The other day I was thinking about the day that Naaman and I moved into our very first apartment together. It was a small one bedroom. Maybe 700 square feet? It had beautiful bay windows and we were on the second floor but on a hill so it seemed that we were sitting up in the trees. We could look out and see the downtown Kansas City skyline.
I was so excited on that day. I felt like we were finally moving forward. Our rent was $500 a month and gosh, that seemed like such a stretch as I worked at my first real job at a non-profit, making an entry-level salary. It was a risk. We weren’t engaged or married at the time. I knew we loved each other and I knew that I wanted to marry him someday but that love was still fairly new. He had already promised me that he would marry me numerous times before we signed the lease. He just didn’t have any money to buy me a ring and he wanted to wait until we were in a better place financially.
The apartment wasn’t luxurious by any means. It didn’t boast granite counter tops or a walk-in shower or hardwood floors. It was simple but tasteful. We bought our first furniture together and often plopped down on the couch together after a long day of work and school.
And when our first Christmas in our new apartment came we went and bought a small Christmas tree. We set it up in the window and I lovingly placed our new ornaments on it. I was excited that you could see it from the street. I will always remember looking up while driving home and seeing our little lit tree.
I remember the night when Naaman came home before Christmas with a sack full of new toys.
“What are these for?” I asked confused.
“The radio station I listen to is doing a toy drive for kids. I don’t like thinking about kids not getting anything for Christmas.”
And that’s when I knew. I knew right at that moment that I would marry him and that I would love him for the rest of my life. Maybe I had been unsure up until that point but suddenly it was very clear to me. In all our vulnerability and youthful ignorance and uncertainty, I knew. He was the one.
Now there is a ring on my finger and seven years of marriage have passed in what seems like a blur. There is a bigger house. There are bigger cars. There are two beautiful sons and a daughter on the way. Sometimes I can’t believe what we have created with our love in these seven years. It has been wonderful. More than I ever could have imagined.
But I will always remember our tiny first apartment. The one where we decided we didn’t have to make the bed if we didn’t want to. The one where I burned a meatloaf while making a congratulatory dinner when Naaman got into nursing school. The one where we discovered each other’s faults and decided, hey, you’re still the one even if you’re not perfect.
That apartment . . . it certainly wasn’t much. But it was a start. Our start. I’m so grateful for where we were and how far we’ve come. Side by side.
Happy seven years, my love.