I’m sure we have all done the thing where we view our photo list in a big giant grid of thumbnails. It’s kinda fun to look back and see the blur that was the past few months or years. But we know that the never ending view of tiny thumbnails are not the important moments or photos. Those have their own album. Their own special gallery. That’s where we keep the BIG moments.
It’s ironic how we so often look for big moments to mark our progress in life and in marriage. Anniversaries are how we count our commitment to a relationship. It’s like they become this giant event that must be declared.
ATTENTION EVERYONE TODAY IS OUR ANNIVERSARY. WE ARE STILL MARRIED AND IN LOVE.
But, at the same time, the longer you are married, the more we realize that you don’t suddenly go from year 1 to year 2 to year 3. There are millions of tiny moments that fill up between those years.
Today Danielle and I have been married 5,000 days.
That’s kinda great. But honestly, I doubt TODAY will actually be any more special than yesterday or tomorrow. The thing is, we don’t really know when the “special” days will come. But, looking back, it’s easy for me to remember moments that did stand out. Days that bubble up to the surface when viewed with a little bit of perspective and history behind them.
Day 1: Kinda obvious.
Day 264: This was taken when our firstborn Joseph was less than a week old. Little did I realize then just how much time Danielle would spend holding and loving on babies over the next 4,800 days.
Day 653: We spent about 1 week in the hospital with Joseph. I think it was the first truly hard thing we went through in our marriage. Learning to trust, learning to stay calm and not let the moment overwhelm you, and learning to lean on each other even more when a season of life become hard.
Day 1,103: I love this photo. I’m not sure how many seagulls have carried off and eaten a human but Danielle was convinced that they were a very real threat. Even so, she braved the birds and the beach and lived to tell of it.
Day 1,273: I kept getting frustrated because Sara would not look at the camera. To say we got into a fight over it might be a stretch… but it also might not. :) Danielle assured me that it would be fine regardless of what Sara was doing. I disagreed. I eventually just photoshopped another shot of her looking towards the camera to make a “good” family photo. Years later as I look back on that shoot, this is my favorite image.
Day 1,457: Remember that time my office flooded and we ripped up carpet and soaked up water and were so broke we tried to put back down the wet carpet and hoped that it didn’t smell, but it did?
Those were good times.
Day 1,833: Little by little Danielle has come to understand my love for technology and things that go blinky blink. So, even though she didn’t camp out with me for that first iPhone… She did let me do it.
(Even though that meant she was at home with two kids and 8 months pregnant with our third.)
Day 2,229: Danielle and I always look back on Luke as being when we really started to get the hang of parenting. Maybe it’s because “third time’s the charm” or something, but by the time this kiddo got here we had learned how to not sweat the small stuff and Danielle had learned how to make a killer birthday cake.
Day 2,500: It’s funny how things work out. Just out of curiosity I decided to check back and see what the half way point of our little journey was. When I did the math, day 2,500 was the day I photographed Danielle’s college roommate’s wedding. It’s one of like 3 weddings I’ve shot that Danielle and the kids have attended and having Sara & Yan be a part of our timeline is extra fun.
Day 2,629: We had just started homeschooling the kids and I still remember how scary that idea was at times. I’ve seen her reading and helping these kids learn to read countless times over the years and looking back on this moment fills me with so much pride in what she has taught our kids. The little guy who was learning to read a Curious George book right there just wrote a 34 page short story of his own last month. (Just for fun.)
Day 2,864: As great as she is at teaching our kids, she’s even better at playing and connecting with them. This is one of my all time favorites.
Day 2,968: Somewhere someone decided that minivans are not cool. I disagree. They have doors that open when you push a button, kids can get in and out without help, and they hold a whole basketball team. Anyway, the day we sold this van was bittersweet. She had served us well, but her time was done. Before we sold her, we took one last family photo.
Day 3,144: Our last kiddo had just turned 1 a few days before this photo. Danielle held Eli every chance she had. We knew were were entering a new season of life but leaving this one was also hard.
Day 3,225: I’m always amazed at what Danielle will let the kids do to her.
Day 3,261: We had wanted a fence for a while and finally saved up enough cash to build one…. but not enough to pay someone to build it. :)
So, board by board, Danielle walked them over to where I was nailing them up. AND, since she knows I’m a words of affirmation guy, she even wrote me little encouraging notes on some of them.
Day 3,654: On our 10 year anniversary we went back out to Elmwood Gardens and had some cookies and told the kids about the time their Mom and Dad were married. We talked about how marriage is hard, but even when it’s hard, we are committed to it and to each other. They kinda looked at us like what are you talking about and asked if they could have another cookie.
(Fun Fact: Every year on our anniversary we dress back up in our wedding close and have a vow renewal ceremony at home.)
Day 3,892: This is the day that we learned that if your daughter falls on her two front teeth, they might break off.
This is the day we learned that staying calm helps.
Even if you are freaking out on the inside.
Day 3,963: Remember how we homeschool? Well, when we started I think we had like 1 kid…. Today Danielle is teaching 7th, 5th, 3rd, and 1st grade.
This little photo was after her first year teaching all 4 of the kiddos. (Looking back on it I realize maybe I should have printed out an award for her.)
Day 4,507: We decided that it was time to move. We had outgrown our house and were ready for something a bit bigger.
We packed it all up, and put our house on the market.
Thought this process we realized something, we didn’t need a bigger house. We didn’t want another house. We needed to find contentment where we were.
Little by little we did that. Together.
And then… we moved back into our house. :)
Day 4,632: Every now and then you get one of those perfect days. Days where school gets canceled and it snows in Texas, days filled with uncles and friends and laughter and kids on sleds. You soak up those days, you remember those days, because you never know how many you have.
1 week after this day, Danielle’s brother and his friend were in a car wreck. Her brother survived but our sweet friend Pasha did not. This hit us hard and our family went through a dark season. A season of mourning and sadness, a season of questions unanswered. But little by little we came through it. Together. And we came out on the other side stronger. Again, we realized that when the hard times comes. Lean into each other.
Day 4,842: Remember that time that Mickey Mouse said “I would like you to be the family of the day and help me open the Magic Kingdom”? Because you should. Because it was one of the best days ever.
The best thing about these days is that they were not planed for back when we were married.
They are little markers along the way that remind us that marriage is about growth.
Marriage is about changing and continuing to love each other.
Marriage is not just about those big epic moments.
Your love story is not only written when you are dancing together in the rain, it’s written every day.
Little by little, one snapshot at a time.
The reality is there is no trick to staying married 5,000 days. You choose to stay married one day at a time.
One diaper at a time.
fight on the way to church
at a time.
It’s in the common, the mundane, the beautiful holiness that is the everyday.
And, as much as I’ve loved these 5,000 days, I can’t wait of the next ones.
I’m already looking forward to November 7, 2029. When I can look into my brides eyes and say I’ve loved being married to you ten thousand days.