Friday, February 15, 2013

:: Valentine ::

So, I surprised Ryan by planning our Valentine's date.  :) I picked him up at work after sitting in 45 minutes of traffic and we headed to the Seattle waterfront.  Our first stop was at Ivar's where I'd requested a table by a window on my reservation.  We were promptly seated and greeted by our waiter, who was a nice, older gentleman.  We settled on bacon-wrapped prawns as an appetizer (they were delicious) and a seafood trio for our main entree.  Ryan ordered a porter and I ordered a glass of wine - a nice 14 Hands Cabernet (my go-to cab).  We put our phones away, except to snap a few photos and had some nice conversation.  The seafood trio was probably the best seafood entree I've ever had with fresh wild salmon, halibut and grilled prawns over a bed of wilted spinach and mashed sour cream & green onion potatoes.  I was so stuffed it hurt.  So naturally, we ordered dessert - bread pudding with a creamy whiskey sauce and a small scoop of Snoqualmie vanilla gelato.  We devoured it and pronounced it the best we've ever had.  Seriously, he almost had to carry me out of there.  So.  Full.



From the restaurant, we headed to the Seattle Center and walked around.  It had stopped raining and it felt so good to walk around after that meal.  We walked past where all the rides used to be and felt sad for a moment that our kids would never experience them since they were all torn down.  We ended up at the International Fountain and we walked over to a certain spot.  The spot where he proposed to me.  I remember how he fidgeted with his hands in his pocket for our entire date that evening long ago.  How his palms were sweaty all evening and he seemed so nervous.  I can still see him on his knee with big, wide eyes - asking me to make him the happiest man in the world.  It was exactly how I'd pictured being proposed to since I was a young girl.  Anyway, last night...we reminisced for a bit and chuckled at our luck that the fountain wasn't running due to, what looked like, repairs.  Then I pulled out a short letter I'd written and read it to him.  I'll post it at the end of this post.  I cried through the entire thing.  Then we toasted to our next 13+ years (I snuck in a flask of bourbon and 2 shot glasses...shhhhhh).  It was so nice.  We've been needing a date like this.  I'm so awesome.  ;)

We wandered around Seattle Center for a bit and then headed back to our car.  

13 years ago on Valentines Day, Ryan and I made the decision to get married.  It was a lengthy conversation that happened after a Rock Church Valentines Banquet where Ryan and I were the only unmarried couple.  I remember the conversation well, as we drove in the car on I-5.  Ryan proposed a couple of weeks later.

I wanted to make our date particularly special because the last few years have not been easy on us.  Especially the last one.  We've lost our church, stumbled a little bit in our faith, taken things out on each other and have felt beat up on by life a little.  But I finally see us coming through the other side.  Not completely unscathed, but definitely wiser and tougher.  We've strengthened our resolve to be better people, better parents and better spouses to each other.  We're thankful for friends and our parents who have been there for us - especially during the most recent changes.  When we felt at our lowest and felt like we were in crisis-mode, it became apparent who our true friends and biggest fans are.  It is true that crisis, although horrible and painful, can bring about beautiful things.  I feel strengthened, encouraged and hopeful.  Those are things I haven't felt for a long time.

I'm so thankful for my life.  My husband and my 3 little babies.  And while we still have some painful things going on in our family, I'm positive we'll come through them and everything will be beautiful once again.

************************

14 Feb 2012

Dear Ryan,

13 years ago, on this day, we decided to get married.  a few weeks later, at this very spot, you asked me to be your wife.  i never had a moment’s hesitation about marrying you.  you were perfect for me -- the man of my dreams.

If I could go back 12 years and tell that young, naive 21-year-old girl with stars in her eyes ANYTHING, I would tell her this:

Brace yourself.

Marriage is hard.  Life is tough.  You’re going to hurt each other.  You’re going to feel angry sometimes.  You’ll go through relational, spiritual, financial and physical hardships.  

You’re going to feel the pain of losing close friends, but gain some incredible new ones.  

You’re going to gain an amazing, wonderful family - The Barrans.

Your church -- the one you’re planning and dreaming right now, is going to close one day, leaving you to face a journey that will be difficult and painful.  It will cause you to question your faith and force you to find your own path.  You’ll also find out who your true allies are.

You’re going to lose that cute little figure - both through neglect and childbirth.  Yes - You’re going to be a mommy.  After many tears and prayers (and years)...You’re going to have 3 beautiful little children.

I would also tell her she made the right choice.  

I would do it all over again if I knew at the end, I would have you and our three beautiful children.  Sure, I would’ve done things differently if I had another chance.  I would’ve taken better care of my body.  I would’ve been more aware of my sarcasm and cynicism.  I would’ve loved more, forgiven more and fought less.  But I would still have said yes.

I married the right man.  I’ve never doubted that.

You’re a good man.  You love me.  I know you do.  And you love our kids.  I want this moment to be a starting point of something new.  I want to make new vows and promises.  I’m looking forward to sharing the next 13+ years with you.  I can’t even imagine what these next years will bring, but I imagine there will be some tough times.  They might even make the last 13 look like a cakewalk.  But let’s do it together.  Let’s stay strong in a society where walking away when it gets hard is so easy.  Let’s grow old together.  Let’s take care of one another.  Let’s pray for one another.  Let’s compliment and reward one another.  

Let’s be an example to our babies and raise some incredible little people.  I love you.  And I mean it.  

I would do it all over again.