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The Right Way to Celebrate an Anniversary

Anniversary Picture

Is there a right way to celebrate your wedding anniversary?  I think most people would say there is.  Some fancy a romantic dinner at a favorite restaurant. Others would say a quiet movie without the kids. There would even be those who would take in a sporting event, do couples pottery, or see a show.

What is the right way to celebrate an anniversary?  I’ll tell you.

March 9, 1991
Second National Bank

For Better or Worse

We spent our anniversary more worse than better.  Both kids are sick. One insisted on going to the theater to perform her duties as assistant stage director. I bundled myself up, despite the mid-50 degree temperatures, took her for tea and breakfast, and got her to the theater.  My poor husband woke up this morning still sitting at his desk chair.  His crazy wife stripped the bed yesterday with the intention of letting it air out. Eventually, it was to be covered with fresh sheets. Except I fell asleep. And the bed wasn’t made.  And Jim had no place to sleep, because the other sick kid had taken over the sofa.  We had no sooner both gotten home and found comfortable positions, when our drama queen kid called in tears to be picked up.  She was too sick to go on.  No rest for the weary.  But the right way to celebrate an anniversary is immersed in the life we created in our 26 years together.  And so we did.

For Richer or Poorer

Emotions of the mother of the bride
For Better or Worse

Financially, it was a good day. That’s the right way to celebrate an anniversary.  We know the bills are all paid, there’s food in the fridge, and the car that always requires a major repair as soon as a big check comes in has just had all four tires replaced and brake work done.  But we also have multiple bank accounts, and at one point, my husband had to ask if I needed more than $175 before the weekend, because the one account we don’t have daily access to is where our most recent deposits went.  So while I know we’re good, I also know I have to watch my pennies on this, my anniversary.

In Sickness and In Health

Yes, well, here is where we really prove we know how to celebrate an anniversary.  Jim has spent MONTHS preparing to be part of a mock trial competition team.  Because of his vision problems, things that other competitors probably were able to do in a reasonable period of time have taken Jim triple the time.  He has sacrificed weekends with his family, dinners out with friends, events we wanted to or should have attended.  Then last weekend, I got sick.  It wasn’t just “sick” – it’s sick.  Fevers, chills, aches, unable to breathe from the chest pain of the cough, gastrointestinal distress – I have had it all this week.  And because he tended to every need this week, Jim caught it.

And today, when he was supposed to leave with his team to compete, he was too sick to go.  He has fever, chills, aches, and is unable to catch his breath from the cough.

He hasn’t blamed me once, although when the delirium from the high fever begins to dissipate, he may, but he has accepted this as part of being a couple. I’ll never lose the guilty feeling.

That’s the right way to celebrate an anniversary – not making things that go wrong the other person’s fault.

I Will Love and Honor You, All The Days of My Life

Sick as he is, my husband made sure I had a wonderful anniversary dinner.  He arranged for take away from our favorite Italian restaurant, complete with a delicious dessert.  We ate quietly, because when we talk we cough. He’s in shorts and a t-shirt.  I’m in sweats, zipped up to my neck. Today is day two without a shower for me. Yet he sits by me, not commenting on the lack of makeup or combed hair.  His olfactory senses are surely challenged by the cold, but still, no mention of my lack of “freshness”.  We are older, fatter, balder. We are parents to three children, all of whom are closer to leaving us empty nesters withe very breath we take.

Anniversary Picture
26 Years

There are arguments, that’s for sure.  But there is always love in this house.  Even when we don’t see eye to eye, we honor each other’s voices, trying never to squelch the other.  Well, at least not permanently.

This is where I want to be, all the days of my life. Oh, it may not be this home, this state, this country.  I hope it will not be still in these sweats, hacking lungs up.  But I want to always be where this love is.  I hope he does, too.

And with that feeling in your heart, my friends, is the right way to celebrate an anniversary.

Does The Happy Buffet Chinese Restaurant Count?

The traditional gift for a 20th wedding anniversary is China.  As I sit here on the eve of my 20th wedding anniversary, I imagine the reason China is the traditional gift is because by 20 years, all you have left in your China cabinet is two chipped plates, one intact cereal bowl, three tea cups, and two saucers from the China you got as a wedding gift 20 years before.  At least, that’s what I have left.  Note to self – don’t rely on China from Big Lots to last as long as your marriage.

But who knew that my marriage would last 20 years?  I mean, of course, you don’t go into marriage thinking of it as a 90 day probationary period, after which you decide if it’s going to work out.  You don’t go up to the altar after the wedding and sign papers indicating if he snores, farts, or belches more than 10 times in the first month, you get a “Get Out of Jail Free” card to run the hell out and start over.

I think 20 years is a big deal.  My parents were married nine years, and when I got married, as much as I wanted it to last forever, I thought if I got past nine years, I’d be happy, no matter what happened.  I would have given it the Old College Try.

20 years.

There is a lot of life that happens in 20 years.

We’ve survived unemployment.

We’ve survived bankruptcy.

We’ve survived the loss of both of our fathers.

We’ve survived the loss of my sister.

We’ve survived the loss of five babies to miscarriage.

We’ve survived having a baby prematurely.

We’ve survived having a child move out on her own.

We’ve survived job transfers.

We’ve survived moves.

We’ve survived medical crises – for both of us.

We’ve survived each other.  Because you know, no matter how in love you are, there are things about each other you aren’t going to like.  And somehow, if you want things to work, you learn to live with the things you don’t like, get over the things you hate, and remember the things that made you fall in love in the first place.

And here I am, 20 years after the most wonderful day of my life – a day that truly feels like it could have occurred yesterday – and I know in my heart that 20 years is only the beginning.  There is not even the slightest kink in the bond that holds us together, and even on the days when I wish he’d find a very short pier upon which he should take a very long walk, I love That Guy.

Life has changed many times for us in 20 years, but it’s the things that stayed the same that keep us together.  I still get butterflies when I see him; quivery when I kiss him; and smiley when I hold his hand.

For better, for worse; for richer for poorer; in sickness and in health.  We’ve faced it all; we’ve survived it all; and we’ve made it here at our 20th anniversary to celebrate it all.

Happy Anniversary, Jim.  You are now and always will be the one and only true love of my life.