We’ve come a long way

Each year Gary and I edge a little closer to our 100th wedding anniversary. The word “edge” is key here.

The date we pledged to have and to hold and to refrain from going ballistic over the littlest of nothings falls on Friday this year. We may celebrate by having dinner at a swanky restaurant. We may stay home and watch Jeopardy! Or, we may do both. We haven’t decided.

Gary and I have come a long way from the two teenagers who were allowed to go to the drive-in theatre only if they took her seven-year-old brother along. He joined us—every time—and we gave him a fistful of cash to visit the concession stand as often as he pleased.

We’ve come a long way from the two 20-year-olds who stood at an Alabama payphone booth holding a dollar’s worth of dimes. We called an apartment complex after apartment complex to find a place to live—after the place we thought we had rented was, well, not livable.

We’ve come a long way from the fresh-faced young couple that was “carded” upon ordering a glass of wine on their first anniversary. We had survived an entire year of marital craziness; wine earned.

We have also come a long way from the two young parents who bought a giant old house that a friend walked through and declared, “Well, you’ve gone and got yourself a money pit.” Still, with a lot of love and updates here and there, we turned that house into a home.

When I think about it, Gary and I could observe myriad milestones that occurred within each married year. There’s the anniversary of the day we became each other’s emergency contacts.

There’s the first time I called him about a problem instead of calling my mother—big, HUGE.

We should celebrate the day I wrote “McCutcheon” as my surname without hesitation. That one took almost a year. Going from one-syllable “Raikes” to three-syllable “McCutcheon” was no easy feat.

We don’t think about it anymore, but it was a meaningful moment when Gary’s soap brand became my soap brand and my toothpaste became his. It was an even bigger deal when we graduated from one car to two. Though, sharing one car between husband and wife is a way of teaching a couple the art of sharing.

The scary day we opened our own veterinary clinic was a major milestone in our marriage. The black and white newspaper photo of the ribbon-cutting shows a pregnant whale of me in a tent dress with a toddler on her hip.

At closing time on our second day of business, we had $6.00 in the cash drawer, as in six-dollar bills. Now, that’s worth celebrating. That and the fact that I lasted five whole months as the receptionist before my loving husband fired me.

I’d say we should honor the anniversaries of each of our three children’s births, but we do that already. We call them “birthdays.” The number of candles on their cakes is quickly growing to fire-hazard status.

When it comes to our kids, we should stop celebrating birthdays in favor of whooping it up on the days each of them went off our payroll. Hallmark does not make cards for that momentous occasion, but it should. Better still, I should design “Off the Payroll” greeting cards and patent them.

I don’t recall our first married fight and would not commemorate it if I did. Better to celebrate our first married peace-making event after just such a war.

Our wedding invitation read: “This day I will marry my friend, the one I laugh with, live for, dream with, love.”

We remain true to those words. Let the merriment begin.

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