I am here typing my thoughts as we are celebrating our 31st Wedding Anniversary. Who would have thought that after meeting this boy when I was twelve years old, we would be sharing a life together? I have a story, it would be a lot longer in person, but so as not to bore anyone, I will condense it a bit.
I met him at school and we became good friends. Nothing was ever more than friendship even up until the point when he asked me to marry him. We each had our own lives and relationships, but remained fast friends, talking on the phone and writing later when he left for the military. It was strange, but I always told him that there was someone better for him. We had only kissed under the mistletoe on the holidays; the first was with my mouth full of Doritos, so it was unbelievably innocent. And after a kiss like that, I’m surprised he came back!
It is still crystal clear in my head was when he visited our church. I was a Sunday School Secretary and in the Choir so he had to wait until the end of the service before he came up to me and said “when are we gonna get married?” I said “whenever you’re ready”. He said “first you have to get rid of your boyfriend”. Which was true; I did have a boyfriend, whom I quickly “kicked to the curb”. No great loss there…
Then we began to go out on dates. We went to movies, McDonalds, White Castle, walks in the park, and other casual things. Glen was still living at his parents’ house and the opportunity came for us to spend time together when his parents and the rest of his family went to New York. I stayed with him and have not slept at home since. When his family came back, his loving mom would leave food for us and after a few weeks, gently asked, “Is Toni living here?” He said yes, and I was welcomed to the family.
One night we went to my parent’s house to visit and he told them “I want to marry your daughter, I don’t have much, but I will take care of her”. My mother’s head spun around a few times and my father stood up and shook his hand and said “you are a real man, a real man”. I am not sure if my mother’s head was still spinning or not. After all, I was a church raised girl, “living in sin”. We still got their blessing and I graduated from high school and married the same week! My mom came to love him as a son. We had a much larger wedding than either of us cared for. We didn’t need the “pomp and circumstance”, we only needed each other. And to this day it is still the same.
Since then, we have raised two beautiful children and have 3 lovely grandchildren. Watching them grow is a blessing unto itself.
To celebrate our anniversary in the early years, we started out with lavish gifts and very fancy dinners, but over the years have found that it means nothing. For starters, we only have ten fingers and don’t need more rings, and while we still travel every chance we get, it is not because it’s an anniversary, it’s because we want to go somewhere. Today we took a lovely drive and we may take another drive this evening, go out for dinner, but it does not need to be fancy.
The best way to celebrate love is to know that it is pure and simple. Enjoy simple things that you have always liked, and at the end of the day hold and love each other.
That’s what 31 years of love has taught us.