Still Going Strong through 34 Years of Trials and Joys

There’s nothing sweeter than being young and in love. Except of
course, being middle aged and still in love with the man you
married!
There’s nothing sweeter than being young and in love. Except of course, being middle aged and still in love with the man you married!

Mike was a fifth generation Californian and I had never left the state of Wisconsin when we met on a blind date 34 years ago.

Three months later, he flew back to the Dairy State and asked me to marry him. His only caveat being that I’d have to relocate to California. I liked him – and the idea of living where the sun always shines and the mosquitoes don’t bite – so I said yes.

Like most couples who’ve been together this long or longer, we’ve accumulated all kinds of memories through the years.

Some, really wonderful! Some, really difficult. But the majority of them revolve around routines, chores and homework.

We’ve also learned to accept and appreciate things about each other that we didn’t have time to learn before we said, “I do.” (i.e. That one of us is a big storyteller, and the other likes details told correctly. That one sees life through Pollyanna tinged glasses, and the other sees the glass as half empty. That one is a visionary, and the other excels at making dreams come true.)

We celebrated this year’s anniversary with a nice restaurant dinner and by reminiscing.

I brought up the wedding. How great it felt to lean on my dad’s arm and walk down the aisle while the organist played “Joyful, Joyful we adore thee.” I can still see my purple frocked bridesmaids and my smiling groom waiting for me at the altar.

We laughed about the reception out at Lake Nagawicka. My cousin played his cord-a-box sound system, and guests danced till they dropped.

Even for Wisconsin, it was incredibly hot and humid, so Mike and I sat on the air conditioning unit between polkas and twists and slow dances.

I retold my all time favorite dad-kid memory, the “giant’s lunch.”

Mike, the giant, started the game by taking the cushions off our couch and pretending they were pieces of bread.

After slathering the first cushion with mayonnaise, he’d slap some Matt-zerlla cheese on his fairy tale sandwich (3 year old Matthew).

Then, he’d add another piece of “bread.” After generously smearing mustard on that cushion, the giant reached for a piece of Baba-loney (2 year old Baby/Melissa).

He finished his fee-fie-fo-fum creation by adding the last slice of “bread.” Then, the big strong giant would grab all three cushions (and the children squished between) and stomp through the family room pretending to eat.

With their little red faces peeking between cushions, the kids would wiggle and giggle and squeal hysterically.

When the ever so brawny giant finally couldn’t carry and tromp and speak in trolleze any longer, he’d drop the sandwich, the bread and deli pieces tumbled apart, and the trio laid on the floor laughing till their sides hurt.

As soon as it started to get quiet, one of kids would beg, “Again, daddy, do it again.” In spite of his insistence that the giant was “way too tired,” he’d keep playing until I mercifully intervened or the characters didn’t have an ounce of laughter left.

I’m glad we met and married all those years ago. I’m glad we held steady through so many seasons.

It’s so nice to wake up next to my best friend, someone who’s been by my side for such a good chunk of life.

It’s nice to not have to explain everything. It’s nice that he knows when I’m hurt even if I’m not crying.

It’s nice to drive in silence for 200 miles not because we don’t have anything to say but because we don’t have to say anything.

We’ve been going through some hard times lately (not with each other but with circumstances), and the other day I heard Mike tell a friend, “Yea, things are tough right now but life goes on. Trials pass. Before you know it we’ll be back in good times.”

His simple prophecy had the power to ignite my very brightest Pollyanna smile.

You know, it really is true, two are better than one. If one falls, the other lifts up. If one is cold, the other warms. If one is attacked, the other defends.

For better or worse, rich or poor, in sickness and in health, till death us do part… Loving. Honoring. Cherishing.

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