|Aaron & I 2010|
You may be looking at the above photo and thinking, "Wait a minute! I thought he was paralyzed and in a wheelchair." We'll he is, but if you look carefully you'll see that he's leaning against the mantel, holding on to me and my arms are wrapped around him for stability. With Aaron's leg spasms, he can use them to his advantage on occassion. In this case, his legs are locked and he's holding on. It's not very often that I get to hold him in a standing position, but when I do, I relish it.
I'll never forget the day I laid eyes on him. My college roomie had a friend that was coming to visit and she said that he might bring a friend. I really didn't pay much attention, because I had a lot going on that day. So, I went about my normal routine, got home, took a shower and was getting dressed when I heard the doorbell ring. I went to the peephole and looked through to see 2 young military men in BDU's. I didn't grow up near a military base or honestly pay much attention to anything military related, but I was paying attention now!
They were both standing tall and proud, even though they didn't know I was on the other side of the door. I stood there looking through the peephole for a good minute, because I was admiring the young man with the blonde hair and blue eyes and thinking there was no way I was going to answer the door when I wasn't presentable! Besides, they didn't know I was home, so they would come back later. This would give me a chance to look my best.
When they did finally come back, I met Aaron and was instantly infatuated. I'll admit it was chemistry at first, but that turned into admiration and then love. His eyes light up his face when he smiles, he is masculine yet compassionate, protective of anyone he cares about, strong in spirit and body, courageous and a fighter when it comes to something he believes in.
We were married 6/6/1993 and I still remember that day clearly. We had a small, backyard wedding at his aunt's house and her garden had beautiful roses along the back fence. While I was getting into my wedding dress and makeup, I looked out of the bedroom window and watched Aaron help set up in the backyard. I remember feeling so lucky.
Even today, as we near our 19 year anniversary, I still feel lucky. I won't say that it's been easy and certainly with Aaron's injury the road has been extremely bumpy. Experiencing a life changing event, makes you either give up or wake up. We both chose to wake up and become one team. We both have days where we become frustrated or impatient with one another, but we choose not to focus on those moments. They are fleeting and not relevant in the big scheme of things. The important thing is to remember that our time here on Earth is not guaranteed and we need to make the most of it.
I will close with a comment that a neighbor said to me one day. I was struggling with our life after Aaron's injury and didn't know if I could do it for the long haul. I was still angry, feeling sorry for myself and wanted our old "pre-injury" life back. I'm paraphrasing what she said, but it went something like this, "You can walk away, which would be easier and start a new life or you stay with him. If you stay, it will be a harder life, but one day when you're old you'll look back and know you did the right thing."
I did choose to stay and now I get to look forward to becoming that old lady with lots of great memories. I look forward to sharing them with you.