TWENTY-ONE years! Amazing. As someone would surely say, That is a long time to be married to the wrong man. You hear a lot of marriage jokes: “We’ve been married 15 years and it’s been the best 5 years of my life.” OR “We’ve been married 5 years and it’s been the best 20 years of my life.”
Jokes are jokes but this twenty-one years has never been a joke. A ton of laughter, but no joke.
My wife, my bride, my honey bunny, my sugar booger is truly one of the greatest blessings of my life. I hate to say it but I don’t deserve a wife that loves me and puts up with my silliness as much as she does.
Who knew some twenty plus years ago that it would be this fine? I had high hopes. I meet her at church. She is so very fond of telling the story on me that I ignored her for a time. Truth was I thought she was older than me. I had dated, very briefly, a girl who was a number of years older than me, and, in a word, it was weird. I knew real clear, I didn’t want to walk down that road again. We went to a singles retreat and during the ice breaker I had the epiphany that she was younger and it was on like a chicken bone from there. I had to do a lot of fast talking and clearing up my mess and even had to divert another fella onto another prospective girly girl to make sure he wasn’t gonna beat my time.
I still remember our first date. We were going to go to lunch and then the Planetarium but soon realized the Planetarium was closed. It was my birthday, right before the 4th of July and so there ya go. We ate at Keifer’s (still love that place) and decided to see a movie. Sleepless in Seattle. Major chick flick but it got me down the road for a second date and we were good from there. I knew she was the one inside of about three dates. She came to one of my softball games once. The guys were razzing me for bringing a date to the game. I told them, “Guys, this is a down chick. Watch this. Hey baby, call the hogs.” to which she promptly stood up and gave a loud Suuuuuewheee Razorbacks cheer. The guys stood there gobsmacked and I beamed because I had the cool girlfriend.
We peeked around the edges of the engagement talk for all of 6 months when I proposed to her. I had just gotten a huge promotion but was about to leave town for the next couple months only being home for a weekend about every two weeks during that span. I knew I couldn’t leave without asking her to marry me. I didn’t know the day I was going to ask her that she was having dental surgery and was half looped out on pain killers when I got to her apartment. Some would say that was all part of the master plan. I say, you take your gifts as you get them. As inauspicious a start as that was, that was no omen of the times to come. I spent the first year worried she would leave me just because it didn’t measure up to her expectations, but we married and have had one heck of an adventure through those twenty-one years.
Seven years of fun and travel and enjoying each other. The birth of the boy, who still brings great joy, frustration and entertainment on a daily basis. Then the girl, who also brings more than her share of drama, intrigue and stellar facial expressions to the mix. Two of the finest and greatest joys in our daily lives. We would be lost without them, although getting lost for a bit is always welcome on the journey.
We’ve seen the death of both our father’s and the continued aging of both our mothers. We’ve been fat and lean, both physically and financially. We have cried our hearts out a time or two. I’ve made her head spin around in anger like a scene from The Exorcist only three times in those 21 years. Two of those prior to the engagement and wedding and one inside the first year. I’m nothing if not a quick study. More than anything we have laughed. We laugh, really laugh, every day. Mostly at the kids or the dog or just the ridiculousness of this fallen world in general. And from time to time at each other, but the laughter has been there always. Like a steady current in the river. As sure as the sun rises and sets.
She is my very best friend. If given the opportunity, she is the first and highest on my list of people I want to hang out with. Preferably sans children. She gets me better than anyone I know. She loves me just a little less than Jesus and that’s the best second fiddle I can play. She is gracious, funny, beautiful, hopeful, supportive and amazingly talented. Do I really have to mention the cakes?
I don’t get everything right in my life, but by the grace of God, I aced it on this one thing. Glory to God for it. I ain’t that good but He is.
Happy Anniversary baby. Straight up, I love you with my whole heart.