Valentine's Day isn't just another romantic holiday for Ken and me; it's also an important anniversary.
Valentine's Day 15 years ago, Ken took me out on a picnic by a pond in Choctaw, Oklahoma. He had prepared a nice spread of fruits, cheese, and crackers. I remember thinking he seemed a little nervous, but did NOT have him proposing on my radar. We had only been dating for about 6 weeks.
At the time, Ken and I both had one-way Motorola pagers. Before going out, Ken had programmed his computer to send messages to my pager at certain times. (Yep. He's always been a geek. It's one of the things I love about him.)
To make a long story short, the third romantic message included a marriage proposal. When I looked up from my pager, he was there with the ring box open. Much to the surprise of our friends, I said yes! (They were only surprised because of the short time we had been dating.)
After an 11-month engagement, we were married on January 4, 1997.
I've tried before to put into words the ways I'm grateful for Ken, but nothing I write seems to cut it, including what I wrote here. There are reasons so deep and so personal, I can't share them on a public blog. After 14 years of marriage, he's come through for me in ways to numerous to count, so I will just list a few:
- Ken is a Family Man
Ken is a family man. There is not one day I doubt his love and commitment to me and to the kids. He (and I, too) has days when he's tired or overwhelmed, but when it comes to acting in the best interest of his family, that's what he does. He works hard to provide a setting where I can stay home and teach the kids. He encourages me when I'm feeling worn out from the task. He loves us.
- Ken is a Man of Character
Ken makes choices in his daily life that reflect his strong character and protect his family. I've seen for myself, but more importantly to me, I've heard it from others who are around him on business trips. He protects the reputation of our family by making wise decisions, being mature, and being a MAN who sticks with what he knows is right.
- Ken is a Maverick
A government co-worker back in the law enforcement days gave Ken this title. She meant it to be derogatory, but it's one of the things I love about him. He fights "the system" when he's passionate about something. He's not scared to make a fuss over something he believes in.
- Ken is True
This is the best way I know to describe his forgiveness and commitment to our marriage. I can't put any measure of value on this one. Ken's commitment isn't just to "stick it out" with me, but for us to get better by the year.
- Ken is Handsome
Let's just face it. He's nice to look at. That's always a bonus.
15 years ago, on the edge of that pond in Choctaw, I would have never imagined us where we are now. Having gone through all that we have, now here in Dallas with three kids born into our family and two in China waiting for their Brownie "birthdays". We have a good number of years behind us, but what an adventure of years ahead!
Here's to 70 more Valentine's Days together. Ken, you are the one and only love of my life and will always be.