So, I write this with a heavy heart. It is our anniversary today. November 6, 1991 during a long-distance phone call between Bear, DE and Reno, NV, I asked a girl to be mine. Oddly enough – 3200-miles away, and I’m asking her to be with me; not the best choice in the world, to me, but she said, “Yes.” Not sure why she did – after all, I was 17-years old, she was still in high school, I was freshly out, and was upset that my first-choice college had given me the shaft in terms of my financial aid. So, here I was, self-absorbed and angry, and, maybe a little obnoxious, but she still wanted to take that chance with me.
The past twenty-yaers have not gone without many challenges and obstacles. And, no, we’re not legally married (yet); that, in itself, has its own fair share of challenges that we are not ready to contend with financially, so it’s best for us this way – after all, it’s the American way these days, right? Through relationship variables, financial challenges, medical issues, and the trials and tribulations of parenting four-children, this relationship has definitively (and defiantly) gone to Hell and back again several times. Is it the fear of being lonely for either of us that we continue to demonstrate that love can conquer all and will do whatever it takes to prove that it can? Or is it something else that allows us to “keep on keeping on?” (as my relatives on the East Coast would say)
Our children, I’m sure, share a common thought, at times, when they hear the battle field open up and the voices excel in volume in verbal debate with one another. “Just STFU already and move on!” And they’ve heard this time and time again only to find out that whatever it was that set if all off diminishes very quickly and all is good again. I think it’s important for them to realize and witness that there HAS to be conflict in relationships in order for them to last remotely this long. Considering, the average American relationship is in turmoil in terms of its tenure. And it’s sad…sad that most American households break-up in divorce; through infidelity, through financial hardships, through irreconcilable differences that could have all been avoided IF there were “proper communication” in the relationship in the first place!
Communication isn’t a bad thing – really it isn’t! It’s hard, sometimes, to open up and say, “Hey, honey – I really need to be kissed a little more!” Or, “You know, you are being impossible to the point of not wanting to be around you!” Or, “Sweetie, you need to stop procrastinating so much so I don’t get upset with you so much!” It’s OK to “talk” to one another. Just don’t do it when the heat of the moment is engaging and things come out wrong.
And, damni it – HAVE FUN WITH ONE ANOTHER FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!!!! Find the fun somewhere in every single moment you have together. I think that is probably the ONE thing we do the BEST in this relationship. The most “stupid” of moments, for us, turn into the most amusing, and believe me, finding laughter in the hardest of situations will make things roll along. Stress, in this house, rules supreme, but laughter conquers it!
It’s going to be another 5-years before we reach the “Silver” moment in our lives. And, as I write this, I am already thinking of how to make that year special. By that time, my financial life will be more secure. I’m giving MYSELF (and ultimately my family) a birthday gift of “financial reorganization.” Yup – you guess it, a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with it – one of the many things that we have discussed that had to happen. Surely, a lot has happened and many items have gone away form my tarnished credit over the years, but the fact remains that it needs to be in a “refreshed” mode in order to meet our next set of goals in life. A house, a BRAND NEW car, maybe a boat, and most importantly, the means to take family vacations. Things that the “typical American family” should be able to do, right? Well, we have NEVER taken a family vacation in the history of this family. NEVER! We don’t know what it’s like to go somewhere fun and spend a week doing everything or absolutely nothing! And, that, above a lot of things, pains me the most! A simple camping trip is normally “out of the question” due to financial priorities. The kids have always taken their own trips or campouts with various organizations they have belonged to, but nothing together as a family. Just once…I want to go somewhere with all of them and have 100% unadulterated fun! I want to have a smile permanently plastered to my face to the point where it will take a chisel to change my expression. Is that too much to ask?
So, on to the next, and the next, and the next, 25 is the next goal. By then, two more children will be gone; either onto college or the military. Our oldest, who is already about to start his 8th Week of Boot Camp @ MCRD – San Diego to become a United States Marine will be in into his military career serving our country, and we will have just one left to take care of and prepare for her next chapter in life. We’ll get there – I know we will – to 25 or bust!