The last few days I have been reflecting on how far as a couple and as a family we have come in our almost 5 years of marriage.
Looking back I love how much of a foundation that Matt and I had built up as a couple before we even really got “serious”. For those of you that don’t know our story, we started out just as friends and hung out all the time as a big group. I loved being around him. He was such a energetic, strong and stable man and when he even would acknowledged my presence I would feel giddy. I fell in love with him from literally the moment he walked into our church and than had to wait around for him to 1. realize I was interested and 2. become a Christan. The latter happened first. I remember the weekend it happened, we were all on a fasting trip up in the mountains and all my friends and I were in the hot tub when Matt and a couple of the male leaders came around the corner after a long hike in the woods where not only did Matt accept Christ, but so did another boy. I remember feeling so joyous in that moment. The man I loved had just accepted Jesus. My heart just soared.
My knight in shining armor
It was love at first sight
Than I waited another year until he finally figured out that I was interested in more than just being a friend. This was after countless days of us just sitting in our cars facing each other talking till it was way past curfew. I knew everything about him. He was my best friend, the love of my life and I just wanted him to acknowledge the connection between us. When he finally did ask me out (in not the most articulate way, by the way, I had to ask him if he was asking me out haha) I felt like I was on top of the world. It was seriously the greatest moment in my young life.
Before our first homecoming together
Our first dance
That was the moment when we started “dating”. I put it in quotation marks because I think of it as more of a courtship. He had told me in one of our many late night discussions that he wasn’t going to date a girl unless he felt like he could marry her, and that was why he had never dated in High school up to that point. So for him to ask me out was huge. I knew I was special and it made my heart soar. I was Matthew Berry’s one and only girlfriend. Talk about making a girl’s dreams come true. (Because literally he was my dream come true since the moment I set my eyes on him 2 years before)
Our courtship was devastatingly slow. Looking back on it I’m so happy with how slow we moved because we really knew each other before anything more physical came into our relationship. He didn’t hold my hand for 6 months, didn’t kiss me for 7 months, and it took him 3 YEARS for us to even make the jump to making out. haha When I said slow, I meant it. We were engaged to be married by that point. Yes, you just read that right. We didn’t’ even make out till we were engaged to be married.
At this point we had already been through our first trial of our relationship. Matt had left for basic, gone to tech school and we had one of our first fights through letters and texts. Talk about a trial. We couldn’t even address the issue till he was in Tech school and had access to his own cell phone again. Than it was nightly conversations till we had everything leveled out again. I wouldn’t change that time though, we grew so much as a couple.
First time seeing each other after Basic
Than he moved to Mt. home to be close to me and we got married that December.
Our wedding was everything I imagined it would be and more. That day literally couldn’t have been more perfect, I was in heaven. Than our beautiful honeymoon up on the border of Canada and Washington. A full week of walking the beach, relaxing together, eating smoked salmon, brie and bread, and just getting to know each other on a more deep level. We were in bliss.
Together on our honeymoon
Jump forward 6 months and we had our first deployment together. That was one of the hardest moments of my life. Still considered a newlywed and having to say goodbye to the man I loved so deeply. I cried for days and than learned to get back up and live life without him. Those 7 months were the biggest trial of our marriage, I had no friends on base, I was traveling to and from Mt. home to my school in Nampa, it felt like I was all alone in this deployment. My only joy came from the time I got to talk to him via skype and emails. We fought through emails, we learned to forgive through skype, we learned that our love could handle this and grow. I found friends that understood what I was going through, I found a rhythm to live that fulfilled me and made me know that I could live this life. I was strong enough to be a military wife, I could do this and thrive. It was a profound learning experience for both of us in our own lives and the life we had together.
He returned home and we had to relearn how to be together. It wasn’t easy, but we came out of it stronger than before. We than decided it was time to start trying for a child. We were so excited.
Than the cycle of waiting happened. No one but my mother and Mother in law knew what was going on, but we struggled with infertility.
Month after month of negative pregnancy tests where I felt like I was dying and failing at life each time.
I joined a swim team randomly because of a email I received about a spouse wanting to start a team. I responded and that started the connection I needed just at that moment. Her husband was the fertility expert on base and I didn’t know it than but it was an answer to my desperate prayers each month. Over a dinner conversation Darren asked us if we were trying to start to have a family soon. At this point we had been trying for 9 agonizing months. We joked about it and he casually told us that if we needed help he was there and to give his office a call if we hit the year mark of no success. I took the information and just stored it away in my mind. I had hit the hopeless point.
Our little swim team
Than the year mark hit and I remembered what he had said. At this point I adored his whole family and the swim team was starting to form and we were all super excited about the future of the team. I trusted him and decided to give his office a call.
On our first appointment he eased all my fears. He told me that he would have me pregnant within 6 months tops. I couldn’t believe my ears. After a year of failure it seemed to good be to true. After countless tests on Matt and I’s part he was confident that it wasn’t me and it wasn’t Matt. Just some random interference that clomid could fix. I started that month and we literally had a positive pregnancy test by month 5. Which was a blessing and mourning experience for us since I got pregnant and 5 short weeks later Matt deployed again. He missed every ultrasound, every first, and every milestone of our precious new child’s growth in my womb. He missed the 20 week ultrasound where Elenore sucked her thumb and the tech told us “its a girl!” (my mother was there for my 10 week appointment and my 20 week) and he missed when I found out I had gestational diabetes and had to fight the low and high numbers for the last 2 months of my pregnancy.
Our last day together before his 2nd deployment
But through it all I had support. I had found a group of women who became like family to me. All our men were deployed together and we spent every waking moment, it felt like, together. They joined in with our celebrations on the gender, my woes of GD, our fears and our desires while separated from our men and just were always there for each other through everything. I knew that if I went into labor early they would be at the hospital in a heartbeat to hold my hand through it all. I also had my job as a nanny for a wonderful family in Boise. I loved their dear baby boy and found friendship in his mother. All of them got me though this deployment feeling like I could do this.
8 months pregnant
Matthew got home 3 days before Elenore was born. He was sick, (had caught something in Kuwait, no idea what) and stressed, but oh so happy to have made it. Our reunion was really joyous and was even caught on camera for the local news.
Home at last
Elenore’s birth was not the best experience out there, but we were just as happy to see our baby girl. No matter how she finally made her appearance.
First moment together as father and daughter
Immediately life decided to throw some curve balls at us but we held on together made some hard decisions and moved on. Those first few months of Elenore’s life were the most joyous and stressful of our life. But we wouldn’t change a moment of it.
Than when Elle was 6 months old the military decided to throw another curve ball at us. Matt was being sent to Korea again for a few weeks and it would be the first time I was alone with our daughter for an extended amount of time. I knew I could do it and we parted ways with only a few tears. I remember congratulating myself on that. I was getting better at this! haha
I went home for a week or so to see my family and than on the way back we had another life changing moment. I wont specify as to what exactly happened since it’s so personal but it almost tore us apart as a couple and family. I ran straight to my friend whom was at my side through Matt’s whole deployment and she pulled me from the abyss that was my mind. It was OK, we would be alright. Our marriage would make it and we would pull through this. Her words were the only thing that kept me sane till Matt and I could talk face to face and get everything squared away. We struggled for months but came out on top. We still encounter the repercussions of the incident years later, but we are way stronger and know we can handle it when it rears its ugly head every few months or so.
Jump forward to now. We are now in San Angelo Texas, own our home, have another precious princess on the way and couldn’t be happier.
We have had our share of trials in Texas too, don’t get me wrong. Between encountering drama filled “friends”, to a fire in our home, to our second round of infertility trials, a miscarriage, and countless mini life altering instances that change your perspective on life, we have had our share of trial here. lol But we are truly happy. As we approach our 5 year anniversary I can’t help to think of the upcoming years. The ups, the downs, the trials, the love, the hope, the laughter, the joy, and the knowledge that I wouldn’t want to share my life with anyone else.
I love you Matthew Berry and can’t wait to celebrate our 5 year anniversary in a short month and see where this crazy life is going to take us. We have each other, our precious children, our crazy dogs and family and most importantly a God who loves us.
Here’s to the rest of life!