(Graham & I in July of 2010)
It all started about four years ago, on Pioneer Day of 2010. Graham and I spent the whole day together, a rarity for a young couple dating while working full time. He was house sitting for friends in Provo, and we decided it would be fun to float the Provo River, something I'd never done before.
So, we suited up, drove up the canyon, and purchased tickets for transportation and tube rental. It was blistering hot, and the bus we rode to the river's entrance was sweltering, so I was really looking forward to getting in the water.
Immediately upon getting in the water, however, I realized how STRONG the current was. Even though it was only up to my knees, I could hardly keep myself standing long enough to climb oh-so-gracefully into my tube. Then, just as I settled in, I lost my balance, lost my flip-flop, and toppled into the water. Great start. Thankfully, Graham was close by and helped me retrieve my shoe and, once again, to get settled into my tube.
I figured that if I could just keep myself centered in the tube, I'd be fine. Wrong again. It turns out that when your appendages barely reach the water, it's kind of hard to steer yourself. Graham, on the other hand, with his super-long legs and arms, had a much easier time navigating. Seeing how much I was struggling, he maneuvered himself to where I was, then grabbed my hand and steered us both down the river.
We floated, and laughed, and had a great time...until we came to a spot where the river split around a little island of brambles. As we came closer, I felt like I was getting pulled away from Graham by the current. He still had a solid hold on me, but the bushes and driftwood around the island were looming closer. I panicked. Afraid that if I kept dragging on Graham, I would drag him into the bushes with me, I let go of his hand, pushed off, and tried to fend for myself.
As I scrambled to steer around the branches, I realized I was at the mercy of the river, and I slammed into a particularly pointy branch that was just at the right angle to create a nice gash in my leg. Somehow, I managed to reconnect with Graham, and we finished our float without further incident.
I didn't think a lot about the occurrence until I was telling my mom about our float trip later. She listened, and then, with a smile in her voice said, "See, there's your lesson: don't let go of Graham."
I laughed at her comment then (my parents were openly rooting for Graham and I from the beginning of our relationship), but I've thought about it many times since.
That day, I learned that even though it's scary to trust someone, some people really deserve that trust. I learned that it's hard to give up some of your own independence, but the strength you gain from teaming up with the right companion is worth the sacrifice. I learned that when you stubbornly pull away, thinking you're better off alone, you're wrong.
That day, I learned that Graham was worthy of any trust, sacrifice, and love I could offer him. He would always be there for me. And he always has been. As we have continued along our adventure together the last several years, he has been my constant support and strength. He holds me steady when I'm stressed, exhausted, and anxious. He works so hard to build a strong career to support our family, and he fights just as hard to make sure that he is at home as much as possible to be an example to Will, give me a rest, and help around the house. He gets so little time for himself, and yet, even on Father's Day, he just did a bunch of dishes while I put Will down for a nap so I would have time to rest, too. That is the man I call best friend, father of my children, and eternal companion. That is the man I will forever proudly stand by and hold onto.
And now, every time I look at that little scar on my leg, I remember the lesson I learned four years ago. I remember that our life, our marriage, our family is worth more than anything else. I remember to always hold on to Graham.