Wow. Twenty years. Some days drag on, and some years feel like an eternity (2020), but when you look back, there is a sense of awe at how quickly time passes as we grow older. Michael is my best friend. We met in 2000, right after he ended a serious long-term relationship, and I was heartbroken. The timing wasn’t right. But, I was always drawn to him. Happy 20th wedding anniversary my love.
How we met
Our mutual friend, Rob, introduced us when Michael came to a party at our house. We share a love for live music. He has the most incredibly strong calf muscles. He was a 28-year-old attorney in Litte Rock, and I was a 23-year-old grad student working on my Master’s in Psychology. For a year, we were “just friends” and we dated other people. But, we always found each other at parties. He loved the way I massaged his shoulders and now his feet most nights.
I loved the way he looked at me and made me feel special. We always had a connection. Then one day in February of 2001, we were both single and at a party. He needed to run to his house and get something and asked if I wanted to ride along. I said sure, and we went back to his house and made out for like 3 hours. He is the BEST kisser in the world! And I kissed my share of toads before I found my prince. I remember telling my best friend, Shana, that he is the only guy on the planet who can handle me and put up with my quirks.
We dated from February 2001 to May 2001. Then Michael asked me to be his wife. There was no fancy proposal. If you know Michael, you know he can’t keep a secret for long. He just gets too excited and wants to share the news. I think he had the ring about a day before giving it to me. LOL
We were married in his parent’s backyard in RidgePointe on September 1, 2001. It was simple, sweet, and perfect for us. Our dog, Abby, was there, along with about 100 of our closest friends and family. I wanted to walk to him barefoot and in love. That’s exactly what I did. It was perfect. Now here we are, 20 years later. We have four exceptional children and have loved three dogs, but only one is still with us, Stella, our 2yo rescue. We have lived in our home for 19 of those years, and I’m excited to say we get new carpet, and the inside of the house painted as our anniversary present! Yay!
There have been challenging times in our marriage. I have questioned if we were meant to grow old together. I don’t think there is a marriage out there that didn’t struggle at some point. But, the bottom line is that we love each other even when we are mad or don’t agree. We want to be an intact family for our children. I grew up in a broken home, and it was awful. I want stability for my kids and to die of old age married to Michael.
Moved to Jonesboro and Started Crawley Law Firm
We moved to Jonesboro when Alex was born in July 2002 and started Crawley Law Firm in March of 2003. Then we partnered with another attorney in town, and it lasted about a decade. Then for a multitude of reasons, things went sideways, and it was time to split. I battle anxiety and depression, and when we suffered this loss about seven years ago, I mourned deeply and was in a state of major depression. Like stay in bed for multiple days and stared at the ceiling, crying, and wondering why kind of depression. The kind that isn’t “just in your head”; the kind where you need therapy and medication. Both of which I got down the line. I drank a little too much and wanted to party to numb the pain. It all seemed like a bad dream, but we inevitably started all over again with Crawley Law Firm in 2014.
God placed friends in my life to lift me out of my depressed state. Michael kept telling me to keep moving. Take a shower. Go get some fresh air. I met my dear friend Julie around this time, and she loved me unconditionally. She always told me that God has a bigger plan and Satan wants to destroy. She modeled for me what it is like to be a wonderful Christian wife and mother. Julie taught me about Juice Plus and keeping my family healthy. She listened while I cried about financial stress and feeling so helpless. She always advised with understanding, love, and kindness.
Weathering the Storm
I am now grateful for the experience. It created a great deal of stress and unease in my life, but it was okay in the big scheme of things. Not ideal, but okay. Sometimes life doesn’t play out as you expect, but I believe God gives us the strength and the people we need to get through today. Just keep your eyes on the light and not the dark and have faith in it all working out, whether you can see how right now or not.
It’s surviving the highly challenging situations in life that prepare you for what’s to come. Without them, we may take the good times for granted. Michael has always been the best guy for me. He loves Jesus; he loves me and our kiddos. This man works hard to help those suffering from financial strain at our law firm, so he can play harder with his friends and family. We travel, see live music when we can, and love taking our children on trips and adventures.
When the pandemic in March of 2020 was thrown our way, I was on the verge of major depression. Julie organized a book study during the lockdown. There were about 15 women who met daily via zoom to discuss: 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life by Tommy Newberry. I highly recommend the book to be read annually. It changed me and my outlook on life. It reminded me that we choose our thoughts, our actions, and our responses to stimuli. We are in more control than we realize.
I was worried about how it would all work out. Would the kids stay home in the fall? Are we going to lose our business? Would we have food? Will this virus kill people we love? Is this bug going to kill us? It has been an extremely challenging year and a half for so many. I chose to go with the flow. I decided to let go and let God. Every time I shared my concerns with Michael, he assured me it would be okay. Even if we lost the business, our house, our cars, he kept the faith it would work out in some way we can’t see yet.
Some other dear friends started a message thread when the pandemic began. Sarah, Beth H., Rachel, Danielle, and Beth B. have been my saving grace. We have shared meals, swim time, all the good and bad experiences with each other. Just knowing people are there that “get you” and love you regardless of your flaws is priceless. Lauren, Shana, and their husbands have been there for me too. I am super-sized blessed by the friendships I have created in Jonesboro over the last 19 years.
Michael is my Rock
Michael is my rock. He is always there when I need him. He constantly supports me and my crazy ideas, like writing my first fiction novel that will be out in the Spring of 2022. I would not be who I am today without his love and advice. When I found I was pregnant at 40yo and was literally beside myself in shock, he told me that I willed this baby into existence. I always said if someone dropped a baby boy off at my doorstep, I would take him!
I wanted a raise a boy and a girl but after 3 girls we decided our family was complete and I had a surgical procedure to prevent pregnancy. Well, that failed. I don’t do well pregnant. Lots of vomiting and exhaustion. But, we are a team and we do things together. Michael always has my back and he’s rarely wrong, which is annoying, but I tell my girls to marry a man more intelligent than them. It is boring to the smartest person in the room. LOL
I say all this to assure you we all have issues. We are all struggling in some way that may not be visible to the naked eye. I told my 19yo, Alex, the other day that emotional pain can be as severe as physical pain, but you can’t see it. There are millions of people hurting inside, and no one knows about it. I have struggled and learned from the lessons and pain I’ve endured. Now I teach my children what I’ve learned and share on my blog, with hopes that I can educate others.
A big part of growing up is learning and accepting you are. Becoming the best version of yourself, coping with change as it arrives, and taking life as it is not how we want it to be. I highly recommend finding your person and holding on tight. It is ok to make mistakes along the way. It is not okay to dwell on those mistakes. Those choices do not define you. What defines you is how you choose to move forward from here. You learned the lesson; now teach it to your kids and friends. We are not on this planet alone; we have each other.
Happy 20th wedding anniversary to the man I choose to spend the rest of my life with. To the man who is the best father to our babies and the best boss. I love you always and forever.