They pulled up to the small, Middleton Municipal Airport just after we arrived ourselves. When they got out of the car, I could tell that she hadn’t yet told him what was in store for the next couple of hours. He smiled at me + said “hello” with that “I-don’t-love-getting-my-picture-taken-but-I’m-doing-this-with-love-for-my-wife” kind of smile : ) You know what I’m talking about. They are celebrating ten years together in December + all he knew was that she wanted some photos to document it + he loves airplanes, so the airport was fitting : )
I tried to keep my mouth shut, shook his hand (probably kind of awkwardly) + we started walking towards the entrance to the airport. That’s when she said, “Brett —” and he turned around to look at her walking a step or two behind him. “Today isn’t about us getting our pictures taken … you’re actually going to fly today.” A celebration of an extremely hard-working husband + father, a lifelong dream of his come true.
1. Where do you two live + what is one of your favorite things about your city?
We live in Dodgeville, a rural town west of Madison, WI … it’s in the middle of the Driftless region, which is what I love most about the area. I grew up a Southern girl, born + raised in the south. I didn’t like living in Wisconsin at first, but its more than grown on me over the years. We may not have a 5-star restaurant on every corner, but we have amazing views + outdoor activities completely surrounding us — I hope I never have to leave the home I’ve come to love!
2. How did you two meet + how long have you been married?
We met through mutual friends while Brett was in the Marine Corps. Our relationship was long distance in the very beginning between Texas (where I lived) + California (where Brett was stationed). Shortly after we met, we spent seven months further apart with Brett in Iraq. War has a funny way of making you re-evaluate your life + how you want to live it — Brett proposed during our first Marine Corps Ball together + we were married shortly after … ten years ago!
3. What has been a day-to-day challenge of marriage that you weren’t necessarily expecting? How do you battle that challenge?
OK, let’s get real! Brett plays a lot of video games + if they had a slightly water-downed version of Hoarders, I would be cast in a heartbeat. We drive each other crazy with our flaws + I’d be lying if I said these things don’t cause arguments between the two of us. But we’re human — we can’t be perfect. We both realize the flaw in the other person isn’t the end of the world + we compromise because the things that really matter, that keep a family going, are not sacrificed by letting the other person just be them.
4. What is one of your favorite things about marriage? What do you love about it?!
We were practically still children when we got married! … Naïve, foolish, doe-eyed children! Although it means we dealt with a barrage of “You’re so young!” comments + “Why can’t you just date awhile?!” questions, it also means a third of our lives, + most of our memories, have taken place with the other person. Another ten years + we’ll be able to say we’ve been together longer than we’ve been apart — and we’ll still just be working our way to the top of the hill! Not many people make it to a decade of marriage these days, especially those who get married at 20 years old. I’m proud of the work we’ve put into our marriage + am happy of all the experiences we’ve been able to go through together.
5. What is the hardest thing (or one of) that you have experienced in your marriage? How did you overcome this trial + how has it helped you grow/flourish as a couple?
My first thought was the deployments to Iraq, but we (mostly I) were young + optimistic (aka, naïve to the real gravity of the situation), I wrote him a letter every day he was away which helped me feel like he wasn’t so far + reminded him I was still waiting at home. It was hard to go through, especially at 19/20 years old, but it wasn’t the hardest …
Both of our children were born early (at 33 weeks + 26 weeks) after difficult pregnancies + loss. As any parent knows, when it involves your children, everything about your world changes. Instead of giving in to the situation we had each other to lean on when things got bad — we cried together, we complained together, we questioned together — everything we did was together. When we became parents we transformed from a couple living each day as it came to a team working toward the same goal of giving our children the best life possible — and we knew not to take any moment with them for granted. Over the years we’ve had disagreements just like anyone else, but at the end of the day, we remember what is important to us because we know how precious + fragile it all is, + we know how lucky we are to have it.
Off they go!! Caleb got to ride along to take photos from inside the plane!!
In the air!!!!!
Happy, happy, happy 10 years, you two!! Here’s to 10 times more … : )
AND, just for fun, Christen sent these two images to me + I had to share — a photo from when Brett proposed + a photo from their wedding : )