Today is my wedding anniversary. We are celebrating 39 years together, the last several months of which have been spent at home. It is a different way of celebrating an anniversary for sure. I don’t go out if I can help it, so no card. Sorry, Hallmark, this pandemic must be affecting the greeting card business. Gifts are easily bought online. But for many years we have been making what we consider to be a large purchase for the house or each other. A big screen TV. An alarm system. Apple watches. iPads. Tickets to a Broadway show. A trip. Things that felt like luxuries to us.
This year, we are not doing that. We are not really buying anything. For one thing, no one has job security and it feels foolish to squander money when we are not sure if or when our income will change. There will be no going out to a fancy restaurant. Covid numbers have been spiking in Florida, especially in my neck of the woods, since our idiot governor and greedy county commissioners have pushed businesses to re-open. People are happy to be out and are not socially distancing and many aren’t wearing masks. I won’t go anywhere. We did takeout once since this whole mess started, for Mother’s Day. I’ll be cooking for our anniversary. I like to cook, it is my happy place.
June has long been a month of celebrations for my family, and I’m happy to say there are more reasons than ever to celebrate. Larry’s birthday kicks off the month, followed by our anniversary, Father’s Day, my daughter-in-law’s birthday and her and my son’s anniversary. Their first (!) anniversary is this month, and they are not taking the trip they had planned. I’m hoping we can Facetime or Zoom or something at some point this month, and celebrate together the only safe way we can. I will be working on arranging that.
Larry and I met in college. My roommates were friendly with his roommates, and we hung out a lot as a group. Within a few weeks, we started hanging out as a couple, and once we did, we became inseparable. We both fell pretty fast, and that was it for both of us. Within about six weeks, he told me he was falling in love with me. He was 19, I had just turned 17, and we’ve been together ever since. We’ve had our ups and downs over the years, of course, but honestly, it’s mostly been good. Sometimes, really great, like the birth of our children. Sometimes, really awful, like when Larry had some pain in his arm and a couple of days later had a quadruple bypass. He was 47 years old.
That was a big turning point for us. There’s nothing like a scare like that to make you rethink your priorities. To stop taking each other for granted. To appreciate every day you have together. Yes, every day isn’t like that but I like to think most days are. Larry’s always been a very easy going guy, rarely complains about anything, and it takes a lot to get him angry. On the other hand, I’m quick to anger (but also to forgive,) and I am definitely more, shall we say, a difficult personality. That said, he is always there for me no matter what, and I like to think I am always there for him as well. He probably wouldn’t disagree (no complaining, remember?)
I didn’t know how to cook when we first met. My mother was a single mom and worked and didn’t like cooking much. She made great chicken soup and chopped liver (from her mother-in-law’s recipes) but everyday dinners were either stew (I still hate any kind of potted meat to this day) or some sort of protein broiled until it was indistinguishable from any other kind of protein. Canned veggies. Instant mashed potatoes. You get the idea. I liked to bake, and she had a Good Housekeeping Cookbook that I would pore over. Once in a while, she would let me loose in the kitchen (she also hated messes and I am a very messy cook!)
When I met Larry, he didn’t really cook either but had grown up with a mom who was an amazing cook, and just by being around her, he picked up quite a bit. My mother-in-law gave me some simple recipes, and eventually, I learned how to cook. Larry was always supportive and somehow he always liked everything I made. It took me a long time to figure out that the only way to know if he really liked something was to ask him if I should make it again. Then, occasionally, he would say, “nah.”
Larry has made me laugh just about every day since we’ve been together. He can talk me down when I’m ready to jump. He has supported me and encouraged me in every way possible, no matter what. Want to stay home with the kids and live on one income? Sure! Want to work full time and go back to college, too? No problem! Need to drive 4 hours each way across the state to take a two-hour class? Why not! He has driven me to Tampa and Orlando for classes and conferences and has made it feel like we were taking a little vacation.
My favorite driving story is about when we were in college. I always wanted to go to school in Florida, but because I graduated high school early, my parents wanted me to stay in NY for a year, and that worked out because that is where I met Larry. He was going to transfer to a school in Florida, so he waited a semester for me to be able to transfer, too. He went to the Florida Institute of Technology and I went to the University of Miami. I didn’t have a car, but he had an old clunker. He drove down to Coral Gables every Thursday night to pick me up and brought me back to Jensen Beach to spend the weekend with him. Then on Sunday night, he drove me back to school. Once in a while, he stayed with me in Miami, but that was rare as he had a class on Friday. That was a five hour round trip drive twice a weekend. I always tease him that he wouldn’t do it today, but secretly I know he would.
During this pandemic, he has done all the shopping for stuff we couldn’t get delivered. He drove me to the oral surgeon and waited in the car (in 80+ degree weather!) while I had my surgery, just in case I wasn’t feeling well enough to drive home after. He calms me down when I see incredibly stupid people doing incredibly dangerous stuff on the news and I start yelling at the TV.
When we got married, I told him he would have one set of in-laws (my mom and her husband) and one set of “out-laws” (my father & his wife; turned out to be prophetic, we severed that relationship over 25 years ago.) Larry was a wonderful son-in-law, incredibly kind and patient with my mother (who was also a difficult personality,) and my step-father was his best friend. And I couldn’t have picked a better father for my children.
He’s not perfect, and God knows I’m certainly not, but he is perfect for me. To be honest, I don’t know how I got this lucky but I know that I am.
As always, thanks for reading and stay safe!