11 years. We were just babies. Taking our first steps out into the world. Not even really knowing who we were or where we would end up. But we were madly in love. So we took a leap and we held on tight.

You joined the Marines. I went to Nursing school. Long distance. A deployment. It was hard. But we stuck it out.

We moved to Bloomington. We got Zeus. We got married. Moved back to Peoria and in with my parents. Went through the loss of friends, grandparents, loved ones, but most importantly we went through the loss of our first son Henry. And we were devastated. Heart broken. Defeated. Broken. At rock bottom. Some people said our relationship would never make it through. That we had reached our breaking point. But they were wrong. And we continue to prove them wrong. We chose to be broken together. We held on to each other on the days we were drowning. Through the tears, the PTSD, the nightmares, the questions, the pain, we had each other. Hoping and praying brighter days were coming.

We bought a house. Started a new life in a new town. You becoming a police officer. Me graduating nursing school. New jobs. New friends. We were making a life for ourselves. Bettering our selves. Realizing who exactly we were and what we were meant to do. And than Wally came along.

Our sweet, feisty, stubborn, full of personality Wally. Even though he was fussy. Never slept. And we had no idea what we were doing, love and admiration for him was spewing from both of us. And than he got sick. We held on to each other. And we got the Barth diagnosis. We again held tight to each other. And we thought “here we go again rock bottom.” But little did we know we weren’t quite there yet.

This year. Our tenth going in to our eleventh year together has been hands down the hardest year of our relationship. Wally getting sick…. We almost loss another son. When I think about how close we were to picking out another headstone, my stomach flips. My heart races, and tears fill my eyes. But because of a generous family and a wonderful team of medical professionals, a heart transplant saved our son. The recovery. The separation with me in Chicago. You at home. The money we don’t have. The anxiety. The worrying. The lashing out. On top of that, losing another good friend. It hasn’t been easy. But we’ve stock it out.

We’ve been through more than our share of crap. More than one person deserves that’s for sure. But we do it together. We hold on to each other. We practice patience and understanding. Because even though we are going through the same stuff, we aren’t the same person, and we deal with things differently. We’re constantly learning and reevaluating. We’re a team. A damn good team. A team I’m proud of.

Our relationship has been shoved to the side too many times to count through out these past 11 years. But one thing that has never been shoved to the side is my love for you. I may not always show it. I may not always say it… but it’s there. Every single day that love is there.

And through all the bad…. we’ve also had a lot of good. Your stupid jokes that are so stupid but make me laugh anyways. The trips. The bantering. The bickering. The time spent with family. The accomplishments and achievements. You becoming a father and me a mother. The creation of two beautiful children. My favorite thing in the whole entire world is to watch you with Wally. You are hands down the best father. And I hope you will always know that.

We’ve built a life, my love. A life that comes with hills and valleys and unexpected storms. A beautiful, loving, messy, insanely chaotic life. I am confident that as long as I have you by my side, I can weather any storm they comes our way. Is it perfect? Not a chance in hell. Do we still have a lot to learn? Absolutely. But we’ll do it together. Just like the past 11 years. Side by side. Hand in hand. Loving each other through it.

Happy Anniversary 💕💕

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