Back in November of 2014, after Entrepreneur was diagnosed with renal cell cancer, doctors told us the average life expectancy was five years after diagnosis. After his brain surgery to remove a renal cell-related cancer tumor in 2017, I remember thinking if we could just get to our 38-year anniversary, I’d be happy; 39 would be amazing; 40 would be a gift. And, I’m not going to lie, there was a time when he was battling chemotherapy and Bells Palsy where I just wasn’t sure he was long for this world. But, here we are in 2020 and he’s still kickin’, and looking pretty darn good, considering the mileage. We ARE celebrating our 40th anniversary and I couldn’t care less that it’s in the middle of a pandemic.
But let’s start at the beginning. A long time ago at a university far, far away……there was this city girl from Kansas City, Missouri, who met this country boy from Lohman, Missouri. They dated throughout college and decided in 1980 it was time to get married.
The minister at country boy’s church counseled them beforehand and confided to country boy’s mom he didn’t think the marriage would last because their backgrounds were sooooo different.
But, city girl’s dad walked her down the aisle on July 26, 1980.
And boy, did that minister turn out to be wrong.
So began our journey together. For better or for worse; for richer or for poorer; in sickness and in health……..
No one truly understands or comprehends those words when they say them in the moment. There’s no way to anticipate what type of road lies ahead; whether it will be a smooth, flat highway or one filled with detours, curves and potholes big enough in which to lose a car.
Anniversaries are time for reflection and this is a big one. I have little confidence we’ll see 50 years together so each year now is going to be filled with gratitude and thankfulness for the good, the bad and the ugly times.
It’s true, in the beginning, we were both mentally unprepared and ill equipped for what we’d gotten ourselves into. After all, we were only 22 years old, fresh out of college with an idealistic view of what the future held. I like to think of that time as our rookie season. Life came at us fast and hard.
Over the next four decades, we moved nine times; oversaw the building of two houses; Entrepreneur changed jobs six times; we raised two daughters to be functional adults; shared our lives with six fur babies and currently have two under roof. Between us, we’ve weathered back surgery, two rotator cuff surgeries, knee surgery, a nephrectomy (kidney removal), and brain surgery. Add in six months of Bells Palsy and 18 months of chemotherapy for good measure. We’re also co-parenting two grand girls.
Over four decades I’ve learned two very important lessons. One is you don’t have to say EVERYTHING you’re thinking, and the second is to never assume the other person knows WHAT you are thinking. Keep these two things in mind and it’s a smoother ride. Of course, sharing the same faith worldview, providing encouragement, offering forgiveness, showing empathy and having a sense of humor goes a long way as well.
In four days, by the grace of God we will have made it to 40 “officially married” years together. We’ve come a long, long way from those two very green, twenty-two-year-old children who thought they could and should conquer the world. We’ve experienced life lessons together and learned a lot about each other and ourselves. Like I said….the good, the bad and the ugly. Facing cancer put a lot of things into perspective and brought priorities front and center.
Whatever happens in the future now, I’m thankful and grateful for the journey we’re taking together.
Linking up with Brian’s Home for Thankful Thursday.