An Anniversary Tribute

DSCN0247As this entry becomes available, the sun is rising on a new day commemorating our ninth wedding anniversary.  Sure, we will do the normal anniversary stuff…cards, nice dinner, some alone time, but I wanted to spend a few minutes giving you some insight into my wife’s world.  The world of Joanna Harrell Tyler.

For those who don’t know, I met Joanna almost 10 years ago and as cliché as it may sound, we met on  For those of you familiar with the process on eHarmony back then, we completed our initial back and forth communication trial in a matter of a few hours.  Once that initial communication trial was done, we were cleared for open communication, and we spoke on Yahoo Messenger until about 4AM that morning.  As I understand it, Joanna had a corporate meeting in Atlanta and was chatting from her hotel room; she told me she had a really hard time in the meeting due to the lack of sleep.  I think she might have finally forgiven me about the lack of sleep, but I don’t think she ever got over that I never had to pay for my subscription…I got a free one-month pass.

Joanna lived in Raleigh and I lived in High Point.  This made dating a bit of a challenge, but we made it through.  One of the first things I knew that I loved about her was her ability to cook.  I love to eat; she loves to cook…BINGO!  It seems that it all finally sank in when we had our first Thanksgiving together and she made the meal, ending with a chocolate pie.  GAME OVER!  She had me.

We were married the next year in our home with close family.  We had the reception in our back yard with all our friends and family.  I remember that as one of the best days ever.  The weather was perfect and it seemed that everyone was having a good time.  I even remember our niece, Liz, running around the back yard like she owned the place.

After a couple of years, our first daughter came onto the scene, and she came in with a huge scream.  Nearby garage doors were activated with that first scream!  I watched as Joanna began the most difficult task of labor.  I saw the miracle of a new child coming into the world and that still amazes me.  Joanna was tired but she was determined to get that baby out.  She is quite tenacious.  Little did we know that this quality of hers would immediately come into play.  When Savannah was born, we were introduced to the NICU within the first 24 hours.  Joanna began to absorb all the diagnoses and issues and treatment options.  While seemingly overwhelming at first, Joanna began to buckle down and fight for the right treatment for Savannah.  Joanna takes great pride in the protection and well-being of her children.

For the first month that Savannah was here, Joanna was at her bedside as often as she possibly could be.  She never did throw up her hands and say, “I can’t do this! It is too much!”  She persevered through everything and trust me, these few sentences don’t do it justice.  Things finally calmed down with respect to the hospital, but now care shifted to being at home.  Joanna was on top of everything from feedings (Savannah was and still is on a feeding tube.), to therapy and doctors appointments.  She kept it covered and kept it together, all the while keeping things together at home when I had to go back to work.

At the beginning of 2008, Savannah had some issues which caused us to go back into the hospital for an extended amount of time.  Again, I saw my wife fight with the hospital staff to maintain proper care of Savannah, fighting for the best options of care that she needed.  It wasn’t easy for us during that time, but we were determined that this wasn’t going to tear us apart.  Even today, this woman still amazes me at everything she keeps together and running smoothly.

We now have two additional children; all girls.  Joanna works so hard at making sure that these girls have everything they need, and even sometimes what they want.  She worries over these girls in ways that many of you can never see.  I see her cry over these kids and wonder if she is doing everything right to make sure they turn out OK.  Well, I can for one say, that she doesn’t do everything right.  That’s right, I said it.  But I can tell you this, she does her very best at being the best mom she can be and I love for her passion for trying to do the right thing.  She is human, and no human can do it right.

I say all that to say this.  As we enter today on our ninth wedding anniversary, I want to tell you, Joanna Tyler, that I love you and that you mean the world to me.  Keep on doing what you are doing and I will be here to support you and cheer you on.  You are a great wife to me and mother to Savannah, Morgan, and Emmelyn.  You are irreplaceable. You are awesome.  I look forward to many more years together with you.