I have thought a lot about our wedding day as our anniversary approached. The thing that is perhaps most dominant in my mind is how young we were. When I see the pictures of that day, I am always surprised at how much we look like babies. And I remember having such a immature view of life. That wasn't a bad thing - we were immature yet, as in we were not mature. I know I had so much to learn about life, marriage, everything. I think about how fiery I was about everything. I thought I had figured it all out. I believed it was worth fighting all the time to defend truth! I even treated Heather that way. I saw myself as in the right; I needed to correct those around me.
I think that I believed if I just pushed hard enough, things would go the way I thought they should go. That applied to issues with work, with finances, with faith, with marriage. But I soon discovered that was not how things worked. It was a frustrating and humbling lesson. I was extremely fortunate that I had an equally determined wife. Instead of a fiery, angry force of nature, Heather approached things very differently. She also had strong beliefs of how things should be. And she didn't relent. Instead she gave me time to work through my pigheadedness until I could actually see that I was wrong sometimes. (Not often. Okay. Often.)
We had our ups and downs. We did not always see eye to eye. But we kept on working and fighting because we both knew that our marriage and family were worth fighting for. That was one thing that we both were determined about.
Fifteen years later, we don't look so much like babies. We don't see things with such immature eyes. When I pause long enough to examine my life, I am amazed at where we are. We are sitting in a hotel in Houston, Texas. Tomorrow we will begin looking around the city we will soon call home. We drove through the Medical City today. It is mammoth. It is bigger than downtown Orlando. I just kept looking up at the skyscrapers, completely blown away. Next year Heather will be working there as a fellow. She matched at this incredible hospital and is going to be doing amazing things. How did we get here?
The David and Heather of today are a far cry from the ones of yesterday. Heather has developed into a strong, confident, brilliant leader of men and women. She continues to achieve more and more wonderful things. Somehow she juggles motherhood, wife hood (is that a word?), and doctor hood with style and grace. She constantly impresses me.
I have mellowed quite a bit. I am not the same fiery stubborn man. I still can be stubborn, but I have come to realize that fighting is highly overrated. I am not always right. I do not know everything. I have learned that my ideal view of life is not going to happen - and it is not even worthy of happening many times. I am in a totally different career than I ever could have imagined, and I love what I'm doing.
I stay home with our kids - something that I love and that they love. Heather is thriving in her job. The kids are doing well. Things are not perfect, and we still are dealing with yesterday's decisions and aftermath. But I am so happy right now with where we are today.
Where will the next fifteen years take us? I really have no idea. I still have trouble sometimes wrapping my head around where we are now. Fifteen years from now, our kids will be out of college. Heather will be doing amazing things. I will be teaching.
At least that is what I assume will be happening. That isn't sure, though. There is no way to know where we will be. People ask us where we plan on going once Heather finishes fellowship. But even that decison - a mere four years away - is impossible to know right now. We could be back in Florida. There are definite benefits to that decision! But we could be back in South Carolina. We have loved our time in Columbia and Heather loves the medical community there. But she could also be offered a job to stay in Houston. Or someone else could try to poach her. We have no idea.
The future is impossible to know. All I know is that I am so excited to approach that unclear future with a woman like Heather by my side. She is the most incredible woman I know. Every day I find more reasons to love her. I am beyond proud of her. I know I don't deserve her. I just thank God that He blessed me so greatly. For fifteen years, I have enjoyed that blessing. And I am only beginning to understand just how much of a blessing that she is. I love you, Heather.