As little girls we learn all about fairy tales. At the end of every story it states, "And they lived happily ever after," as they kiss or get married or ride off into the sunset.
But . . . then what? They lived happily ever after . . . and then what? Life just doesn't stop after the beloved characters fall in love. Oh, no, technically, this is just the beginning of the story! Prince Charming has to get a job and Snow White is in the bathroom dealing with morning sickness. The laundry is piled up, the dwarves are fighting, the car won't start. Life is not a fairy tale. Or . . . is it?
This past Saturday, November 16th, Jacob and I celebrated our 11 year anniversary. Well, technically, we didn't really celebrate. We acknowledged it and instead celebrated our daughter's 2nd birthday with family. (We have plans to celebrate this Saturday, but that is neither here nor there.) When Jacob and I got married it was just like everything I learned as a child in all the fairy tales I had heard. I found my prince, he asked me to marry him, I got to wear a beautiful gown and with little cherubs buzzing around us I said, "I do," and we lived happily ever after. Right? It strikes me as funny that in the movies and the stories when the guy gets the girl that is the end, but really it's the beginning, isn't it?
Jacob and I have been together for over 13 years, married for 11 years. We have three kids and life is far from boring. We try to make time for each other every evening. We have a date on the couch where we sit together and watch a show or two before heading to bed. I see this man working hard every day to support his family, to fix things around the house and make sure vehicles are running properly. He makes time for his kids and he helps me around the house. He surprises me when I least expect it.
Sure, there are days when a vehicle won't start, something is leaking, something is broken, the laundry seems to multiply as if by magic, the kids are all unhappy or sick, and money always seems to be tight. Yet, at the end of every day, I tuck my kids into bed, kiss them on the forehead and walk down the hall. And there he sits. When he sees me he holds his arm up, inviting me to sit beside him. He smiles and his eyes meet mine and all those butterflies I had 13 years ago when we were dating come fluttering back to my stomach. We sit together and talk for a little bit and then watch TV for about an hour, all snuggled up together.
And even with everything life throws our way, we actually, really DO live happily ever after.