Today is my 16th wedding anniversary. Sixteen years ago I married the love of my life. We weren't kids when we married and I'd made my share of mistakes, so to say I was nervous is an understatement. As a bride those many years ago, I knew that I was marrying a man who was kind, strong and patient. He knew me better than anyone had every known me up until that point. What I didn't know was how much our love would be tested over the next 16 years. And, I definitely did not know it would take 16 years for me to really feel like a newlywed again.
If you read my blogs or know me, our challenges have been well chronicled -- diagnosed with an autoimmune disease three months after we married; five years of severe illness; three children born with unexplained and rare disabilities, eight years searching for answers, four years of transplant surgery for my boys, 20 surgeries overall.
Just writing the words can send a chill down my spine.
It will never be forgotten by Mat and I, but in many ways, it is over. Not literally, but in so many good ways that it is hard to describe. We have made it through the perfect storm, the hurricane, the tornado that was those first 16 years and we have come out alive, we have come out stronger, and we have come out happy. You may not understand that kind of happiness, but it is the sweetest feeling I can ever describe. A life with fear 24/7 is far different than a life with occasional fear. If you have ever had this, you know what I'm talking about. To know now that my partner is more of a husband and a father than I could ever imagine. That is something, that is a miracle. That is something I never would have known then.
|Our fathers -- Elio Lori & Edward DelBeccaro -- at our wedding reception|
How does that happen? It's certainly not what we planned, we could never have understood that either of us could take the knock downs, time and again, and come out on the other side. Not in a million years. But we did. No small amount can be attributed to our common upbringing. Italian, Catholic, each of us one of eight children, parents that were raised pre and post Depression & World War II. Culture, tradition, family, faith, those are at the core of how we were raised and while each of us may have wavered at different times. Each of us may have thought, 'maybe this is more than I can handle.' Never did it happen at the same time and that is why I am grateful.
I will never again look out into the world with innocence and think everything from now on will be easy. But I do have a wisdom, a peace of knowing, no matter what, that man I married, my best friend is in it with me, he is in it for our family. I know how lucky I am and so today, I celebrate our wedding. Happy Wedding Mat! XOXO