Monday, November 17, 2014

It's an Anniversary Thing - Again

As my husband and I were approaching our 24th wedding anniversary, I was thinking of what I could do to make our day special. I was sure we were going to go to dinner or something like that. We weren’t going to make a big deal of it because our oldest was getting married several weeks before. That was one big party weekend at the beach, so we’d had our trip for now. Plus, we ended up being the hosts for Thanksgiving and were planning a trip at Christmas with our granddaughter. So a trip around now was out of the question. And what could I possibly buy him that I haven’t already? We settled on going to an event at our local civic center, something we’ve been wanting to do for a while, and we’ll probably do dinner. But beyond that, November 17 will be like any other day. We have to work. We have responsibilities. I also started thinking of what to post to social media on our anniversary. I knew I’d post a link to our song, “I Cross My Heart” by George Strait, but what could I say that hasn’t been said? Then inspiration struck: I’ll post something each day for 24 days leading up to our anniversary. And so, the trending #24daysto24years was born. Oddly enough, the “year 1” post began on our daughter’s wedding date. I became excited about my idea and started making a list of songs and sayings that I’d want to post. Some posts were symbolic, such as, “Year 20: I love you because rather than celebrating our 20th anniversary with a party or trip, you stood solidly by me as cancer tried to break me”. Four years ago, while we were gearing up for our 20th, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had two surgeries that I was recovering from during that month. He stood by and watched, feeling helpless, never knowing how much I really needed him. Other posts were spur of the moment ideas, such as, “Year 4: I love you because you really want to get me some candy corn.” Halloween was that week and I love candy corn. He was willing to scour every store late at night to make sure I got some candy corn. That’s just how he is – willing to do anything and everything. As I told people about my idea, I discovered it was a conversation starter, mostly along the lines of, “wow, that would be hard to do every day.” That’s when I knew why this specific idea had occurred to me: if we can’t find something we love about our spouse every day, then our marriage needs work. It’s not in the big things they do, but in the way they cut our grapefruit, wash the dishes, pick up milk, or go to a job to keep bills paid. Marriage takes creativity, it takes work, it takes daily devotion, much like a writer or blogger who must come up with a storyline every day. It takes two people knowing everything about another person and loving them anyway. Life is messy and fabulous and horrible and wonderful all at the same time. I won’t lie. There were days it was hard because I was tired or maybe even a little miffed at him for something, or I’d forget till late in the day. But it was always worth it when I posted because it helped me understand all those little things that make a marriage tick. How does a couple stay married for 20, 50, 70 years? They work at it every day, only that’s not as tiring as it sounds. If you believe in something, it’s worth the effort. We need to remember every day - in the mundane, in the aweful, in the wonderful - why two imperfect people decided to join together. And when we do, it's amazing how small our imperfections appear. I’ve enjoyed using this outlet to spark my creativity and rekindle all the reasons I said ‘I do.’ I’d do it all over again with all the same messy, wonderful, horrible, fabulous results. I hope the next 24 or 48 or forever is just as messy and fabulous. Here's the entire list: Year 24: I love you because you love me. Year 23: I love you because we make a great team...we say the same things, we think the same things, and buy each other the same Christmas present. Year 22: I love you because if I want a pink lunch bag you search every store to find me the perfect pink lunch bag. Year 21: I love you because we can be happy in a double wide or a castle, although we both would prefer a mountain cabin. Year 20: I love you because rather than celebrating our 20th anniversary with a party or trip, you solidly stood by me as cancer tried to break me. Year 19: I love you because no matter what the future holds you face it with strength and fortitude. Year 18: I love you because of your passion for life, love, faith, values and us. Year 17: I love you because you keep the home fires burning when I'm away for work. Year 16: I love you because family is family and you will do anything for family. Year 15: I love you because you are the best dad for our girls. Year 14: I love you because you bring me bacon which is way better than just bringing home the bacon. Year 13: I love you because we can laugh at silly stories together. Year 12: I love you because you can grill up some mean bbq. Year 11: I love you because you wait patiently on me Year 10: I love you because you want to share the world with me. Year 9: I love you because you embrace my love for Mickey Coffee and make sure the pantry is always stocked. Year 8: I love you because you want to go to Alaska which really means you want to take me to Hawaii. Year 7: I love you because we don’t always agree but we meet in the middle. Year 6: I love you because you always have my best interests at heart. Year 5: I love you because you let me be me. Year 4: I love you because you really want to get me some candy corn. Year 3: I love you because you make each place we live the best for us. Year 2: I love you because you think of us in making life choices. Year 1: I love you because you put a ring on quirky.

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