I can never hear Mendocino County Line and not think about Ryan and how much I love him.
Today we have been married for 8 years.
I have Mendocino County Line on repeat as I write this.
In Don’t Tell Ryan, I told you so many amazing things about him, but the one major thing I never talked much about is how he has truly, without a doubt, loved me, all of me, for the best and worst parts of my life.
You see me in person or online or wherever for brief moments. I look vibrant and happy. I always appear that I have got it all together.
I don’t. And when I finally write and release Gravel Roads, you’ll see it.
But there is one person who has seen it all. His name is Ryan, and today he has been my husband for 8 years.
Illness, no matter what type of illness it might be, takes its toll not only on the patient but also on the primary partner/family member in one’s life.
Traveling this road through infertility, Colitis, SIBO, major adrenal burnout, hormonal issues and other things which I have never publicly spoken about, is a hard road to take when you’re the person who stands next to that person every single day.
Looking back, there was a reason no other relationship ever stuck like this one. I simply had never found the person who would not only say, but actually live day in, day out,
For better or worse.
And can I just tell you what this beautiful, amazing, and God-given gift this has looked like?
It has looked like a smile on my face (even when I was crying) for over 8 years. (This is a picture from this past summer.)
It has looked like a peak when only the valley was present.
It has looked like a friendship that many people search their entire lives for.
It has looked like a partner in crime to battle hard days, weeks, or months with.
It has looked like a love I would not trade for anything or anyone in the whole world.
For our first anniversary, Ryan and I went to Mendocino. This picture was taken there.
I recently looked at them, and then decided to search for as many pictures of the two of us as I could find.
I realized a few things while seeking them out.
My first thought was, “Wow! I have loved you for so long.” Like in this picture….we weren’t even “technically” dating, but I told him a long time ago that I loved him even then (and told my mom by that point he was the one)!
And then I thought about how sad it is that since we got all the babies, pictures with just the two of us are basically nonexistent. So goes life with children, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I have already vowed to him that this next year will find many more pictures with just the two of us.
And finally, I thought about how pictures really do tell a story. I see myself in these pictures, and I know how underneath the smile in so many of them I was sad (Like in this next picture below….the day of our engagement pictures. I had been starving myself for a few months already. I was dropping weight, “looked good,” but so hungry and tired, and likely took out every ounce of frustrations that day on Ryan. Actually, I know I did because all I had to eat was a little lettuce and chicken for lunch. Yum. Not!). But most importantly, I see a story in these pictures where even though I may have been crumbling inside, my entire heart was always in the safest and happiest place on Earth – with Ryan.
With all these amazing pictures I found of the two of us, I decided to put them together to Mendocino County Line. There are only 2 pictures that are not just he and I. I could have included so many people, namely our children, but in the end, I chose not to.
Someday our children will be grown and gone.
And then it will just be back to Ryan and I.
My heart is so happy with that lingering thought. I am forever indebted to the love Ryan has shown me, unconditionally. Truly, madly, purely, unconditionally.
I love you today and forever, Ryan.
I hope you love the video.