Here we are at “the tire place” because after all, isn’t that where you want to go on Valentine’s Day?

 

 

 

 

 

I should’ve known that on our 30th anniversary, we’d be doing something wild and crazy.

We are.

We’re spending it in or near a hospital.

My first warning that this was how all of our holidays would be spent should’ve been obvious when we first started out.

After all, EVERY TIME one of our kids were born, I was in the hospital!

You’ve heard the drill, at our house we celebrate holidays in, usually not so fun ways.

If we aren’t in or on our way to a hospital, you might find us at the tire shop, so far, we’ve done the tire thing for one birthday and one Valentine’s Day.

For giggles we spent National Smile day in the ER…while I was getting my lip stitched up.

We don’t even get bent out of shape when we don’t get to celebrate anymore.

In a way, it almost feels safer to just plan to spend our anniversary AT a hospital.

No seriously, if all goes well, I’ll be headed home when this posts.

This should be old hat for me. This will be my 12th or 13th surgery, and I think all have been because I was born a woman. (That should be enough to make me whip out one of those pink hats and call for equality, but I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else.)

Back to our anniversary.

30 years.

30 years ago, I KNEW how marriage worked. You say, “I Do” then ride off into the sunset to your happily ever after.

What I didn’t know was that there is always road construction.

“Exit here, the boss fired your husband.”

“Turn left here, your family needs you.”

“Warning cliff ahead, don’t move an inch or you’ll both fall over.”

My least favorite has been those hospital signs with the arrow, “Go this way to spend Christmas with….your dad…or your son…or your wife”

In all the twists and turns, and the times we stood on the edge of a cliff, I think we knew we’d get through it, but sometimes we weren’t sure.

Our incredible, sweet kids.

For the first 12 years of our marriage, it was spent bringing this wonderful group of humans into the world.

I have to admit, after our last baby was born, I was heartbroken that we had to stop with 6 babies.

As I look back, and see all the twists and turns our lives have taken, I give a sigh of relief that we made it. Mostly in one piece, warped in the humor department, but we made it.

However, I do not ever want to do any of it again.

I had a dream the other night that after this surgery we came home with a baby, hey, cut me some slack, half the time that I was in the hospital, that was the result.

But I remember in that dream being so upset. Then thinking, “But we are always happy to have another baby to bring home.” then I said in my dream, “We’re too old for this!” Ah, that.

I’m glad I married the guy I did.

When I look at a picture of us now, I see a lot of experiences shared together, a lot of sleepless nights, and tears, and misunderstandings then I also see a lot of fun, laughter and understanding yet more than all of that, I see love.

I know, cue the mushy music.

There were times that it would have been so easy to say, “It’s just not worth the hassle” and walk away.

I’ll be honest, there were times that I thought if I never laid eyes on Dean’s cute mug again, I’d be fine.

That thought was always followed by tears at the thought of never seeing Dean’s cute mug again.

I say all that to say this.

If you’re married, stay married*.

It’s not a walk in the park. It’s never always “happily ever after” but it is, rewarding to look back, smile, shed  a tear and sometimes shake your head at where you came from and where you are.

Sometimes we play the, “If this hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t have…” game. When we thought the worst thing in the world had happened, we were able to say, “But if that wouldn’t have happened…we wouldn’t have gotten to…which means we…and that led us to…!”

And in all of those time that seemed the hardest, there was never a doubt in my heart that Someone was directing our path. Someone was looking out for us. Someone cared about little ol’ us.

 

People forget to tell you that when you get married, if you are fortunate enough to stick together for 30 years, you’ll appreciate each other more than when you started out together.

You’ll find the person you didn’t know you had.

A college teacher once said that “You won’t be married to the same person after 20 years of marriage.” I thought he was nuts. But he was right. I like the married couple we are now much more than the one that started this trip together.

Somehow, we survived. Of course, a lot had to do with God and a weird sense of humor, no doubt too.

So again, 30 years. I still don’t know where the time went.

I’ll try to just sit back now and enjoy the ride and I can’t wait to see where the next round of anniversaries take us, and thanks Dean for, well, being you.

*Staying together: I understand there ARE times that you simply can’t, and I get that, sometimes the person you marries turns out to be a serial beater, drug addict, or cheater, I get that… I’m just saying, for most people, most of the time, you can make it work!