To have and to hold…

So today Todd and I (and our whole family, really) celebrate 14 years of wedded bliss. (Well, I’m not sure if every second of every day was bliss, but ‘for better or worse’ really strikes a chord, now doesn’t it?) In any case, our life together started out in a whirlwind from our wedding day dance floor debacle, one that my parents bring up every year when calling to wish us a happy anniversary. It goes something like this: “Do you remember that uneven dance floor at your wedding reception? (snickering) It’s a good thing you were so adamant about no alcohol at the reception or we would have had some injuries (additional snickering)!” to which I usually respond, “No, actually, because you keep bringing it up every year about this time, Dad.”) It continued with our honeymoon debacle which left us first cabin-less and then hotel-less, thanks to an uninhabitable hut and a soccer tournament respectively, until a hotel manager in Battle Creek, MI of all places took pity on us at 3:30am and gave us a room for free. This is a great story with an even funnier video that we made because we just knew no one would really believe that cabin story without video to back it up. But that’s fodder for another post.

Since I have a good memory for dates and Todd doesn’t, our anniversary tradition of reminiscing about anniversaries past seems slightly more one-sided than it should be, but Todd has warmed up when it comes to rehashing “the good ole days.” I thought I’d chronicle the first 14 years of how we’ve spent June 15 together…

6/15/97 Our first anniversary. We were living in Korea at the time and I was pregnant with Hannah. It was a hot summer, but all the summers there are hot. Additionally, at least when we lived there, air conditioning was something to be used wisely. They had stand-up units very similar to our window units, but Koreans were careful not to have them on continuously. Once we were in a movie theater and were forced to watch a PSA (in Korean) that told the tragic story of a young woman who just wanted to find relief from the hot summers, so she used her A/C continuously until she got “cold sickness,” the not-quite-deadly ailment that caused one to miss work and feel lousy. (I think they mistook feeling “cool” for feeling “lousy.”) After barely surviving her “cold sickness,” she learned her lesson so much so that the last scene of the short film showed her riding in a car with her windows down and her head hanging out the window much like you’d see a dog. Keep the A/C on for no more than two hours per day, we were warned.

So, to make a long story even longer, it was hot and I was big. But it was our first anniversary, so we planned to take the first class train from Taejon to Seoul for the day, do some shopping and have dinner at a Western restaurant to celebrate the day. Our train tickets were for some early time before 9am I think, so we started out early, but made a fatal error that would change the events of our trip. Early into our lives in Korea, we were cheap–even cheaper than we are now, which is saying a lot. In order to save some money that day, we opted to take a city bus to the train station instead of pay what would essentially have amounted to $2-5 more to take a taxi. About 30 minutes into our bus ride (which involved a transfer, I think; that or we got on the bus going the wrong direction and in so doing ended up taking the scenic route to the train station), it was evident that we were going to miss our train.

When we finally arrived at the station, we weren’t that late, but when the train has already left, it really doesn’t matter whether you’re 2 minutes late or 27, you know? Todd began negotiating with the ticket attendant in his less-than-broken Korean and the attendant responded in his less-than-broken English, and we found out that first class on the next available train was full, and in fact there was just one seat left in coach. We took it, and Todd ended up standing for the hour and a half train ride into Seoul, which now doesn’t sound that bad, but at the time, we spent that 90 minutes rehashing how we should have just taken a taxi. Good ole hindsight.

The day in Seoul was uneventful (which was good), and we capped off our evening at a luxurious dinner at Bennigan’s of all places. When you live overseas, you take what you can get. Plus, we left the Super Excellent Night Club (not making up the name; I have pictures to prove it) in Taejon in search of something a little more super…and a little more excellent. I wish I had a picture of us at dinner that our waitress took, because in it I am wearing the most hideous outfit ever donned by a woman with child, sent to me by my own mother: it was a pair of white denim short overalls with tiny purple flowers all over them. Absolutely hideous.

After dinner, we rode the train back home to Taejon station and probably took the bus back to our apartment. Some people never learn.

6/15/98 By the time our second anniversary had rolled around, we had welcomed Hannah into our family and had returned to the USA. We had just moved into our first house in the States, a small house in Lexington that we still have today. This anniversary was fairly uneventful, and we asked Nonnie and Papa to watch Hannah while we dined at The Mansion at Griffin Gate. Todd has something daring, like antelope or –something that ended with “medallions” in the description. It was a fancy dinner out to celebrate being married for two entire years. We were probably home before 10.

6/15/99 At year three’s end, we had two children to our name, having added Patrick on April Fool’s Day two months previously. Naturally, as new parents of two are wont to do, we went out to dinner and talked about the kids we left at home. For some reason, I remember my sister-in-law Laura did my hair for the evening. (Thanks, Laura!) We ventured to the Merrick Inn that year and followed dinner by taking in a deep movie for the ages: Austin Powers 2. Serioulsy!?!

6/15/00 Our fourth anniversary was by far the most bittersweet of our years together so far. Only 7 short days earlier, we had given birth to our son Rowan Thomas, who was stillborn. Somehow, however, we felt we needed to keep the occasion of our anniversary and so we went out for a quiet dinner at The Homestead. In an irony (or maybe not so much of one), we happened to dine in the same room as our midwife and two other doctors from that practice.

6/15/01 “Though sorrow may last for the night, joy comes in the morning!” We had gone through a lot in the year, and for our 5th anniversary, I was yet again great with child–the same child who has a birthday only four days after our anniversary, if that gives you any indication of just how great I was. Since I was having contractions pretty much constantly by this point without actually being in labor, you can probably imagine how excited I was at the thought of dressing up and going to an upscale restaurant. Not. so. much. Thankfully, I have a husband all too willing to save a few bucks here and there. He’s also heard of a great burger joint in downtown Lexington that was supposedly phenomenal. This was before we had a GPS, so we actually looked up the intersection on a map. Feeling like he could wing it from there, we proceeded to spend the next hour and a half driving in circles in less-than-reputable parts of our city in search of a restaurant that placed ads on the radio but somehow didn’t exist. We never did find it, but imagine if you will a 39 week pregnant woman who has been deprived of food for an hour or so and you’ll get a taste of how our conversation in the car went that evening.

So how did we end up spending our 5th anniversary? We had extra value meals at McDonald’s (and Todd even bought me a lemon pie for “dessert”) and then went to see Shrek in the theater. Wahoo.

6/15/02 A mere short year later and here we were, pregnant again. (Hey, you can’t fit 6 kids into a family in 10 years without being pregnant every now and again. I just happened to be pregnant both now AND again!) My parents came down for a visit to celebrate Brendan’s first birthday, and while they were there, they offered to watch the kids for us so we could take an overnight trip. Before we left, we had an appointment for our 20 week ultrasound, when we found out that #4 would actually be named Benjamin Quinn. After that joyous news, Todd and I traveled up to Cincinnati and stayed in a hotel and wandered around the city, trying to remember how to act without kids biting at our ankles. We had a good overnight trip and returned ready to celebrate Brendan’s birthday, and get started on year #7.

6/15/03 Having kids close to your anniversary almost ensures that out of town parents will be around to serve as babysitters (at least for a few years), and this year was no exception, but hey, I wasn’t pregnant! My mom and dad were here, so they once again offered to watch the now four children so we could go out. For our 7th anniversary, we opted to stay close to home and went to the Red Mile buffet and watched some horse races. Todd wanted to enjoy the crab legs, which if I remember correctly, were quite crabby. Being allergic to shellfish renders me incapable of offering a review. In fact, going to an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet is pretty much a waste of time if you’re allergic. The salad and desserts were delicious, though!

This has taken much longer than I expected, so I’m going to have to leave the remaining years for another day.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. guinever
    Jun 17, 2010 @ 19:19:47

    I really enjoyed reading this; I can’t wait to read about the rest of your anniversaries. I can’t believe you remember what you did every year.


  2. Maria Gowin
    Jun 18, 2010 @ 11:48:51

    I love this!! You sure know how to tell a story! 🙂 Happy belated anniversary!


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