So 23 years ago we met. But 15 years ago today she walked down the splendorous center aisle of the Muleshoe Church of Christ as I sang “I Will Be Here” (a capella, of course) with what little breath I was able to muster up. She was simply taking it away. It helped a little to have my sister, Vicki, making faces at me from the back of the sanctuary.
Many of the faces in attendance that day are a bit of a blur to me now. I know many people traveled hundreds of miles to this little garden spot with one foot in West Texas and the other in the Panhandle and I appreciate their effort to attend. I suppose, however, the faces that stand out even more are the ones we no longer see and in a strange way those faces that were mere suggestions that day because they say more about what Kendra and I have experienced together as a married couple.
We have lost Vicki, but a strong memory is still that of her smirking at me during the wedding. We have lost Kendra’s Dad, but a strong memory is still that of him tackling me as the photographer took pictures of me removing the garter from Kendra’s leg at the reception. We have lost my Grandma Edie, but a strong memory is still that of the ushers forgetting to escort her out at the end of the ceremony as she sat there looking alone and somewhat confused. We have lost Kendra’s Grandma Clydetta and Grandpa George and MeeMaw but we still she them as we look through the wedding album. And then I see the faces of our kids as they look at pictures from that day and wonder what kind of lessons they are learning or seeing modeled in our home.
The jury is still out on that one and I suppose they will spend more time overcoming examples from their dad rather than implementing them. But one message I really hope gets through is that I love their mom. And even though I was all awestruck and soupy-eyed (not sure what that means, but I was) on the day of our wedding, I can honestly say that 5,477 days later (including leap years) I love her even more.
So, what began as a chance meeting at camp 23 years ago…
And became a marriage of 15 years or 5,478 days (and counting)…
Is being celebrated today, by no one more than me.
The traditional gift for 15 years is crystal and I tried to give Kendra a trip to see the crystal blue waters of Maui. The modern gift is a watch and she has given me the gift of some wonderful times. That may sound cheesy, but I couldn’t ask for anything more.
So bring on 5,000 or 10,000 or 15,000 more days and I’ll do my best to see each one as a gift. I am not so naïve as to suggest that I considered each of the past 5,477 to be so at the time, looking back I know they were. And so, I am looking forward to those to come.
Happy Anniversary, Kendra. I love you.