Today is an exciting day in the Coke House…we are celebrating our eighth wedding anniversary! Time flies when you’re having fun, right? In honor of the special day, I thought I’d reflect back over the past 2,922 days.
Eight years ago, we were both in our 20s (some of us in our very early 20s!) George W. was still in office. None of our friends had children. Facebook was an unknown. Cadillac Williams still played for the Bucs, and we went 11-5 in our 2005 season. Evan and I both had siblings still in high school. Brad and Jennifer were still married.
Life has changed. Let’s take a trip down Memory Lane…
Eight years and an undisclosed number of pounds ago…
We tied the knot at my home church in Pahokee, where I spent some of the best years of my life, and PFUMC will forever hold a special place in my heart. Hurricane Wilma had ravaged both coasts just three weeks prior; we didn’t even know at the time if our wedding could happen, but God willing, it did. We were forced to move our reception location due to damage at the Elk’s Lodge in Pahokee. Our florist, Fran, went as far as Miami to find THE flowers we had picked out months earlier. We patiently waited days and weeks for electricity to be restored. It all came together in an imperfectly beautiful and wonderful celebration.
Mr. & Mrs. Coke
We honeymooned in Key West. We literally crawled Duval. I climbed on stage at Sloppy Joe’s and sang “I Wanna Be Sedated” with a punk band from Minneapolis. We happy houred at Irish Kevin’s at 10am. We pet six toed cats and sting rays. Evan got food poisoning from a Cheeseburger in Paradise.
We traveled. We fell in love with Western NC, and have returned half a dozen times. We have hiked over 300 miles. Evan grew a mountain man beard. We plan to continue visiting every year until I can convince Evan to buy a mountain and build a cabin.
Downpour on the AT.
Day hike to Siler’s Bald.
Tubing on Deep Creek.
“…got to set down and take a rest on the porch.”
We took a 4,000 mile road trip from Cape Coral to Washington DC, then to New Jersey for Evan’s 10 year high school reunion, then north to Niagara Falls, and west to Fort Knox, KY. We visited monuments, toured Radio City Music Hall, ate Thanksgiving dinner at a hoity toity restaurant in the Upper East Side. Then we watched my brother graduate from Basic Training, and prayed for his new journey and career in life as a Combat Medic in the US Army.
Top of the Rock.
CPL Cameron M. Hatton
We survived several hurricanes, both of the meteorological and real-life variety (not to mention the number of hurricanes consumed on our honeymoon in Key West).
Both my parents and Evan’s grandmother lost their homes in Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne. We headed to the east coast to help salvage what was left. We cried endless tears upon seeing the devastation. We prayed for restoration. And our families overcame the struggles.
We welcomed Maggie Mae in our lives. Then Kiwi. Then the “Wild Bunch”: Blueberry, Patches and Frankie, a litter of kittens abandoned in our neighborhood. Mai Tai, my old tabby cat, remains my “first born” regardless of our ever growing family.
Mai Tai, my first born, adopted in 2003.
Maggie Mae joined the fam in 2006.
The Wild Bunch, left to right: Blueberry, Patches and Frankie
We decorated eight Christmas trees. The pets only knocked over one.
My baby brother got married in Germany, and I gained an amazing sister-in-law.
Jess and Cameron
We turned 30. And then some.
We found CCFUMC. We became members. Our lives forever changed, for the better.
We made many, many friends. Many friendships grew; few failed. We have been immensely blessed by the people in our lives, who we consider an extension of family. Some have moved on, and there is greater time and distance between us, but an unconditional love remains.
We grew deeper in our faith. I picked the bass guitar back up. I discovered worship through music. Evan discovered worship through the tech ministry and running the sound board. Our lives were again forever changed, for the better.
We bought our first home. We renovated one room at a time, and finished the interior remodeling earlier this year. I am now ready to paint the dining room again.
We started a small business. We grew. We bought another small business. And we continue growing and persevering. Evan is overly humble about his accomplishments.
We said goodbye to some of our greatest loves and supporters.
We experienced the most awesome, incredible, amazing, sunshine and rainbows day of our lives when we welcomed Miles Clark to the world. We did not know then the overwhelming love, joy and happiness that would now fill our home. We became parents. It still sounds funny when I say it out loud. Miles does let us know we’re doing an awesome job, though.
I did not think I could love Evan more; then, I saw him as a father, and I found a new love that I didn’t know existed. And we both found that it was possible to have an enormous mountain of love for a teeny, tiny person.
The Cokes – October 2013
The past 2,922 days have been an unbelievable journey, and there is no single person on this planet I would have spent it with besides Evan. We have journeyed, side by side and hand in hand, through peaks and valleys, good times and bad, tears of joy and tears of sadness, together.
I am tremendously blessed with his love and friendship. He is my rock, my best friend, my happy place, and the most amazing father in the entire world. My heart still skips a beat when he enters a room, just like it did over 10 years ago when we first met.
And I cannot wait to see what life has in store for us next.
I love you to the moon and back, and then some.