I am from a 13-year-old girl in a brown turtleneck and tweed skirt who somehow caught your heart forever.
I am from ooey gooey bars in your locker, from state championships in Charlottesville, and from apple fritters at the Dutch Pantry.
I am from a perfect Homecoming Dance and a perfectly awful Senior Prom.
I am twenty years from a sun-dappled autumn afternoon when you slipped a ring and a promise on my finger. I am from a wedding a year later, another ring, and more promises--always kept. I am from more time in my life with you, than without.
I am from hours and hours of long distance telephone calls (harbingers of things to come) and regular treks up and down 29, wearing your ring on my finger and a song in my heart.
I am from the a little dollhouse on Donegal Lane, full of cottage charm, lots of dreams, the epitome of “cozy.”
I am from the basil on the deck, impatiens (better known as “poppers”) in the front, a swingset in the tiny backyard. From stolen kisses at Lake Accotink to Pohick Valley Stream park outside our bedroom window, deer in the morning and a rushing creek after the rain.
I am from five anniversaries spent nine months pregnant, from Michael and Christian and Paddy and then a girl named Mary Beth. I’m from the “twins,” Stephen and Nicky, from Katie Bean the family queen, and a little miracle girl we can’t wait to meet.
I am from early lessons in “in sickness and in health.” I am from an IV push with wicked red fluid that made my hair fall out; raging fevers and no white blood cells; and you, always you, right there by my side.
I am from giggling children in tickle jail to “go far post” to “Love you Forever” every night into your cell phone since she was able to warble the words.
I am from far too many teary goodbyes, sweet, memorable reunions and everything in between. I’m from no honeymoon. I’m from Christmas in Hawaii, to a pilgrimage to Chicago to lay it all at the feet of St. Therese, to American Girl Place with our ladies, to filet mignon and fine art in Florida (just us this time—oh, and great Aunt Ida;-)
I am from twelve years of Campus Ministry at the best CCM in the world, Mass in the Lecture Hall, groundbreaking for the chapel, seven (eight) Fr. Bob baptisms, the excruciating pain of the local mission, the comfort of St. Veronica.
I'm from midnight rides to 4 different hospitals and quick labors and deliveries, from craving watermelon in January to “needing” Pho in July, from three precious babies waiting in heaven, to 76 total months of pregnancy (but who’s counting?).
I’m from humming nebulizers all night long, butterflies over stitches nearly always. From chiropractors and orthopedists and orthodontists. From the first time we sped to the hospital with a child who couldn’t breathe to the time you cut his finger with the hedgeclippers.
From buzzcuts in the summer and curly-haired Christmas pictures.
I’m from watching Michael take the PK and breathing again when he makes it this time, from crying when Mary Beth danced Clara, from blushing in the heat while people marvel over Paddy’s footskills, not knowing that he belongs to us.
I am from Christian’s perfect Little League Season, coached by you. I am from sending you all out to play family soccer and counting the minutes until I hear the latest competitive squabble.
I'm from finding Nicky's blinking and repeating very endearing and being amazed at his number sense.
I am from very late nights when all is quiet and the heartfelt conversation murmured in a hush, lest someone wake and come to sleep in the middle.
I am from seven nearly identical baptism pictures on the wall in the hallway (with space there for new additions), from seven birth announcements framed at the foot of the stairs,seven christening candles. I am from a hope chest filled with notes from high school, wedding shower mementos, teeny-tiny hospital baby bracelets, a few stray bald chemo pictures I can’t deny but don’t care to remember, programs from dance recitals and remnants of soccer tournaments, and hope—hope that our tomorrows are as rich and filled with love as our yesterdays.