Happy Anniversary. Twenty Years of Learning

Today I celebrate 20 years married to the woman I was meant to be with. The woman who completes me in ways I am just starting to fully understand. The woman who is the mother to my three children (Brittany, Ashley, Noah) and who treats many more like her own (Ricky, Jessica, Shelby). The woman who has given me all of her.


I used to count down our anniversaries for how long I had been married in life versus how long I hadn’t. Last year I had been married 19 and single 19 on our¬†anniversary. Hitting a mark that seemed pretty incredible to me at the time. This year I have been married 20 and alive 39. Meaning that I have been married to the woman of my dreams for over half my life at this point. I am still all in everyday, excited to see where we go together.

As our children age and we add new children to our family via marriage and relationships (Chad, Chase), I can only feel our journey together is just beginning. That our brightest moments are ahead of us.

She often asks me, “Why do you love me?”. The reasons are too vast and many beyond my own understanding, but here are just a few. She is my muse, my inspiration, my reason for being. She completes me, showing me the sides of me that I have yet to discover.

Her empathy is automatic. Her hearts bleeds and wails for those in pain. Complete strangers, best friends or animals, she can’t rest if she knows they are suffering. Her own inner self is so real and raw that she relates to their every struggle. I can only hope to one day be able to find that level of depth in my being.

Her adventure fuels me when I am timid. Some of my best memories of our times together often start with “we shouldn’t be doing this”, “stop that”, “hey now”, “but what if” or “some one is gonna see”. She unlocks the parts of me that need to be free, but have been told they shouldn’t come out.

Her passion matches mine. All or nothing may suck when it comes to the standard of cleaning a toilet, but it’s nice to have someone in my corner that knows, understands and appreciates long hours trying to make it perfect or endless days committed to something because you can’t half ass it. A commitment to following through when running through the suck is always better together than alone.

Her smile. It can make me cry. It can make me laugh. It can warm my heart. Seeing her content let’s me know that there is a happy place in a laugh, where if even for a moment you find it, that you should hang on to it and save it for when you need it.

Her vulnerability. Can you make a new best friend in a grocery store line with a complete stranger? Me either, but she can. She has the ability to be completely vulnerable and without pretense opening herself to complete strangers. This often has me pinching, nudging and kicking her to stop because I am so embarrassed. The truth is I am just jealous that I can’t be that open with the world. I won’t let them see me. I don’t share the best and worst of me with everyone. She does. I could learn a lot there.

Laurie I give you all of me today and all the days that follow. I look forward to the next 20 together. The places we will go, the friends we will make and the things you will teach me.

Love Derek

One thought on “Happy Anniversary. Twenty Years of Learning

  1. Kay Neighbors

    Wonderfully written! Very proud of you!