The Ghost of Anniversaries Past

Today is my ninth wedding anniversary. I think that’s a pretty good accomplishment and worth celebrating. Honestly, in our culture, every anniversary is worth celebrating, don’t you agree?

This morning I took Sam and Gracie and my shopping lists and coupon box and all the patience I could muster and went grocery shopping. Ah, the glamour of my life. As I drove I couldn’t help but think about my wedding day, which was picture perfect and one of the sweetest memories of my life. And that got me reminiscing about our past wedding anniversaries and the Great Fun we have had. Oh, the Great Fun.

For a few years we actually got away for our anniversaries. Our second anniversary we stayed in a hotel only a few miles from our house, but we had such a great time that it still sticks out in my mind as one of the best. Our fourth anniversary we were on our way home from the most ridiculous pointless trip to Wisconsin in the history of the universe, and we stayed in Minneapolis and went to Red Lobster really late at night and they brought us enough Cheddar Bay biscuits to feed a small country or a group of tenth-grade boys. On the way home there were thunderstorms and tornado warnings but we kept pressing on because that was the longest we had ever left Ryan at that point.

We spent a couple anniversaries in or around Omaha when the boys were babies, which weren’t really spectacular since we’ve kind of done Omaha to death, but hey, at least it was just me and Art and all the deep, deep romance you can have ordering pizza hut and watching whatever movie is on cable at your hotel.

Last year we didn’t have money for a hotel, but we planned a nice evening out on our anniversary only to have the babysitter get sick at the last minute. So we took the boys with us out to dinner at Applebee’s and really really wished we hadn’t.

But nothing compares to our first anniversary.

We decided to celebrate our first year of marital bliss with a camping trip. My parents loaned us their old tent, and we loaded the cooler with hot dogs to cook on the fire and steaks to grill. We piled everything into our Plymouth Horizon and journeyed southward to the campsite one of my coworkers had recommended.


Iowa has tree issues, at least when it comes to camping. They will find a perfectly lovely patch of forest, and instead of putting in a trail and a bunch of campsites, they will chop everything down and plant grass. I guess Iowans just really like grass. It’s like camping in a soccer field. No privacy, nothing interesting to look at, and definitely no feeling that you are getting away from it all. In fact, we found ourselves closer to “it all” than usual when a family of foul-mouthed rednecks moved in across the way from us. They blared their offensive music and screamed profanity at each other pretty much the entire time they were there.

I had put so much ice in the cooler that all our meat froze into one solid block and we ended up eating in town for several meals.

We both got incredibly sunburned. It was bad.

And then, on our last night there, it rained. And guess what? Our tent wasn’t actually waterproof. Art slept soundly on his side of the leaky air mattress while I got dripped on by cold water for a few hours. Finally I woke him up, told him I was done, and started to load the car. We got home about 2:30 in the morning, sunburned, wet, and with an icy block of meat still occupying the cooler.

The good news is that after that amazing first anniversary experience, Art and I can handle anything. We have no expectations and are pleasantly surprised when things go well.

Saturday night we had a babysitter over so we could go on a hot date. We went to see the new Star Trek movie, which was cool, but still, it was Star Trek, not a romantic trip to, I don’t know, the symphony or something. We had dinner at a barbecue joint that gave Art indigestion for three days afterward. And we rounded out our evening with a trip to Target so I could use my mad couponing skills to buy salad dressing for $.09.

This morning was chaos getting everyone out the door. Art went to class, Ryan went to school, and Sam and Grace and I went to do the grocery shopping in the gusting wind. This afternoon Art is getting a haircut and I was diagnosed with pinkeye. Tonight we will eat hamburgers and I will fold laundry and we will probably watch some TV, then go to bed early because Gracie didn’t let me sleep much last night.

The good news is that this anniversary is still way better than that camping trip was.

And the even better news is that we have something to celebrate– nine years, three kids, 7000 loads of laundry, and a whole lot of happily ever after in spite of everything.

Happy anniversary, sweetheart.


5 thoughts on “The Ghost of Anniversaries Past

  1. i’m totally peeing in my pants about the salad dressing!!!!!

    happy anniversary! hey, at least you DO something for yours, even if it is just order pizza in a cheesy hotel. LOL!

  2. Do you remember that same tent on our family getaway in Wisconsin, I think in 1994? Similar rain, similar leakage, similar great fun, but without the romance of an anniversary and with two eye-rolling teenage girls along. If you still have that tent, save it for Ryan – it’ll make him a great memory some rainy day.

  3. Ahhh – Memories of anniversaries past!! Aren’t they great!! We wish you and Art many, many more years of joys and memories!! Really loved the 1st anniversary story!!

  4. Happy anniversary, Erin! I had to smile while reading this post because our anniversaries are now similar to yours. It’s amazing, fun, scary and sad the way life changes sometimes but it’s an awesome ride! 🙂

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