Happy Anniversary Love Birds

Today my parents celebrate their 46 wedding anniversary. This duo have been sweethearts for the majority of their lives. They started dating when she was 14 years old and he was 17 years old. People change as they do life. Experiences you have through life shape and define who you are. Starting out together in your teens and remaining a pair in your 60s no doubt takes a lot of embracing change and flexibility while remaining true to each other. It takes a stroke of luck and an extraordinary mixture of love, dedication, hard work, trust, and faith to make life work together over the years.

These two celebrated high school experiences and went to prom together. They have supported each other through college. They packed up from their small Kentucky hometown and experienced the big city of Atlanta as my Dad attended pharmacy school and my Mom worked to be the breadwinner at a bank in downtown Atlanta. Together they have opened, grew, and sold a business. They have traveled together, with kids, and with family. They have enjoyed H&L trips (named after their first name initials) across the USA and beyond where they have stayed in T-pees, tree houses, caves, cruise ships, and jails (they were not booked for an offense-the jail was a hotel).

They have built a house and made a home together. They have sold most everything they have owned and downsized. They have moved their children (nearly 20 times) to dorms, apartments, and houses. They have live through family pets such as cats, dogs, and rabbits. The agreed to crazy things like ant farms and aquariums. They planned and videoed every second of family vacations to the great west, beaches, and Disney. They have owned land and sold land. They have spent most of their life looking for something that someone in the family wanted – a special antique, Cabbage Patch kid, Teddy Ruxpin, a He-man toy, a perfect outfit, a cactus plant, or furniture. You name it, they looked and always brought back the prize.

They have supported each other through raising kids and aging parents. They have raised two kids and now have two grandsons. They have attended football, basketball, and tee ball games. They have suffered through dance recitals and pageants. They did not kill their children during the years of temper tantrums, teenage dating, or college fun. They have weathered the disappointments in life together and celebrated life’s joys together. They have made friends and lost friends. They have won at life more than they have lost.

They have shared good fashion and bad fashion trends. The have weathered good hairstyles, bad hairstyles, wigs, and no hair. They have rode thousands of miles together in a Mustang, minivan, and convertible…just to name a few (who can forget the Isuzu Trooper and Big Bertha).  They have had sunny days, rainy days, stormy days, snow days. They have survived floods, blizzards, and ice storms. Most recently, they have weathered cancer together as my Mom has battled breast cancer.

Many things have changed in life, yet their relationship has not. They have talked on landlines, bag phones, and now the iPhone. They once wrote letters but now text. They have moved from records, to 8 tracks, to cassettes and CDS, to iTunes. They have moved from a giant camcorder to selfies. They have moved from plotting vacations on a highlighted map book to using an app.

When I reflect on what might be the secret to their successful marriage, a couple of things come to mind.

  1. They live life together as one. I cannot recall a time that were not one on life and decisions. Family, friends, jobs, life, etc. whatever they face, they face as one.
  2. They are faithful. To each other and to a higher power.
  3. They are each other’s best friend and confidant. You can guarantee if you say, “don’t tell Mom” about something good, bad or a surprise…that she knows within five minutes or less. And this works the same with “don’t tell Dad.”
  4. They keep it real. Which means stating what is on your mind, not holding a grudge, laughing a lot, and occasionally offering a deserved harsh word.
  5. They are always up for an adventure. Whether it is a hole-in-the-wall diner, a Sunday drive, or a grand vacation-they enjoy it just the same.

On the soundtrack Hope Floats (one of my favorite movies and soundtracks), there is a song by Deana Carter titled “That’s How You Know It’s Love.” In the song there is a line which states, “when the span of forever just never seems long enough, that’s how you know it’s love.” When I reflect on my parents love and devotion to each other as they celebrate their anniversary, it is clear that span of forever just doesn’t seem like long enough for the two love birds that I call Mom and Dad. Thank you for giving me a home with a healthy marriage and instilling in me the values I build my marriage and home upon each day. Happy Anniversary H&L!

Today my spoon is full of a grateful heart for my parents and their love for each other. I am grateful during the blizzard of 1977, the Stork dropped me off at your house so I can share this ride with you.

I did not want to save this post for a milestone anniversary like #50 because truthfully, each year deserves to be celebrated.  I know they will kill me for all of these pictures. However, they are a testament to the fun ride they share… and the many adventures yet to come.

 

 

Celebrating a decade…what 10 years can bring to a marriage!

This week marked mine and my husband’s ten year anniversary. A decade. Wow. Some days life (not our marriage) has seemed like 100 years. Other days those 10 years seem like a blink in time. I remember when we were newlyweds; that our 10th year was supposed to be the year that we adventured to Bora Bora. Our plan didn’t quite pan out, but that dream is still in the making. As a new bride, I also remember asking my husband what he thought about changing our wedding bands to something different every ten years. This really wasn’t a ploy to get a bigger diamond. I thought it sounded fun. After all, as life happens, who you are and what your marriage is changes over time-so why can’t your ring change too? However, my hubby is too sentimental for wedding ring changes. He probably still has anxiety over the fact that I am on wedding ring number two due to a portion of my diamonds (who were my mother’s) falling out of my original wedding ring within the first year of our marriage. Oops.

Over dinner, my husband and I were discussing what the next ten years will look like. Before I could even get a mental picture he proceeds to say “Well, some people in our lives will probably be dead, we will have a tweenager, and we will be wrinkled. “ Wow, thanks for the optimistic outlook on the next decade. Luckily, that conversation was derailed by our waitress. Later on I was thinking about the past ten years and what all those years encompassed. Honestly, when I was a new bride I don’t really remember intentionally planning much of the first 10 years of our marriage. Typically, I am a planner, but considering the day after we married, my husband left for Iraq, I wasn’t for sure what plans to make. Looking back, I think I was afraid if I made too many plans, my heart would never recover if he didn’t come home alive and well to fulfill them. So started our marriages and we have been haphazardly landing in the right places ever since.

According to an online date calculator, we have been married for 521 weeks, or 3,653 days or 87,672 hours or 5,260,320 minutes or 315,619,200 seconds. I am sure my husband has been keeping track of the seconds (insert sarcasm)! So what has this time brought about? Well, here is a snapshot.

We been married twice (but not divorced; see previous posts for explanation). We survived my husband being deployed to Iraq for nine months. He survived me teaching in the Czech Republic for six weeks. We have moved three times. We have moved family and friends a lot more than three times. We have remodeled a home and built a home. We demolished a home; neither of which we remodeled or built. We have had nine jobs or positions between the two of us. I have completed a Ph.D. (really, my husband is to thank for me passing statistics). My husband has completed a MBA (really, he can thank me for editing his papers to perfection). He has fixed a lot of things I have broken and read the directions when I did not. I try to smile and contain the steam from rolling out of my ears when he works on one of our home projects…slow but also perfect. We canvased my small home town to rally votes when I ran for office three different terms (which I won). We have traveled A LOT-some for work but most for pleasure. We have visited (best I can count) 16 states in the USA and traveled to 9 countries together in the name of fun and adventure. When we were in Italy and I bought gelato and like a dumb tourist realized I was taken advantage of because it costs like $20, you still shared it with me (and remind me about it, but it was darn good). He watched me puke my guts out for 10 days on a cruise and kept me from jumping overboard. He has sprayed medicine on my arse when some fat snorkeler pushed me into poisonous coral in the Bahamas. We have enjoyed numerous concerts and plays. He wasn’t embarrassed when I was rockin out at a Bon Jovi concert when I was 8 months pregnant (coincidence my son loves music-probably not). He flew us to see U2 when in fact, he really doesn’t like them, but I do (I think Kiss made up for that). I dragged him to a Drag Show in Chicago for his 30th birthday and he still loved me (best martinis and singing EVER). We made wine together. One batch could possibly fuel a car or be used to clean wounds; and a few batches that we made were near perfection. He graciously pretends to care about my fashion shows after I go shopping and want to show him the bargains I found. We had a fish-and I am pretty sure he is the one that killed it. We cried when we had a miscarriage and then cried more when we rented Marley & Me to watch on the same freaking day. I thought it was going be a fun movie about a dog. I didn’t realize the damn dog died. Bad choice on a bad day. We made the cutest kid EVER together. When he joined our house he yelled at us the first year of his life due to colic, ear infections, and teething. Luckily, those days passed. He is the perfect, clever, witty mixture of us. My man has back aches thanks to bouncing around a metal truck while in Iraq; I have had two knee surgeries that are probably a result of me just being a total klutz. We both have fixed our eyes with Lasik surgery (you were scared, so I went first). We survived over a week without electricity during an ice storm that was declared a national disaster… until I talked you into driving 1.5 hours to a hotel so I could dry my hair and sleep in a warm bed. We have made new friends. We have lost loves ones. We have had a few cars. We lost our dear house cat a time or two (but she is still alive and well). I have had long hair and short hair. He has lost a few hairs. But neither of us are gray! We have gotten older. We have had a few days when we wanted to kill each other (I am sorry for scooping out a large portion of butter out of the container while I was cooking dinner and throwing it at his face that one time when I was mad…but it was pretty funny). We have cried a little. We have been sick a few days but mostly have been blessed with great health. We have laughed, loved, and lived the last decade. Our marriage has been an adventure of love, trust, partnership, tolerance, humor, tenacity all rolled up into one.

Whew…I know I left something out, but as you can see the last decade has been an adventure. I can’t wait until I can reflect on the next decade. I don’t know what it will bring, but I promise to have my eyes, ears, mind, and heart open for the moment and savor each spoonful as it comes. I share this not because I want you to see what we have done, but maybe to reflect on what your next decade will bring. Are your eyes, ears, mind, and heart ready for the adventure? I suggest not planning it, but to buckle up, put the top back, and enjoy the ride.

Today my spoonful is full of smiles as Mrs. E-E.