"Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and as difficult as that."
I lived in an idyllic little cottage that was bursting with charm. I rented my little haven from my brother who owned this enchanting spot. The garden was as appealing to me as the house itself. Trees that had stood proudly for decades shaded much of the property like a protective covering. The rose garden in the front yard was my favorite feature, and made the house feel like home.
One weekend in June I had a garden party. I strung outdoor lights, and made every nook and cranny of the property as welcoming as I could. A fun mix of people were invited, and to my surprise and delight, almost all of them showed up. Except one. My date for the evening had met someone else, leaving me dateless at my own party.
There was a man who was invited by mutual friends of ours to come and join the festivities. He had two young sons, and one wasn't feeling well. He also had his young niece in tow. At first, he declined. But his mom stepped up and insisted he go. She even offered to care for the kids. Our friends' final nudge that there would be single women there, coupled with his mom's generous offer, brought this man to my doorstep.
Walking onto the property, he noticed me and asked his friends who I was. The husband of the two replied, "She's the one having the party. She lives here. She drives that new BMW. You don't want her...too high maintenance for you."
At about the same time, this man caught my eye. As he walked down my driveway, all I could think about was how incredibly handsome he looked. He was older than me. Clearly out of my league.
As the evening progressed, I became more and more drawn to this mystery man. He was gorgeous...and fun to talk with. I was struck by how someone so attractive could also appear so genuinely nice. His age and the early signs of grey near his temples intrigued me too. I'd never dated a man more than a couple years older than me.
As the party ended, I had only one thing on my mind. I was captivated by this man...and relieved my date had cancelled. The next day I found out that he'd asked for my phone number. I couldn't believe it. He was interested in me too.
That was twenty-eight years ago today. After our first date two weeks after we met, I told my dad, "That's the man I'm going to marry." My dad, always the protector, said, "No dear, you can't marry him. Date him all you want. But no marriage." My dad was looking past his good looks and kind spirit, and seeing the whole package. A man ten years older than me, divorced with two young children....and he wanted to shield me from so many possibilities that were playing out in his head, things that weren't even on my radar.
But two years (to the day) after we met, we were married in the same garden, surrounded by the roses in full bloom, under the covering of the beautiful tree where we'd first met. His two sons were by our side, and our family was born.
As it turned out, my husband and I had been following each other for most of my life. It began when I was two and he was twelve, and we lived across the street from one another. While I attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, he was living minutes away in a small town called Cayucos. We both resided on the same street on more than one occasion. Our lives seemed to have shadowed each other's until the timing was just right.
Happy Anniversary, honey. It's been a wild ride! But the best ones usually are. We've walked through so many seasons and stages together, along paths that have gone from peaceful to treacherous and everything in between. We've wrestled and we've compromised. Some of it has been breathtaking. Other parts have been excruciating. But through it all we've managed to hold on to the most important part ~ the thread that holds it all together and makes it all worth it ~ our unwaivering love and devotion. In the end, that's all that really matters.
Here's to the years we've shared, and the ones we have yet to spend together. "You've made me so very happy...I'm so glad you came into my life!"
"Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be."