This week Michael and I will be celebrating our 12th anniversary. Each year when our anniversary comes around, I can't help but think about all that we have been through. Michael and I met during potato harvest in October of 1999. He was driving tractor and I was delivering meals to all the workers. It was dark and cold and that is about all there is to that night. After potato harvest I moved to work in the office at the potato packing plant. Michael ended up there after beet harvest. We talked some in passing and but not much more than that. I was teased a lot about him because he was the only english speaking single guy that worked there. Shortly after the new year we went on our first date. From there it is all history. We were together every day after that. There was just something there that I couldn't describe, but I knew. I like to think he felt the same! After just one week of dating we were talking about marriage. By the end of the first month we had bought a ring. A few weeks after that he gave it to me. We were married April 28, 2000. We faced a lot of challenges during those short months. We had many people against us. Some told Michael he had no right to date me and that he was ruining my life. I was told he was just using me and he would eventually leave me. Because we weren't getting married the way some had planned for us to be married we received opposition there too, some of it even came from family. The trials that we faced pulled us together and brought us closer. Our love for each other grew stronger. By the end of that year, we were blessed with our first child. Over the last 12 years we have moved across country 4 different times. We have been faced with financial difficulties, family problems, deaths of loved ones, a miscarriage and so many other struggles that families face as they learn and grow together. We have also been extremely blessed. We were allowed to have 6 healthy children, many wonderful friends, food to eat, jobs when needed and so many other blessings. Over the years, the most important thing to Michael and I has always been to be together. I remember when Maddi was a baby he had to go on a business trip to Texas. It was the first time that we had ever gone a day without being together. It was so hard for both of us. Since then there have been many times when he has had to be gone and each time it is still hard. We have faced so many challenges together, ones that would have torn others apart, but they have only made us closer. As we come to this anniversary, we still struggle with being apart. As mentioned in other posts, Michael's job requires him to be gone two out of every three weeks. Most days we get to talk to him on the phone for a few minutes, but there are days when we don't even get that. It is hard! Some people think that it is because I can't handle doing it all by myself. That is not true. I can do it by myself! I do it every day by myself! What makes it hard is that I miss Michael. I don't like being away from him. People I talk to tell me it will get easier and that I will get used to it. Well, it doesn't and I won't! Michael is everything to me. There have been so many times over the last 12 years when he has been the only person in my life that I could go to. There have been so many circumstances where all we had was each other. We have been each other's best friends (and sometimes only friends). We have lifted each other when others have tried to tear us down. We have grown together when others tried to rip us apart. We have strengthened each other when it was all too much to bear and we didn't know if we could continue. There is no better, safer feeling than when he is holding me in his arms. All my troubles melt away for that moment. When he is gone I miss him. It's just that plain and simple. The last 12 years have been full of life and all that it has to offer - the good and the bad. I am so thankful that I have been able to share it with Michael. He truly is the love of my life and each new day with him is a blessing for which I will always be grateful.