I remember your eyes. I saw them for the first time on our blind date. I’d never seen eyes like yours. Were they blue? or were they green? or were they gray? or did it even matter? They were beautiful. I went to bed that night thinking about you and your beautiful eyes.
You asked me to go out again. I said no. Sorry about that. I thought you were too old for me. 5 years difference seemed like a big deal back then. You’d just graduated from college and were starting your new job. I’d just graduated from high school and was getting ready to start college. But the real reason I said no was because I was afraid of getting hurt again.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about you. It took me awhile to work up my nerve to call you. Kinda wish cell phones and texting had been a thing in 1989. That would’ve been a lot easier. So your phone finally rang and it was me on the other end. Were you surprised? Yeah. Me too.
I remember your eyes when you leaned in to kiss me for the first time. You were such a gentleman as you asked if it would be ok if you kissed me. I won’t say how long we dated before we kissed. Because no one has ever believed that story anyway. But it was worth the wait.
After 10 months of dating you got down on one knee at the Olive Garden and you asked me to marry you. I looked into your eyes and without hesitation I said yes. Of course I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. We were excited to get home and tell our families. As we got close to home we realized something terrible had happened. You stopped and talked to a policeman. He said a tornado had blown through and a woman had been killed. I felt like I couldn’t breathe.
You drove down the road that my grandma lived on. You quickly realized you should’ve went the other way. The debris was horrible. I started crying because I was afraid that grandma was the woman who’d been killed. You asked me to lie down in the seat because if grandma’s house was gone you didn’t want me to see it. When you saw that grandma’s house was ok you told me I could sit up. I felt so loved and protected in that moment. And I knew I wanted you to love and protect me for the rest of our lives.
I was relieved as we pulled into my driveway and my house was still standing. My family was gathered in the living room watching the news reports about the tornado. You couldn’t believe it when your college roommate’s family was being interviewed because their house had been destroyed. It was probably during a commercial break that we said “We’re engaged!” I don’t really remember.
The preacher told us at the wedding rehearsal to look at each other and not at him when we said our vows. Why would I want to look at him when I could be looking into your eyes? I remember your eyes as I said my vows to you. My knees were shaking but not because I wasn’t sure you were the one. I’d never been so sure of anything in my whole life. Yes these are the eyes I want to look at for the rest of my life. This is the man I want to spend my life with.
We agreed that we would wait 3 years before starting our family. Those 3 years went by faster than we expected them to. You suggested we wait 3 more. Ok. Why not? I’m only 22. Let’s wait 3 more years. I remember your eyes on the day that you held Taylor in your arms for the first time. Your name was now Daddy. I remember your eyes the day you held Brynna for the first time. And I remember how big your eyes were when you glanced at the ultrasound picture that showed 2 babies instead of 1. I’ll never forget the relief in your eyes when you saw Mikayla for the first time. She was a really good size for being born at 34 weeks. And I’ll never forget the worry in your eyes when you saw Hopey for the first time. She was so much smaller than Mikayla.
Now we’ve been married 25 years. We’re so busy answering questions, refereeing quarrels, paying bills, cooking supper, washing dishes, and folding laundry, that I often forget to stop and look into your eyes. We know there’s a higher risk of divorce among special needs parents. And there are days when we understand why. But there’s one thing I can count on every single night. You will kiss me and hug me before you leave for work. I guess there’s another thing I can count on. After you leave Mikayla will ask “You kiss Daddy? You hug Daddy?” And I always say yes. It’s like she’s on a mission to make sure that we stay married. And we will.
I know your eyes are going to look very tired this Valentine’s Day. You’ll come home from work, sleep a couple of hours, and we’ll leave for church. I know you’ll be too tired to take me out for dinner. I honestly don’t care. Maybe we can just sit, hold hands, and watch a movie together. And when you fall asleep I won’t be disappointed. I’ll just be glad that we’re together. So much has changed throughout our years together. I love you even though you don’t have as much hair as you used to have. And you love me even though I have more “fluff” than I used to have. But one thing will never change. I will always love you and your beautiful eyes.