Today is our 3 year wedding anniversary.  We eloped in Dublin, Ireland on 9/13/13. It was a Friday the Thirteenth, too. We stood in a park and promised love and trash removal and respect, among other things.   That day I became a Stuart.

That doesn’t mean I just took Austin’s father’s name. It doesn’t mean I just took Austin’s name. It means I became part of a phenomenon. Being a Stuart means Family and Loud Noises. It means Reliability and Laughter. It means Food and Hard-Headedness.

My family is not big or close (as in proximity).  We are tight-knit and private. Quiet and Southern. Weird and smart-mouthed. Needless to say, I have found my place as a Stuart fairly easily.

Several years ago, when Riley was little, she called out to her Aunt’s best friend across a crowded pool, “CLAUDETTE STUART!!!” and we all laughed because she didn’t know that though the Stuarts have amassed many friends, not all of the people she knew were given the last name of Stuart. Now, don’t get me wrong. When anyone in the family is misbehaving, you can bet your sweet ass that you WILL get called out by your first name and “STUART!”  I’ve even called coworkers like that because I am so used to shouting it in my house.

But here I sit. A legal Stuart for the past three years. Now I know I was a Stuart before that. Austin even said it at his father’s memorial service. He said that all the friends that they had were family and “Today we are all Stuarts”. That is a sentence I never take lightly.  It means honor, respect, laughter, integrity, good cooking, and an enormous family.

I’m proud to be a Stuart. I’m proud to be married to such a great man. I’m proud to be his wife and partner.

Happy 8 years, baby!  Here’s to 80 more!


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