My husband and I are approaching our 17th wedding anniversary. I really am not great at math, but to me, that sounds like a really long time. We got married way back in 2004. (We actually have a VHS and a DVD of our wedding video but no digital prints!)
That was also B.P. (before Pinterest). How in the world did I decide what I wanted? What I wouldn’t have given to have a huge Pinterest board dedicated to nothing except wedding stuff.
Instead, my OCD self had a binder/notebook where I kept track of everything I saw that I liked and knew that I wanted. I have no clue where it is now, but I do remember most of the details . . . from the colors (red, black, and white) to the outdoor venue (The Donnelly House on Southside) and the flowers (red roses and stargazer lilies).
I remember it was the most beautiful March day, a gorgeous 65 and sunny and we had all the people there that meant the most to us.
I remember my parents walking me down the aisle, where I was so overcome with emotion I almost couldn’t breathe. I remember our vows, during which my husband cried throughout his then gave me the ring before we had the reading from First Corinthians. I remember cutting the cake, our first dance (to Etta James’ At Last) and waving goodbye to everyone was we drove away and headed to The Tutwiler Hotel.
The honeymoon was bliss, a wonderful week-long cruise where we visited gorgeous islands, soaked up the sun, and didn’t have a care in the world.
When we returned, it was back to reality. It actually felt like postpartum depression a bit. After having planned the wedding for almost a year, all the showers and gifts, all the attention and fun . . . now here we were, back to our jobs and real life as a married couple.
Five months later, we got a puppy. We settled into a routine, although at the time we were working opposite shifts.
Over the years, we got to spend time traveling to fun places like New York, Chicago, and Asheville. We went to concerts, tons of ballgames, hung out with friends, and got to sleep as late as we wanted!
Four years later, we became parents for the first time. Talk about a life changing experience. Nothing you are told or read can prepare you for that experience. That first year with our son was beyond hard, and I struggled emotionally staying home with the baby while my husband got to go to work every day. It was hard and very lonely.
For years, we thought we were “one and done,” until five and a half years later, we had our daughter. Let me tell you, the second time around was so much easier. (Plus, she was a much better baby than our son!)
Going from one to two is a big change, but the second time around at least I felt like I knew what I was doing. However, kids do make marriage harder and they left much less time for us to have any time just the two of us. Usually, we would go away one night for our anniversary and try to schedule date nights every month or two.
Now our kids are 12 and 6, and it still takes a lot of effort to get any time alone together. It’s usually after 9:00 p.m. before we get them both in bed, and a lot of nights, one (or both) end up in our room (either in the bed or on the floor). With COVID-19, we had maybe two date nights in the past year. Our last anniversary, we rented a tiny house in Mentone and it turned out to be the weekend the pandemic broke out, so we were glued to the news and weren’t able to enjoy it as we had hoped.
We’ve had some really great times and some really difficult times. Some days are great, and some nights we go to bed mad at each other. Sometimes we agree, other times we don’t. Sometimes there is plenty of money, and sometimes there’s not. But that’s just life, isn’t it? And after all this time, we are still together, after 17 years.
Hopefully things will get back to “normal” soon and we can get back to having date nights and spending more time together.
My parents have been married for 63 years, so really, we’re just getting started! Cheers to number 17 and many more!