Twenty Years to Life

Twenty years. That’s a long time, or it’s not, depending on what context you are thinking of twenty years in. Twenty years could seem like forever to a convicted  felon. Twenty years seems so young to me now that I am forty but when I was ten, twenty seemed like the apex of adulthood. In nature, I mean fashion, certain things only happen every twenty years, like the return of bell bottoms, combat boots and the grunge look (anyone old enough to dress themselves in the late 80’s early 90’s knows exactly what I’m talking about.) Twenty years. So much, so very much, can happen in twenty years.Today, I’m looking at twenty years and it’s a BLINK. How? How has twenty years passed so quickly and so slowly at the same time? Twenty years ago I was a Hudson, the oldest of three girls with a maiden name that I took from my step-dad who raised me. Twenty years ago, I was a twenty year old girl with hair down to my waist, a wide-eye optimistic view of the world and totally, head over heels in love. Twenty years ago, I walked down a long aisle, in a huge church, full of family and friends. Twenty years ago he was standing at the altar, twenty-two at the time, a baby himself, but head over heels in love with me, tears running down his face as I walked towards him. All the love, all the care in the world radiating from his eyes.Twenty years ago, we exchanged vows, exchanged rings and traded hearts. Mine for His, His for Mine. Twenty years. I remember the day in the greatest detail because a friend, told me “Drink in your wedding day. Don’t rush anything and commit it to memory.” I’m so thankful for those words of wisdom. Drink in the day I did. Every sight, sound, look, comment, decoration, feeling, person. I remember it all twenty years later.Twenty years. We have walked through so much, my man and I. We have a little girl waiting to greet us in heaven, she was not for this world but for another and someday in our future, we will get to hold her. We faced a medical diagnosis that said, you won’t ever carry a child to a full, healthy term. We fought and prayed for our oldest son to be full term even when, at 22 weeks, it seemed like labor and delivery were inevitable. We held each other as we watched our second son fight in NICU after being born a preemie. We have bought homes, sold homes, built homes, moved, and moved again. Ohio, North Carolina, Ohio, Louisiana, Texas, the adventure and memory in each state is as precious as the ones before and after each transition.In twenty years we grew from just the two of us, to a team of six with bonus “sons” and “daughters” who we claim as our own. We have walked our kids through things physically, mentally and spiritually that you never want them to go through, yet when they do, you are so thankful that you have someone on your side who rallies with you to pray and counsel them through those situations.Twenty years has given us happiness, laughter, joy and experiences that are incomparable to anything and at the heart of it all, it’s not because of what we have experienced, but becasue we have expereinced it together.In the past twenty years we have changed. We have grown as individuals and as a couple, but we have changed and grown together. But, even in twenty years, I am still learning things about him that are new and exciting to me.Twenty years have brought with it loss, loss of a baby, loss of jobs, loss of grandparents, loss a biological father, loss of finances, loss of confidence and strength, loss of our way. But what has never been lost in twenty years is love. Through everything, that is something that we have never been without.In twenty years there have been fights. Some of them stupid. Some of them incredibly intense. But the biggest fight that we ever been in, has been the fight to STAY. The fight in us that says “this is so hard, but we are not quitting, we are not giving up.” There is no Fight or Flight in our marriage, it is just fight.Twenty years, he has walked me through some of the darkest times of my life and he didn’t just walk with me, he carried me, sometimes he had to drag me, other times he had to just sit and hold me until I could get up and walk again, but he never left, he never walked away. The times I strayed, he guided me back, broken heart and all. He has held me together even when he was falling apart. Shatterd heart, broken trust, grief, sadness, hurts, all the things that happen when you love fully and wholly, without reserve he has experienced and he’s here, and I know he always will be and that does something to my soul.I could feel guilt and shame and unworthiness to have someone so worthy love me, but I don’t feel any of that. Instead, it’s a steadfast, deep down, assurance and an awe that he loves me. LOVES ME, all of me. In spite of….. all the things. He loves me.Twenty years later, he’s still loving me the way Christ loves the church. Without condition, no strings attached, fully, totally, through the breaks and the cracks of his heart, through and the ups and downs of life, through the beautifully broken parts of our story he loves me and I love him.Yes, these past twenty years have been a blink, but not a blink that happened so fast I can’t really remember things. No, it’s been twenty years of blinks that have added up to all kinds of memories and has created our amazing love story.

Twenty years. Not a long time, but long enough to know that I don’t want to live the next twenty or forty or one hundred without him.

Happy 20th Anniversary Captain.

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