Twelve

I grabbed his hand as though his weight alone would anchor me to the ground we stood on. “It is beautiful” he said, eyes fixed on the millions of stars that illuminated the sky above us.

It was, indeed, beautiful. All those tiny pinpoints twinkling against an endless velvety dark blue void. My pulse quickened. My head felt weightless. I held onto his hand tighter. Between feeling so incredibly small, falling in love, and my extreme fear of all things huge and unknown, I wasn’t sure if I was going to lose consciousness or vomit. Maybe both.

When I was a little girl I would proudly announce that I was going to be a ballerina and an astronaut when I grew up. I wanted to dance on the moon. I absorbed every book I could find about the solar system. I would recite the planets (in order from the sun, of course), to anyone willing to listen. The idea of something so big that we hadn’t found the end to yet, fascinated me.

My curiosity-filled innocence slowly faded and in its place stood anxiety, fear, and panic. These things, at times, consumed me. I no longer looked at the sky in awe and amazement. I avoided looking up at all out of fear of what may be, of what I didn’t know. I would glance at a harvest moon and momentarily forget that I was fearful. Then a wave of panic would awaken me from my daydream and anxiety would settle in once again.

Then I met him. We spent our first summer under dark and moody skies. Thunderstorm after thunderstorm rolled through. We would watch from my truck as the sky changed from clear blue to steely grey to black. Together we watched lightning rip through the clouds. Claps of thunder echoed in my ears along with the pounding of my completely smitten heart.

Warm nights filled with star gazing and storytelling. I started to forget my fears. As long as he was beside me, I could do anything. The unknown was a beautiful place to be.

Four years later, we married on a beautiful October day. The sun warmed my bare shoulders and made his blue eyes sparkle brighter than the sky. Later that night, we surrounded ourselves with friends and celebrated our union. I found myself looking up at the stars. The infinite unknown didn’t seem so scary. It seemed hopeful, promising. Maybe not knowing was better after all.

Another four years later, we were holding our first child in our arms. She was born on a summer day, one just like when we fell in love eight years earlier. This time, we were falling in love with a brand new little person, one we created.

Our second daughter is now nearly four and we have a third daughter who is 18 months old. Our oldest is eight and our hearts are so deeply in love with them. They ask about the sky and the stars. I hold them all tightly, worried if I let go I’ll float away, only to wake up and realize this was all a dream. Together we look up at the night sky. I hold my husband, he is so good at helping me be firmly on the ground. I still feel those rushes but I know that I have them to hold me. I have him.

I have moments where I find myself looking at the sky, in awe of all that I have. I am overwhelmed with gratitude, for us, for our life, for him. It is in those moments that I still reach out and grab his hand, hoping that his weight alone will anchor me to the ground.

He looks over at me, his eyes still sparkling like that clear October sky, his voice the same as it was on those warm summer nights so many years ago, “It is beautiful”, he says.

Yes, my love, it is beautiful.

I originally wrote this in honor of our twelfth anniversary of meeting/dating. Now we are celebrating twelve years of marriage (16 of being together!). I have rewritten it to reflect our life now.

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