We tend to celebrate the big milestones and the decade birthdays a lot more than those that occur in-between, don't we?
Prior to our 25th anniversary, I cut through the tape and pried open the sealed box that has been preserving my wedding dress.
I rustled around in this beloved dress for a while in my closet, stirring up memories and emotions as I smoothed out the wrinkles and shifted in the weight of its fullness.
We shared a few laughs as our children saw me in it for the first time, giving them a rare glimpse of a moment into their parents' past. It was silly and sweet and sentimental all squished together.
My hubby and I opted out of an anniversary party, looking forward to a "just us" trip to Europe instead.
That 25-year milestone of marriage carried a special weight of emotional significance and tingled with the anticipation of crossing this relationship threshold.
We had a wonderful adventure, culminating in a fabulous anniversary dinner at the Jules Verne Restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. As we lingered over a decadent 4-course meal, we reminisced about our relationship journey and felt so blessed that the Lord entwined our hearts in those tender teenage days to withstand all the changes and challenges we'd navigate throughout the years ahead.
That lovely trip honored a quarter-century of marriage and provided us with a "highlight reel" of memories to cherish.
Now we're a few years past that once-in-a-lifetime trip, wading through the non-glamourous monotony of Covid-19 days. We don't have a sparkly grand finale to mark another year of marriage.
Today we are celebrating our 28th anniversary. It feels like one of those in-between events that doesn't get a lot of hype, especially during a pandemic that has squashed a lot of celebratory gatherings. Yet it represents another 365 days of daily decisions moving in stride together, making up the bed and following up on lingering conversations from the day before. It represents 52 weeks of attending church and school events, navigating work/deployment schedules, and getting the grocery shopping done again. It represents 12 months of managing household finances, investing in our kids' development on a variety of emotional levels, and holding hands at the dinner table.
Some of our most treasured moments are those that happen on regular days during ordinary activities.
We might capture the moment with a photo; we might not. Yet it's those moments that connect our hearts a little closer and get us to that next milestone.
It's the spontaneous laughter that erupts with our kids doing we're-not-quite-sure-what, but gives us all a cozy feeling of belonging.
The in-between is filled with humor, silly texts, frantic calls about plumbing leaks, and shuffling through our sons' schedules at back-to-school nights.
It's the miles traveled to get to destinations for family vacations, funerals, and college dorm move-in days. It's all the micro decisions we make together in-between here and there.
It's all the processing we do we together in-between an opportunity presented and a final decision made.
Showing up for each other day after day builds that foundation we can land on when the going gets tough. It's the solidarity of being together in between a rock and a hard place.
Giving each other space in the daily routine allows for more pulling together when the losses hit particularly hard.
Reaching out for the other's hand, closing that space in-between, is a sweet reminder of "I've got you!" when things feel overwhelming.
Mundane conversations of the daily details of life keep the communication lines tuned up for the times we have to engage in the hard, heart-wrenching talks to squeeze through to the next hurdle.
Praying one verse at a time over our marriage helps solidify this contract we uphold between us. Gentle words and kind actions help soften the ground in-between us.
Many of these pandemic days seem surreal. Yet being in prolonged limbo has given us a chance to pause, to catch our breath, to realize how much we're actually living in the in-between. We aren't fast-forwarding to the next milestone or even counting on the typical fall transitions.
Right now, folks. This is what we've got. This is what it's all about.
So, we're taking a few moments today to reflect on our "wedding birthday" (as our boys used to call our anniversary) from the first to this one, grateful for the tenderness and strength we've gained in the gritty in-between.
Happy 28th anniversary, hon! I'm grateful to have you beside me through the highs and lows, and especially everything in between!