Love, on the other hand, is something that we celebrate all the time around our house. Love is a constant in our family.
Evan and I met during my sophomore year of college, when he was a freshman. We began dating at the end of that school year, and we fell in love over the summer as we enjoyed lots of time together. We ended up working just a block from each other that summer - me as an intern for the state and Evan at the bank where he now works today. We would often meet up together for lunch downtown and spent a lot of time together boating on the lake and hanging out with friends.
May 2004 - FarmHouse Formal
July 2004 - Table Rock Lake
September 2004 - skiing at Lake Shelbyville
We dated the rest of college, enjoying many Greek functions together, Saturday afternoons of tailgating and Illini football, nights out with our friends. I graduated in 2006, and that summer, we took a trip, like every summer, with Evan's whole extended family from his mom's side to Table Rock Lake in southern Missouri.
Our first night there that week, Evan took me on a sunset boat ride with a bottle of my favorite wine...and asked me to be his wife.
We were married October 6, 2007.
For two years, it was just the two of us...
Then on September 13, 2009, our beautiful baby boy arrived! We were thrilled beyond words at this new addition to our family and joked that two parents couldn't possibly be more obsessed with their own kid than we were.
September 2010We knew we wanted at least two children, so when Connor was about a year old, we began to pray and hope for another baby. It took a little longer the second time around, but in May 2011, we were overjoyed to get a positive pregnancy test. When our sonogram showed that we were having a girl, we knew we couldn't have asked for a more perfect family of four.
Obviously Brenna's arrival was not what we had planned for or expected, but we still feel that we couldn't have asked for a more perfect family.
And through all of the trials and challenges over the last two months, Evan has been my rock. There has never been a moment where we have turned against each other, knowing that forever and always we are in this together, no matter what God hands us.
While Brenna was in the NICU, and especially those early days, we would make time each night to sit and talk to each other, sharing our feelings, our fears, our hopes - leaning completely on each other during that difficult time.
It may not be the most glamorous love story ever told. But to me, true love is not the drama, the glamour, the break-ups and make-ups that so many shows and movies portray it to be. True love is forever love, unconditional love. The kind of love where you know that no matter what happens in life, you will always have each other, you will always be there for each other. Where you put each other's feelings and needs first among all else. Where, when God gives you the most difficult challenge of your life, your love and relationship are strengthened.
Evan summed it up for me the other day...we were both bleary-eyed early in the morning after being up most of the night with a miserable little girl battling a stomach bug. He looked at me and said "Sometimes this sucks. But I wouldn't want to do it with anyone else."