Did you know the “gift” for your 44th anniversary is groceries? Yep, right between 43rd: trips, and 45th: sapphire. Today is our tenth anniversary, and let’s just say I don’t think I’ll be receiving diamond jewelry, and that’s ok. I’ve lived a lifetime of daily diamonds alongside the person who has been my friend every day, as far back as preschool. So, I’m going to share some of our stories – don’t worry, not the lovey dovey stuff – the kind of stories you can only get by sharing your ENTIRE lifetime together.
Elvira and Sunkist – conjure any memories for you? For us, it takes us back to “The Farm Country Club” – for you out-of-towners, it’s not exactly a farm, but not exactly a country club either. But it is where our families took us as kids to swim, play pool, shuffle board, and ping pong, listen to the jukebox, and create lasting memories. One time he showed me a trick in the pool where he floated on top of a beach ball, and he would make it pop out his “dookie.” I showed my mom the same trick, got a raised eyebrow when I said “dookie,” but messed up the trick and the ball popped out my side, so I recovered by saying, “Yeah, my stomach!” Elvira was a favorite on the jukebox, and Sunkist was our drink of choice. To this day we can’t hear Elvira or taste Sunkist without instantly being transported to those days. Flash forward to our wedding, also held at The Farm, and my hubs-to-be threatened to change the wedding march to Elvira. I was mortified at the thought, but I think it actually would have been hilariously perfect!
Noah’s Arc – this was our preschool. I couldn’t tell you what I wore for Halloween, but he was Batman. One of our teachers was Mrs. Apple. I cried one time because I didn’t get to stand in line next to the other boy I liked. He tried to point out, “It’s ok, you can stand by me.” Apparently that wasn’t what I wanted to hear, because I cried harder. (Sorry, babe, but I came around!) Our girls both later attended Noah’s Arc, so now it’s a family tradition. We’re alumni.
The Shop – my parents’ business, where we both spent a lot of time, because he lived right down the road. I remember eating popsicles while twirling in the tall front desk chairs, until his crashed to the ground. I remember walking to his house to visit, and as the story goes, I tripped and fell into a mud puddle. He cracked up until realizing I was crying, and then he started crying, too. I remember another visit when he showed me his collection of Michael Jackson tapes. I remember walking behind The Shop, behind my grandma’s house, to the creek, and wondering if he might ever wander down to the creek as well.
The Playground – he’ll kill me for this one. We had two large playground forts, and for some reason we had boys days and girls days on each. One ill-fated boys’ day on the big equipment, my sweet skinny toe-head in a red tank top and black and red bike shorts (oh yeah, bike shorts.) decided to show off (he claims) for me – and ended up…there’s no easy way to put this. He racked himself on the gymnastics bar. I remember when it happened and I remember when he returned to class and was obviously in pain. The good news is, we have two beautiful girls, so no permanent harm done!
The Bus – we always rode the same bus after school. Even when he moved from the house that was right down the road from The Shop, the bus route changed to include his new house. Weird, huh… Many memories were made on that bus, but mostly it was two young elementary kids watching older “cool” kids. Sometimes we would sit together, and I remember one time a bump in the road made him bang his head against the window, and because I laughed, he repeated it on purpose over and over again. I kind-of feel bad about that.
The Adams Family – 7th grade. We were “going together,” which is what our generation called being an actual couple. His mom took us, along with another couple who was “going together” to see The Adams Family movie. This is classic. I don’t even know if I spoke to him, because when you’re actually “going together,” forming words directed at the other person is next to impossible. We girls got some seats, and the boys got refreshments. My dashing young boyfriend returned, tripped in the aisle, and threw popcorn all over me! I had grease stains all over my sweet new jacket with The Shop’s logo embroidered on it. I love this story.
Baseball Days – he was a Sophomore on Varsity, and I was one of the managers. This basically means I had the good fortune to ride the bus and stare at all the cute baseball players. He had his license already, so before every game we would go drive around town and get convenient store candy to bring on the bus. Usually, Big Red and Peach Rings. (Another instant trigger memory.) The other boys on the team used to rearrange the Velcro letters of his name on his jersey to make a…uh, new name. (I’ll just say, swap the D and the P….) It’s still funny, even now that it’s my name, too!
Prom – Junior year. We didn’t actually go to Prom together, but we were both class officers and had to take practice pictures to test out a photographer. Pretty sure we got Big Red and Peach Rings on this trip, too. We got all dressed up – fancy dress and tuxedo, the works. So we now have a keepsake – us, arranged in the typical high school prom pose, standing on lovely astroturf flooring, flanked by two white columns laced with red roses. It looks believable!
The Necklace and The Note – our moms knew even back then. I worked with his mom my senior year of high school, and one day she brought me a folded piece of notebook paper. Scribbled on the top was a 4 year old’s “cursive,” and drawn below it was a heart with our names in it. She had kept it since we were in preschool, and she told me, pointing to the loops, “I think that says, ‘I love you.'” We were far from dating at that point, so it was funny that she decided to show me. I got home and told my mom, and she went to her jewelry box and got a necklace made of metal shell-shaped balls that had a faded gold coating. I remembered it, vaguely. He had given it to me in preschool and my mom had kept it after all those years. At our wedding, my aunt used these items, along with our 4 year old class picture, with us standing next to each other, in a shadow-box type arrangement. It was a hit with all the guests.
Ok, it might get a little lovey dovey now, sorry.
The Hug – March 10, 2000. He threw a party at his family ranch. At one point we hugged and neither of us let go. We knew. And so did everyone else, who noticed “the hug.” After all the guests left, we stayed up until 4:00 am, talking about all of these memories from our unique past. The following day I skipped out on flying to Colorado for my family’s spring break ski trip, and spent the week at home instead. (That wasn’t easy to ask my parents!)
The Proposal – December 15, 2001. We booked a weekend at the Adam’s Mark hotel in San Antonio to celebrate my college graduation. His mother had given him the diamonds of her wedding ring from when she was married to his father, and he had them made into a wedding ring set for me. I think his plan was to propose at dinner, but he was too anxious and woke up early in the morning, and told me he wanted to wake up next to me every day. He asked me to marry him, and I said yes.
The Big Day – June 29, 2002. We returned to The Farm and were married on the shuffle board slab. If rain on your wedding day is good luck, then we have proved the exponential power of the flood we received. We are beyond blessed.
I think we’ll celebrate today with some Sunkist and introduce our girls to a new song…