20 Years of Love

Today is the day, 20 years ago, that I walk down the middle of the Old Farts Party Barge, on Lake Okeechobee at 9:30am on a Sunday morning to say "I do" to my love, Dean Turner. He was 22 and I was 27. We had only been dating for 9 months, six of which were spent living in different states. We hardly knew each other but we knew we belonged together. It was weird. It wasn't like the movies, it was real. I knew I could marry him when I liked being around him for more then a couple of weeks. Most guys got on my nerves sooner or later, he hadn't and that was a weird reality for me. Dean was kind and he was sexy. I just felt like this was it, you know? I loved to hear his voice on the phone, I still do, it has the perfect tone. He hates to talk on the phone but I still call him to hear his voice.

Our 20 years has not been easy. We have dealt with infertility, our 2 year old Evangeline almost dying from undiagnosed Type 1 Diabetes and now 16 years of living with and trying to manage her diabetes. Dean has had to endure my endometriosis and chronic sinus problems and then the subsequent 2 surgeries for the sinuses, and the endometriosis then me finally having a hysterectomy. Now he has to live with hot flashes, mood swings, me getting fat, all from my lovely uncooperative female reproductive system.

We've weathered Hurricane Katrina and the trauma of helping those hurt by it in New Orleans afterward, and then Hurricane Issac throwing a stinking tree on our heads while we sat watching TV in our house and totally destroying it.  Dean lived in a tiny travel trailer with me and the kids for 4 months! The fact that our marriage survived that needs to be noted :-)

We've gone through the painful yet joyful journey of domestic adoption of our Steele, endured the pain of a failed adoption of Bradshaw and our successful international older child-adoption of Abel. The hard work of raising a hurt child, a child with chronic illness and our own little rain man (that's Steele) is easier with him as their father.

Dean meeting my dad for the first time on our wedding day.
I was raised without a dad in the home so I especially appreciate how he is very present for our children. He is the best father I have ever seen.

According to Christian dictate, we've never really done it right. Dean and I fight, cuss at each other sometime, say things we shouldn't. Before getting married we did everything wrong too and even by secular standards, we set ourselves up for failure. I married a guy who didn't have a car and was living with my grandmother. He married an older woman who was super religious when he wasn't. Our parents had no say in who we picked to marry, my dad actually met Dean on our wedding day. We had crap jobs that paid hardly any money and had no savings . We were destined to fail.

I think we've made it this long because we both always knew we were "make it happen" kind of people. We knew we wanted to spend our lives together but not just get through life, we both wanted to live full lives, committed to working on our marriage and ourselves. We wanted kids and wanted our kids to have a stable home, family dinners at night, family vacations and a mom and dad that adored each other. And I think more than anything we wanted our love to grow not just be something we took for granted.

Everyday I fell in love with him more and more. I honestly didn't know life could be this sweet.

Family all on my step dad's boat.

I think the greatest thing we share in common is that we see our lives as blessed beyond measure. When I hear people talk about how they want to be wealthy, have huge houses, jet-set lives, I think how I have all of that. I sit in our 1600 sq ft house at the dining room table with Dean and the kids, I look around at my remodeled house thanks to that tree and I still marvel that it's mine. I marvel that Dean is mine that my kids are mine. I am daily grateful for the life of abundance I have. Many times a day I know without a doubt that I AM filthy rich.

All because God so blessed me 20 years ago today with my Dean.

Happy Anniversary my love! You make my life!


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