Redefining 18

We celebrated our 18th anniversary over the weekend. Actually, it would be more factual to say that our 18th anniversary was this past weekend. There was little in the way of celebrating. Sam had to work, I attended a baby shower, life happened. We did go out to eat, just the two of us, and it was nice. And before you wonder about the state of our marriage, I'll just say that we're not the celebrating kind. Nor really the romantic kind. Our marriage is just fine; stronger after 18 years than it was that day we pledged our vows to each other. As it should be, of course.

But we've been married for 18 years. I am having a hard time grasping this. I think of an 18 year marriage and I think an older couple, he with graying hair at the temples, she with a good colorist. I think of a couple who sips coffee together over the newspaper before he runs off to the office and she runs to the grocery store to restock the creamer. I think of a couple whose children are nearing graduation, and they've applied to college already, and there's a savings account set up to cover that expense. I think of a yard with a white picket fence and tire swing sadly dangling from the tree in the front yard, neglected these many years.

I have a hard time with the fact that we've been married for 18 years because that couldn't be further from who we are. We are the couple with  kids ranging from teens to toddlers. We are the couple whose house is in disarray from morning to night because of the chaos constantly happening underfoot. We are the family who is always out of milk despite always being at the store. We have four kids in four different schools because something easy just wouldn't suit us well. We have no fenced yard, and the trampoline gets a workout daily.

We do not have gray hair, and for that I'm both grateful and amazed.

I cannot pair us with 18 years of marriage. The two just do not seem compatible. And yet it's true. Just today I was busy upstairs, and was greeted with a scene downstairs that normally makes me sigh with exhaustion. The trail of toys across the living room. The movies all over the floor. The dress up clothes scattered in the hallway. The counters cluttered. The doors to the patio wide open.

Today I smiled. I wouldn't trade our chaotic, unorthodox 18 years of bliss for the world. Not even for a clean house. That would mean that we wouldn't have kids, and that kind of life in the Rocking Pony home would just not be right.

I am redefining what 18 years of marriage should look like. Happy is in. Boring is out. Thank you, Sam, for remaking my life something that I could never have achieved alone. It's been simply wonderful.


Annette W. said...


Not everyone is the celebrating romance type...and it's good that you are both on the same page! We are pretty low key, too, but do try to go away each year for a night or more without children...since we never go on dates.

No gray hair? Wow. Aren't you lucky! My hair is noticeably graying (I have started dying it), and Derek's is noticeably missing on top (and he's only 30...I'm 34).

wendy said...

Happy Anniversary!

(Keri) Auburn Gal Always said...

Happy Anniversary and Congratulations to you both!

Today is our 18th anniversary. He has a badly hurt back and has been nursing it by lying around, but tried to do more today (yes, too much too soon and paid for it tonight with a revisit of pain). I took the kids to church and then reheated chili and rotel cheese dip for lunch. After that, I dashed off to pick up my (new) camera which I had sent off for warranty repair. We picked up my favorite wings (Wing Stop) and took them to eat with our closest friends/his uncle and aunt and grandmother.

You know what? It was an AWESOME SUPER DUPER WONDERFUL DAY. The sermon and music was a very personal message to me filled with hope and love and reassurance and faith. We both realize that BECAUSE of his back pain, we've grown closer to each other and TO GOD. We are both more patient and loving and careful and attentive.

THAT'S a good marriage!

ps - my sister-in-law's house is always clean. she has 4 kids. she never sleeps. the clean house doesn't make her happy. it just makes her tired. i'd rather sleep.

Michelle said...

Awwww! I love that post! Happy Anniversary to you :)

And 18 years? Man, either you'd have genius kids or be a little ahead of the curve if they're already heading to college. Be grateful for where you are!

Brandie said...

Happy Anniversiary! Ours is tomorrow, 14 years. I can relate to thinking what things "should" look like and comparing to the reality!

JennyH said...

Happy 18 years!!

Debbie @ Three Weddings said...

We celebrated 18 years this year too! And I don't have any gray hairs, either. Anymore. Hee hee.