Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart

For the 40th plus ninth time, Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart!

I can’t think of anything more mushy than anything I’ve said over the years. Yet, in each of the “plus” years, I realize how blessed I was to have you for my wife, how much I miss you and how much I love you.

My thoughts this year drifted back to my dog story days in the garden outside St. John the Baptist Cathedral. I won’t bore anyone with that moment, but reflect instead on what was going through my mind on that hot, humid day back in 1968.

There were basically three questions that swirled in my mind, each spinning off additional questions. I know my response, but I wonder what your response would have been.

First is a broad thought, what the heck are we doing?

As excited as I was, I was equally scared to death. What did I know about marriage, a 21 year old sheltered and protected guy? What did you know about marriage, a 20 year old kid who was a little more street savvy but surrounded by realities of a sometimes harsh life? What is this whole marriage thing all about?

Well, looking back, we weren’t the first couple to go through these thoughts … and we certainly weren’t the last. It was a learning curve, not all glitz and glitter.

We thought we would live a fairy tale life. We were going to the chapel to get married and life would be peaches and cream. We would never have to say good night and leave again.

It didn’t take us long to realize fairy tales are … well, fairy tales. Marriage was hard work and love was not a three letter word {S-E-X}. It meant putting our wants and needs aside to protect, honor and respect our mate. It meant sharing. It meant helping each other. It meant supporting each other. It may not have been a fairy tale, but it was about as close as you come. It’s a commitment not meant for the faint hearted. And it is hard, hard, every day work.

It’s easy as the years roll by to start cutting corners, getting self absorbed in work or children to where your partner gets shoved to the background. We start taking each other for granted. That’s when it gets hard … and that’s when you have to marshal every ounce of energy to get back to the euphoria of day one.

Someone once said marriage was a 50-50 relationship. They were wrong. It’s 100%-100% commitment, and I’m sure on your part, often stretching to 120% and above as you tried to corral my wanderlust and wild ideas. Looking back, I got off easy — I just had to navigate through mood changes. Once I got that down — okay, it took me 40 years — it was smooth sailing.

I know there were a number of skeptics that day, wondering how these two kids from different backgrounds with different temperaments were going to come together as one. I guess we showed them!

My second question was, what kind of husband would I be. I’d like to think I was a good, loving, supportive husband, but I know there were times I made some bad decisions, took you for granted and didn’t back you up as much as you needed. There were too many “ordinary” days, but I did try to spice things up with the unexpected. And I hope my silly traditions — Christmas stories, daily cartoons, flowers, words of encouragement — lifted you up.

That’s through my eyes. What I would give to hear your take on what kind of a husband I was.

Finally, I thought about what kind of a father I would be if we were fortunate enough to be given custody of young ones. Of course, we were, blessed with five amazing children, each with a unique personality. I would like to think I was a good, supportive father … firm yet always loving. I’m not sure about the firm part, especially with the girls, but you and I always tried to make our kids feel loved. We weren’t perfect. I know that looking back.

I can get feedback from the kids … and grandkids … and great-grandkids, but input from you about my role as a father would be immeasurable. I’m just not going to know — at least not yet.

For 40 years we laughed together, cried together, truly enjoyed each other’s company {okay, most days}, shared our accomplishments and disappointments, moved and moved and moved and moved, raised five beautiful children, were blessed with 18 grandchildren and two great-granddaughters. It was quite a ride from naive kids to learning the intricacies of life and relationships to bonding more strongly day by day to being there for each other for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. And we sealed it with “from this day forward until death do us part.”

We weren’t thinking about the “death do us part” part on that day. But, death is inevitable … and it was you who was called first shortly after our 40th anniversary in 2008.

My biggest regret over the last nine years has not been the loneliness {although that is VERY real}, but the fact you aren’t here sharing this season of life with me. This was supposed to be our time. WE were going to retire to Maine. WE were going to watch our family grow. WE were going to spoil the grandkids. WE were going to welcome our great-grandchildren. WE were going to travel. WE. WE. WE.

The plus nine hasn’t changed things. In a very real way, you are still by my side. Poor kid, you just can’t get rid of me.

Often we didn’t know

what tomorrow would bring,

but we believed things

would work out …

and they usually did.

And today as we celebrate

another anniversary together,

I just have to smile

when I think of how far we’ve come,

with nothing but love

and a few crazy dreams.

I Love You … Yesterday … Today … For Always

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Live life with music in your heart.

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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6 Responses to Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart

  1. Andy Oldham says:

    A beautiful tribute to your marriage! Congratulations!


  2. Felt privileged to read this beautiful tribute


  3. Juanita says:

    How beautiful and such a meaningful tribute having only celebrated my 2nd marriage anniversary I hope I’ll have as much joy and riches as you and your beautiful wife had. I offer you my prayers it’s so clear how much you miss her.


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