Every summer around this time our garage looks like this:
Joel is a campus minister, and many of the college students he works with live in apartments. Since most apartment leases in our town turn over in August, our phone starts ringing in late July. Would I be able to store a few boxes with you? Just until I can move into my next place.
Last summer the friend of a student we knew called us in desperation. She was leaving the country later that day and had no place to store her belongings until she came back to the university in the fall. It's just three boxes.
We never had met her before, but Joel, ever gracious, told her it wasn't a problem.
Three "boxes" turned out to be three brimming carloads. The garage was packed.
For two months, I couldn't fully open the back door to our car whenever we parked in the garage. I had to tilt Kerrington, still a newborn, at precarious angles to extract the car seat carrier. I wasn't pleased.
After a week, I complained to Joel. He nodded, and then uttered a sentence I've never forgotten. "I know it's frustrating, but we're in the business of helping people."
And just like that, I was silenced. Not scolded. Not mocked. His correction was delivered with kindness and not a trace of superiority.
I've said it before: Joel makes me a better me. As of today, he's officially been doing it for ten years.
He makes me laugh, and he helps me not to take myself so seriously. He's quick to forgive and slow to anger. After all these years, he admitted, "I still cannot figure out your method of folding towels."
Clearly, the mystique of our relationship is still vibrant.
Although I don't feel older (not much, anyway), the first thing I notice when I look at our wedding photos is how young we both looked a decade ago. When we celebrate our 20th anniversary ten years from now, I imagine that I'll regard the pictures from this anniversary with the same sentiment: my, how young we were then.
And, Joel, just so you know, I love growing older with you every single day. The best is yet to come.