My wedding ring has lost its sparkle. I just looked down and noticed that the prongs that support the diamond are FULL of gunk that is an equal mixture of caulk, Benjamin Moore’s Iron Mountain exterior paint, wood particulates from sanding window trim and bits of concrete from when I was grinding off snap ties from our board-formed wall.

This is particularly symbolic since our 11th wedding anniversary is this Friday. The truth is, I never would have chosen to jump off the cliff that is this house-building adventure. It is way outside my comfort zone. WAY outside. It seemed scary and messy and so very uncertain. I was happy enough in our old 1912 house with the drafty windows and horsehair insulation and creaky floors. It was nice there! But this meadow opportunity came along, and A just couldn’t pass it up. I never said no, but I sure didn’t embrace it, not for a long time. So, fast-forward several years to today where I am picking sticky bits of construction detritus out of my ring, sitting at my desk at my real job, wishing I could be doing anything at all at the house to get it ready for us to move in. This is what happened in the interim: a whole passel of trust, lots of talking, lots of listening (“Tell me when you’re done texting so I can talk to you!”), hard work and always having the right answer to “We’re going to be all right, aren’t we?”

Early in our relationship, A and I went skydiving. When we reached the correct altitude and the plane door opened, I looked out and thought NO *&@#ING WAY! Thankfully, we each were strapped to a jump instructor who swiftly edged us into the wild blue yonder. I really don’t know if I would have been able to make myself jump.

In both cases – house building and sky diving –there was someone there to push me, and I am so glad for it. I’ll get my wedding ring cleaned and it will be sparkly again, but for now I like it a little dull and dirty. It’s a good reminder of what A and I have been through this past year or so. It’s been scary and messy and very uncertain. But also, absolutely incredible.

I love you. Happy anniversary!