My husband thought it was 23, but I know different. The friend who said Happy 23rd wedding anniversary got misinformation, from Dave. So I replied to my well-wisher, That’s a long time between men. And I meant it.
It’s actually been 26 years since we started dating. I was a pup of 19 and he a man of the world at 26, with a long road ahead of us. And we’ve been confused for years—was it July 6 or 7 that we got married? A niece’s birthday is on the 7th, so we think it was the 6th, of course we were married before she was born, so who really knows barring looking for the certificate. I saw that niece come into this world, which scared me from childbirth for 15 years. From which I can only conclude that it’s best to not see what’s coming, in so many ways.
It was a Justice of the Peace wedding in Hot Springs, Arkansas, because the courthouse was closed that July Fourth weekend in Eureka Springs. That holiday we drove from Austin, Texas, to his ten year high school reunion in Rogers, Arkansas. We lived in Austin a mere 9 months before returning to Raleigh.
Married at 21 and I wasn’t even pregnant—isn’t that kind of unheard of? The first years were hard, but somehow we stayed, put each other through school, split up once for a few months. We followed our travel bliss dreams, made homes, built a dream home, gave it up for the surprise conception of a better dream, one we hadn’t even thought of. A child was born.
How silly we’d been to forget to start a family when we were young. I’m so grateful that God interceded on that one. Our lives would never be the same, and that’s a good thing. I believe we’d be old fuddie duddies like our childless neighbors by now, chasing damn kids out of their woods and being generally grumpy curmudgeons, old before their time.
There are many gifts from having a long-term partner--life is easier when you have backup--but the greatest is a growing love demonstrated by a crazy 8-year-old boy who looks like a mini Dave. He is the love of our life, begat by love, and a miraculous proof that there is a God. Having children when you’re supposedly too old for it is humbling—seeing you both change into the easy clothes of parents, becoming so full of love you’d like to burst, rocks your world as it’s meant to. I wouldn’t change a thing. My husband is still hot at 52, still the best man I know, smarter than I ever thought, and I respect him for the old school things he knows like fixing cars and building houses, even for his Midwestern sense of humor. He is a fricking fabulous father to our son. He was just what I needed, and still what I want.
So happy 24th, 23rd, 26th, or however you count ‘em in old dog years.