
Back to Donald. As much as I feel I know him after 22 years….he continues to surprise me. He is a complex guarded man. You would not know this unless you REALLY KNOW HIM…..he appears to go with the flow, yet things do hurt him…he won’t breath a word of it….VERY few times has he opened up and totally let me see that side of him. He loves him children and me beyond measure. His children are his world. I am his world. He tells us all of the time. He sits down and talks to the kids, he plays with the kids, he wrestles (even at my insistence that he not) with the kids. He is present in their lives. That in itself is the best gift he could give them. But he continues to give. He believes that we should raise our children in church. I agree wholeheartedly! One of our proudest days in our lives was seeing Cory confirmed in our Church, another was Brad’s White Coat Ceremony. He dotes on me. We take advantage of opportunities like birthdays etc to get away for one on one time-to reconnect–to renew!
We go to the same place with our children for vacation 2x a year. Some people do not understand it….they think it has to be boring after a while……we have been going for 6 years to the exact same place….it is NOT boring. We are making memories. We are enjoying our children, watching them, playing with them, walking the same familiar beach with them……taking the same family photos year after year. These are cherished times for us all. It is what we do. The continuity of year after year, time after time, is comforting to Donald. He wants his children to know that comfort. He wants them to know that security. We work to make that happen, although, we do not consider that work at all.
As I look back on our official 18 years and even further back to when we first met 22 years ago. I see a man that has evolved but never changed at the core. He is still as giving, tolerant, loving and full of life at 48 as he was at 26. He is still guarded but lets me see the good and the bad, the happy and the sad. He is steady and strong. He is kind and ethical.
We have been blessed with 3 children of our own. Our business is growing every day. Our lives are full of activity and lots of free taxi service all over NWA. Our house is messy and the laundry is never ending. My Mom and Daddy continually say “slow down”…….does anyone know how to slow down with a teenager in the house and two under 6 years old? Comments are appreciated! LOL! We live in a constant state of GO! I know that will all change sooner than I hope. Caleb starts Kindergarten in the fall, Chloe the following year…..Cory will be a freshman in high school. It seems like a blur…….just yesterday that we brought Cory home to Overcrest….just yesterday that we brought the babies home….and now they are growing so quickly. They are forming personalities and becoming their own people. Cory is learning to drive…….we are planning ACT testing……Brad is an M3. Anna started nursing school………In another 18 years there will just be Donald and me. What on earth will we do with all of our free time??!!!
The “plan” says we will be dividing time between here and Alabama. The “plan” says that will be Donald’s first or second year of retirement. Along the way we see grandchildren in our future! Marriages, graduations and the dreams of our children coming true as they pursue their happiness. Chloe’s dress fund has been started~ i am only 1/2 serious about that. So bring the “BUSY GO GO!!” This is that time in our lives…..we embrace it and pray that we are here to live out the “plan” with God’s assurance and blessing.