Happy 17th Anniversay, Mr. Conlee

Every year feels like more of an accomplishment. 

We nearly broke our engagement off over a game of Monopoly gone awry. So funny to me until I think of what we could’ve missed out on. So young & dumb. Had we realized how high the stakes were, I wouldn’t have been so dumb and you wouldn’t have been a jerk. 

Year 1 was hard. Sorry that I threatened to throw your laundry over the balcony of our apartment & into the parking lot. I’m so thankful for those rules for fighting we established in those early months of our marriage. 

Years 2-5 flew by. In ministry. Out of ministry. Depression. Purchase of first house. Talk of children. 

Years 5-9 went by even quicker. Back into ministry. Selling our first home to purchase the big dream home that we hoped to fill with children.

Years 10-13 I often see in my mind as a movie of someone else’s life because – I was not me. There was crisis in our family that affected us deeply. There was the devastating news of infertility. And we lost that dream house along with that dream of filling it with children. To top it off, I told you on my 32nd birthday that I was an actor & I shortly set off on a program that took me to LA & away from you & our problems. If I had 1 do-over, it would be to not have done that without your blessing. I abandoned you – but you fought for me. You fought for us. I’m grateful every day. 

Year 14 will forever be one of my favorites. We decided it was best for our marriage that we not work together at the church any more & for the first time in my life – I quit a job without having one to go to. I was unemployed, landed a job, got let go & was unemployed for 6 months. The silver lining was that it coincided with your 6 week sabbatical plus 2 weeks vacation – giving us 2 whole months together. We saw Napa & visited family. We saw snowy Lake Tahoe. Walking on that frozen lake freaked me out. Then, you took me to Paris. It was the best trip I’ve ever been on. I’ll never forget kissing you under the Eiffel Tower while its lights glimmered in the night sky. 

Year 15 started on a high note after celebrating Christmas in Paris. We were hopeful for that year ahead. We were going to see if anything high tech could be done to help us have a family of our own. Little did we know that one week before Mother’s Day, we would be bringing home our precious twin boys. A month later, you were leading a Mission’s trip to Cambodia & I could tell it tore you up. But we got thru it with lots of FaceTime calls & videos you’d send the boys. They loved “daddy tv”. Except for the one where you were having a “Doctor fish” pedicure & said “fishies are eating my feet”. Poor Wyatt walked around even weeks after your trip asking you, “daddy feet ok?”. Levi true to form loved the video of you on the elephant because of his adventurous spirit. We also moved into a house we lived with my dad in 12 years earlier, giving us much needed space & a strange sense of deja vu. 

Year 16 we have found our rhythm as a family. We saw our boys grow 3 shoe sizes, get potty trained, go from cribs to big boy beds, sleeping thru the night finally, from daycare to preschool. Our love has turned into this deeper partnership built on mutual respect & admiration. Love takes on new meaning. 

Here we are, on the cliffs of year 17. I’m ready to jump with you. No matter what our future holds, I am ALL IN. And as much as I love our life & our boys, I know there’s life after they leave home. You, me & God. Everything we need is right here. 


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