Today, Jordan and I celebrate nine incredible years of marriage. Nine years ago, if you would have told me that our marriage was going to endure eating disorder treatment, job shifts, multi-state moves, premature birth and cancer, my jaw would have dropped, I would have taken an extra swig of champagne and continued down that aisle to my love.
After everything we have been through, the one day that keeps playing over in my head is not our wedding day. It is May 27, 2015, the day our daughter was diagnosed with cancer. It was the best-worst day of our marriage.
Jordan and I have had more laughs than any one person can count and so many wonderful memories, but those days aren’t burned in my memory like those not so great days. What I have come to understand and embrace, is that those horrible days, the days we wish we could erase are some of our best days. Wednesday, May 27, 2015, was our worst nightmare and yet I look back at it with such wonder and awe.
I vividly remember sitting in the pleather rocking chair. The room was silent, Jordan stretched out on the pleather couch beside me. He was perfectly still, hands draped across his stomach. I watched his chest rise and fall with each breath. He said nothing. He did not move, which if you know my Jordan that is very, very, very rare. I kept wishing for him to get up, to make me laugh, to say something, anything.
We were waiting for results, waiting (and praying) for good news. That it was all a mistake and we could go home. We waited. Our eyes silently shifted from the clock on the wall to the picture of a creepy, beady eyed baby bear on the opposite wall with a sign beneath it proclaiming, the weight of baby bears.
After many hours, Jordan finally broke the silence and said, “I f-ing hate baby bears.”
I fell out laughing and snorted through my tears. That was the Jordan I was waiting for. I needed him to make me laugh, to make my hurt go away. I needed that man who had stuck by my side all those years to tell me it would all be just fine in his overly optimistic tone.
Jordan jumped off the couch and began to move the massive folded cot that sat awkwardly in the middle of the room. He declared its move because he was going to jump, hug and dance when they came in to give us the good news that she was fine. I smiled at him, but knew in my heart the news was going to be different. It was all taking too long.
After his cot moving proclamation, Jordan sat next to me and held my hand. “What’s your favorite day and memory of us?”
His question did not surprise me, this was my Jordan. Always distracting, always smiling. We sat side by side, recounting old memories and cracking up at our younger selves: the late nights setting up the Grove tent in my Twinkie boxers, the time we surprised my parents dressed as 101 Dalmatians, the summer we lived out of his car and I caddied for him…so many memories. We laughed and laughed.
Then we talked about the not so great memories: the day he decided to quit professional golf, the morning he dropped me at the airport to go to treatment, the day Marjorie was born and the weeks/months following.
I looked at him and said, “Do you know what my favorite day is?”
“What?” He replied, expecting a drunken college memory.
“Today. This day is my favorite memory. I have never felt closer or more connected.”
He smiled and we were silent again. The doctor and nurse came in shortly after and gave us the news. There was no dancing or hugging. Our silence was finally broken with bellowing sobs.
Today, as Jordan and I woke up and bustled to get the kids dressed and everyone fed, we smiled at each other.
“Nine years, babe! Nine. Years.” He then proceeded to slap me on my behind as he grabbed Manning and headed out the door.
Nine years, I thought. Nine years and my favorite moment still was that day in May. The best-worst day. It is my favorite because it is us. It is our story and how we endured (and continue to endure) the unimaginable. We do it with laughter, in silence, in tears and in my favorite emotion – laughter through tears.
No one on this planet can make me laugh like my Jordan. He is far from perfect, but so am I. What he lacks in planning and details (and closet organization), he makes up for in joy and an unbreakable love for his family. His love for our children (four legged included) and me is bigger than this universe times ten.
May 27, 2015, will forever be our best-worst day together. I can’t think of a more intimate moment than waiting through that day together. Our marriage is not defined by fancy trips or diamond rings (I mean, I won’t turn those down if they are offered). Our nine years (and counting) are colored with equal parts joy and sorrow. Our story is about not just surviving, but thriving through life’s most difficult days – and doing it together. There is only one person on this planet that I could have endured that day with and his name is Jordan Dempsey. I am proud to be his wife and his best friend.
Happy Anniversary to the love of my life. Nine years and counting. Thanks for taking the good and the bad with me and making me laugh along the way. I love doing life with you. Forever and always. Moon and back. All my love.