Stephanie and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary on Sunday. I've always liked the fact that it falls around Memorial Day because it provides a built in 3 day weekend to get away. Because we are heading to Hawaii in August, we did not plan a getaway this Memorial Day. Thanks to some free babysitting provided by my parents, however, we did play golf together and enjoyed a nice dinner.
We exchanged other gifts, but it was the sentiment shared in the cards we gave each other that was telling. We both expressed thanksgiving for the other through the ups and downs of life. We had some tremendous downs in our twelfth year of marriage, but the marriage itself only strengthened. The only way I know to describe being married to Stephanie is that she is a marriage artist. She takes what could be extremely difficult (putting up with me) and makes it look easy. That's what artists do. She loves and serves and puts great effort into making our marriage work.
Our anniversary and our lives were forever changed last Memorial Day when my sisters son Connor was killed in a car accident. This year it made for a weekend of celebration and sadness. But it also provided acute perspective that we often miss when giving thanks. As I thought about last Memorial Day, the phone call from my dad with the horrendous news that Connor was gone, the lonely trip home from Idaho, the collapsing into the arms of friends Stephanie had called to meet me at the airport, the outpouring of love, prayers and concern, the honest ways in which Lee Ann and Tod and their family continue to grieve, I hugged my own children a little tighter and little longer. I gave more sincere thanks for their health. I cherished life in a deeper way. I questioned things with a little more sincerity and a little less cynicism.
And we simply remembered the Con Man. That's an old picture of him below, but it's always been one of my favorites. It captures the sweetness that was at his core.The end of May will forevermore bring with it two anniversaries for us. One will provide new stories, new memories, new experiences, new things for which to be thankful and new things for which to ask forgiveness. As for the other, there will be no new memories, but there are plenty of good ones. And for that I am thankful.