Happy Anniversary, Sugar Bear!

Us on 7-8-78   Photo by Richard Scardamalia

Us on 7-8-78, taken minutes after our wedding – Photo by Richard Scardamalia

Monday, July 8 is our 35th wedding anniversary, but by then we will both be back at work and I won’t have time to write this, so here goes.

It’s been a wild ride these past 35 years, one that took us from the University of Alabama (Roll Tide) where we met (playing in the Million Dollar Band together – though we wouldn’t actually date until later, after I had transferred to Spring Hill College, where we were married at St. Joseph’s Chapel and this picture was taken), to Florida, Virginia, Florida again, then Japan (together), survived his remote tour in Alaska and my basic training in Texas and tech school in Colorado.

We’ve been through births, deaths, tragedy and triumph.

There’s something to be said for someone who has seen you at your best, seen you at your worst, and loves you anyway.

I am grateful to have had him by my side all of these years.

I know current thought is marriage is impossible. We heard the same thing 35 years ago. When our daughter was in middle school, her teacher asked whose parents were still married. My daughter was the only one who raised her hand, whereupon the teacher told her that it wasn’t possible, that we were lying, that hardly anybody got married these days and absolutely no one who did actually stayed married.

To those of you thinking about getting married (or thinking about getting married again): A lot of people will tell you that marriage isn’t possible or even desirable these days when do your own thing reigns supreme. Don’t listen to those people. As in all fields, listen to the experts, those who have successfully done what you want to do. Fortunately for us, we grew up in families where successful marriages were the rule rather than the exception. We knew it was possible. We had seen it all our lives.

I say marriage is not only possible, but desirable. I am a much better person than I likely would have been left to my own devices. Looking back, even the rough times – maybe especially the rough times caused me to grow, to evaluate who I was, who we were together, and who we wanted to become.

It is a joy now to be with someone who knows me better than anyone else and loves me anyway, who encourages and supports me, who thinks I can do anything (and I think the same of him). Our outward shells have aged, but our hearts are still those starry-eyed 20-somethings we were on that hot summer day so many years ago. He was my knight in shining armor then, and he is still and I love him with all my heart.

This is the song he chose for our wedding Let It Grow by Renaissance. I hadn’t heard that song until he played it for me (he was a DJ on the college radio station back then) and said he thought of me every time he played it and hoped that would be our song. Of course it was and has always been.

Listening to it again, 35 years later, I am amazed and humbled to see that this is the story of our life together and I’m grateful.

Good call, Sugar Bear. Happy anniversary. Thanks for asking me into your life all those years ago. I don’t know what I’d do without you (and have no desire to find out).