Monday, June 9, 2014

This is for you, Dan: Happy 13th Anniversary!

Today marks 13 years since I married Daniel James Krube. It's not an especially significant number but it's still special to us.

 [Our wedding and a snapshot from our honeymoon-of-sorts.]

I was hardly 16 when I met Dan. June 11th, 2000. It was my first day at my first job. I told the manager I could start work the very next day after turning in my application, but I had to babysit first. It was my parents' anniversary and I had to watch my siblings.

Dan was the Assistant Manager at Subway and was the one to train me in that first night. He was goofy and fun yet hardworking and authoritative. And there was NO WAY I was planning on dating him. Are you ready for the twist?!

HE didn't want to date ME. Not until I was less of a "party girl." No lie. He wanted me to have only one boyfriend; what kind of madness is that?! I wasn't "up to his standards." This boy saved my life (God played a large part, I'm sure.) A girl can't help but fall in love with Dan. I worked so hard for that first kiss - something I had never had trouble with before (insert red cheeks here).

We were married less than one year later - June 9, 2001. Yes, I was in high school and Yes, I was very pregnant. {It is important for me to note that we both repented and renewed our relationships with the Lord later.} And no, getting married in high school is NOT easy. That's probably a good thing. :)

[Here's something that made me feel old: a POLAROID of our first Christmas together.]

One thing I remember my parents telling me before the wedding was that "There's no way out, so work it out." I love this because at 17 one knows very little about relationships, love, compromise, or marriage. It was something I clung to in the beginning before I understood all that God had to say about marriage.

His Word has given us everything we need to know about having a Christ-centered marriage. When we lived in accordance to His guidance in marriage, ours was blessed. How else do two young people grow together and not apart as they grow older (and, hopefully, wiser and better)?! Prayer, respect, and laughter are essential.

To my husband, who works so hard, who has always done what he must to provide for us - I appreciate you. To the man who takes my breath away - I think you're sexy. To the man who prays with me for our children, home, finances, relationships, health, and ministry - I respect you & love that you are a man of faith.

To the man who gives me shots in the belly every day during pregnancy and tells me I'm beautiful after witnessing my "morning" sickness - there is no one I'd rather build a family with. To the man who (pretends) to listen to my crazy ideas and tolerates my dramatic rants - I love you. I love the man you are - even more today than ever before.

Thank you for the sacrifices you've made to put us first. For the pain you've endured in a physically taxing job to provide for us financially. For the trust you place in God with the future of our family. Thank you for loving me - I know I don't make that an easy job!

[In the hospital, Day 2, waiting for Julia to arrive. We didn't know the gender at the time and I was only 33 weeks along. We had been married less than a month.]

Thank you to the Lord for blessing us greatly, bringing us into each other's lives, and carrying us through so many changes and trials in our short time together. We've survived:

-Teen pregnancy - teen marriage - and teen parenting
-Losing many friends and the future we had planned since childhood (college, career, money, travel the world, THEN get married and maybe have a few babies at some point - I'm glad that future changed and that THIS is my reality.)
-Preterm delivery, a NICU baby born not breathing, and the medical bills that come with a 2 week hospital stay
-The stress of a newborn colicky baby and the shock of being parents while we were still kids ourselves (followed by 3 more newborns and the mixture of joy, hormones, and exhaustion that go along)
-Financial woes - there has been almost no point we have not lived paycheck to paycheck with fear of how we will pay the mortgage or buy diapers
-Endless car repairs and broken appliances
-Dropping out of high school (me) and putting aside college plans (both)
-Working opposite shifts, overnight shifts, 80-hour work weeks, stressful jobs, low paying jobs, jobs we hated, minimal pay increases (we barely make more now than in our first couple years of marriage) with little hope for change ever, and unemployment
-Years of college, full time work, and parenting autistic children coinciding
-A second premature baby, 9 weeks of bedrest, hospital visits, shots & meds, and tons of vomiting (me)
-2 more babies - 37 and 38 weeks but only after a combined 11 months of bedrest and even more vomiting, shots, meds, and doctor appointments
-At this time of writing this: 6 miscarriages, a stillborn, an ectopic, and a vanishing twin (9 babies in Heaven)
-The birth and death of our daughter - holding her in our arms and going home without her - and then speaking at her funeral and comforting our living children who were devastated and confused
-Bankruptcy, almost-foreclosure-now-a-short-sale, and massive, HUGE, insane volumes of medical costs
-Post partum depression, general major depressive disorder, cutting, multiple suicide attempts, eating disorders, and trauma from childhood rape and struggles in relationship with parents (all me, he stood by and held me together)
-Chronic pain and illness - endometriosis, IBS, back pain, arthritis, etc. plus the numerous surgeries that have gone along with this (we share the burden on this one)
-4 amazing children that bring joy to our lives daily -- and that have extensive medical and behavioral needs
-Autism, ADHD, heart defects, siezures, learning and developmental delays and disabilities, partial deafness, and so on. Caring for children who need extra help and have lots of doctor appointments is not only expensive and time consuming but physically, spiritually, and emotionally taxing.
-Living in nasty apartments that were broken into often and a house that is falling apart (and losing said house that we love and is a large part of our lives -- especially after so many childhood moves).
-Times where we have been at different places in our spiritual walks
-Endless arguments about chores/cleaning/lawn work/parenting/diaper duty
-Chronic sleep loss, weight gain, and high stess
-Endless hospital stays, ER visits, specialist visits, a broken arm and a severed fingernail
-Lots and lots of poop to clean up :)

I'm thankful God gave me you. The man who knows me and loves me anyway. The one with whom arduous tasks become fun and ordinary life is made more exciting simply because I live it with you.

[Our first Thanksgiving as husband and wife - with 5 month old Julia]

[My Senior Prom. Technically I no longer attended Anoka High School anymore and was completing my final year online so we weren't able to buy tickets and actually go TO the prom. But we did get a sitter and enjoy the limo while our friends were at the dance.]
[The first 8 years, when there were more girls than boys in our house! Now it's even - 3 and 3!]

 [My last pregnant photo with Bentlee when I was 4 months along, on a vacation to North Dakota followed by us at Bentlee's birth/death.]

 [I do love this photo. I love his smile. I love that we took the time to celebrate US in a photo shoot intended for the kids. I so love wrapping my arms around his neck and looking up at him. It makes my heart leap a little!]
 [A photo that totally captures our family dynamic so perfectly. Thanks Meagan!]

[This is us now, selfie-style. I'd go anywhere with you, Babe.]