Our story is not just that of a Mailman and a Stay-at-home Mom.
No, no. Our story is much deeper, much thicker, much more raw. It goes way back. It is emotional and testing. It is dedicated, passionate, and intense.
Our story is a love story.
And someday I will write a book to share it all; including all the details that I should write here, but will not. So for now, I will share parts of our story for those of you who may not fully know it.
You see, my husband -the mailman- was not always a mailman. He once was a teenage boy with a slightly lazy eye and a crooked streak about him. He wore cologne that smelled overpowering, but must have triggered my hormones because I couldn't get enough of him. I wrapped myself in his friendship; dying for his attention. And then, one winter night, he kissed me on the forehead on the dock of our local lake. He was wearing a red hoodie sweatshirt. And that was all it took. Whether he intended for it to happen or not, I fell in love with that boy on that night.
There was nothing about that boy that was good.
Or at least to the rest of the world-especially to my parents. He liked to party, listen to loud music and get caught with other girls. He had tattoos, and his ear pierced. He often wreaked of cigarettes, and not just because he came from a smoking home. He wore his pants too big and showed that his heart was small.
...to everyone except me.
Because to me, that boy was everything my heart was beating for. Something inside of me loved him deeper than I had expected and much more than I could comprehend. I saw through his outward appearance and big boy attitude. I saw the core of his spirit and immediately needed him to know that I believed in him. Everything about him. And none of it was because of my "need to fix that boy" obsession. Ok, maybe some of it was...but most of it was not.
When we started officially dating, I knew immediately that Daniel was joining the Marine Corps. No girl-not even one that he was eventually going to fall in love with-was going to stop him from his dream. He made it clear, and I believed him. And I understood. We got engaged a few months before graduating high school, and he accepted Jesus into his heart just 2 weeks after we were engaged. We spent our days together, taking pictures and living as teenagers who are in love do. Oblivious of our future and what was to come. Just holding hands, driving on country roads, studying the Word, learning about Jesus, making plans and enjoying time together.
We graduated high school in May and Daniel left for boot camp in September of that year. The morning that he left was one of the hardest days of my entire life. I was watching this boy, who I had fought so desperately for, leave to start living his dream. His dream-that in the moment-did not include me. I was extremely proud of him, and although I knew long before that white bus came to take him away that he would be leaving, I felt abandoned. I felt betrayed. We were supposed to be starting our life together, not separating ourselves from one another. I couldn't understand why his love for me was not strong enough to make him stay.
But it didn't take me long to understand...
During his 3 months away from home, (the longest we had ever been apart), we wrote letters back and forth to one another. Love letters, etched in ink on paper that was stained with sweat and tears. His letters were written from the bathrooms of a lonely barracks hall in the middle of the night, with only the moon for light by which to see. My letters were written constantly, whether in my mind or on paper. I kept a journal, writing to him daily while he was away. I sent him letter after letter reminding him of my love and of our future. I waited desperately for the mail to arrive everyday and cried with such strong anguish if a letter hadn't come. I needed so badly to know that he was ok and that he still loved me. I felt as if a letter was going to come explaining to me that his love had changed or that being apart was just too difficult. But that letter never came. He professed his love for me week after week, promising me that he was building a future for the two of us and that we would make it through whatever was thrown our way in this journey. I believed him, and trusted in him so deeply. I could see that God was raising up a strong warrior in this man and that he would fight for not only us, but for our family. I felt secure, content and loved. And I felt lonely, sad and desperate.
I was enrolled at a Christian college during the months he was in boot camp. Not by my choice, but by my lack of ambition to do anything at all except for sit around and sulk, my mom made the choice to send me. I couldn't concentrate, got into a car accident and had my license taken away, failed out of my simple courses and cried every single night. For 3 months straight.
So when the day finally came to fly to California to meet this man, now a Marine, I couldn't wait to get on that plane. Daniel's parents, his uncle and I made the trip to San Diego 2 days before we actually saw our boy. We spent the entire day before seeing him sightseeing. I spent the entire day in the back of the rental car, sick with worry and anxiety.
I should have listened to myself and my feelings, because what was to come the following day was not at all what I had expected...