Sunday, August 30, 2009

14 Years of Marriage, $40 bucks, and a hole in the ground.

In just a few days, my husband and I will celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary. We are many times blessed in that well after a decade of married life, we're still crazy about each other. I won't say my husband Greg is a saint as I recently learned in Julia/Julia this isn't a moniker to which macho men aspire. But let's just say there appears what looks suspiciously like a halo hovering over his head at times, especially when he's asking, "Would you like me to take the kids a park for a few hours so you can have some peace and quiet?"

So will we be jetting off to a tropical island or will I be opening an exquisitely wrapped robin's egg blue box of jewelry to celebrate our marital success? No. In fact, I'm not even expecting a $4 Hallmark card.

Awhile back we agreed we'd rather exchange letters than buy cards. And in the time it would take for my husband to leave work and walk three blocks to the closest Walgreens and search to find a card written by another that expressed his own thoughts, he has instead written me some lovely letters through the years, which I've kept and treasured.

My 14th wedding anniversary gifts are a garden bench and wrought iron outdoor lamp, both purchased off Craigslist for $40 and picked up by me this morning. Then there is the three foot deep hole in the ground to mount the large birdhouse that's been languishing in the shed. Greg started digging last night only to upset a wasp nest and got three stings for his troubles.

Some may question how romantic it is to pick out, much less pick up your own gifts. And doesn't a $100 bouquet of roses - a pure luxury - say romance more than a hole in the ground?

And I think the answer is, it really depends. I have girlfriends who treasure an expensive gesture - seeing the thought and effort that went into it. But the fact is I can go out to my own garden and gather a bouquet five times the size of any florist's and a $150 meal would pain me as I would mentally figure how many tulip bulbs that would have purchased.... I would vastly prefer a less expensive dinner where my husband and I could enjoy each other's company without the thought of an impending three figure bill handed to us after dessert.

But I am similar to my friends in seeing romance in terms of thoughtfulness and effort. My husband lets me sleep in most weekends; he still hold doors and my hand whenever we go out. Recently he tracked down the number of a client's mom who had been successful holding plant sales, something he knew I was interested in. He regularly tells the kids they're lucky to have me as their mom, he comes in the back door each night with a smile, even after a 12 hour day, and he tells me I'm beautiful so often I question why Loreal hasn't tracked me down for a modeling contract......

This morning Greg told me he was going to find our "mosquito jacket" so he could finish getting my bird house up. And as he dons his armor and faces that heavily armed swarm all for his lady's happiness, I know I chose well fourteen years ago. He truly is my knight in green, netted armor. And unlike an expensive bouquet that will wilt within days, his daily gestures of romance do indeed bloom year round. Thanks Greg for fourteen wonderful years and many more to come. I love you!

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