It’s hard to believe that 25 years has passed, in so many ways. When I look back, though, to the beginning, it is amazing to think it is “only” 25.
Kevin, you and I have done some extraordinary things together as a couple, as a team. We have changed lives together. My greatest joys, however, are more found in the quiet and small intimate moments that only you and I share. It is the ordinary things in our lives that have meant the most to me as we have grown older and hopefully wiser … together.
Our home has been filled with people. We have taken in friends and family – and even strangers. We have opened our doors – together – to those who are in need of rest, support, and joy. We didn’t always know where our lives or our actions would lead us. But we knew it was the right thing to do. And you and I have always shared that same philosophy that we would do “the right thing” and to support our family and friends always. Our home was a home – away from home – to many over the years. I am proud of this and I am proud of us. Our home has sometimes been a zoo! And we have done this together.
Our home has been filled with growth. Our children, for one, have been given the best opportunity to grow into fine young people who are polite, thoughtful, and contribute to society. We have given them the independence they need and the guidance they don’t want – but need. We encouraged them to travel, to challenge assumptions, to learn. We encouraged their independence but were always there to catch them when they fell. We raised (and continue to raise) three wonderful children of whom we are very proud. Our home is a launch pad for many. And we have done this together.
Our home is a safe place for all. It is a place where Katya has brought strangers who were in need. It is a place where our friends have turned when in need of respite care, financial support, or emotional support. You and I have parented more than our own children. We have parented by proxy so many others. And we have done this with humility and dignity. Our home is a sanctuary. And we have done this together.
Our home is a place of celebration: New Year’s Eve parties, birthday parties, end of school year parties. We have hosted millions (maybe a slight exaggeration) of people over the years. We have cooked meals, made beds, offered refreshments. We have toasted good health, memories, and future endeavors. We have wished people bon voyage, welcome home, and better luck next time. We have celebrated births and we have celebrated those who lives were lost. It has been a home with much joy and reunion. And we have done this together.
Our home is a place where good food happens! Yum. Burgers, tomato basil marinade, caesar salad, (lovely) roasts, soups, “foods from a different planet”. We have prepared mustard chicken, ribs, salmon on the grill. We have diced, sliced, and ground our way through and endless quantity of food which is served with gusto to hungry crowds. And we have done this together.
Mostly, Kevin, our home is us. It is you and I. We have built this home together. We have been partners and we have been soloists. Each of us has been free to be who we have wanted to be. And we have encouraged each other to follow our dreams, our education, our passions. We have been each others’ greatest cheer-leaders. We are strong individuals with a great respect for one another. I, for one, respect your love of children, your devotion to family, your passion for play. I support you and encourage you to continue to indulge in “your” path and I know you do the same of me. It brings me great joy to share kayaking, biking, and walking together. It brings me great joy to share Cuba, Mexico (in the near future?) and Canada. Our adventures may now be subject to the winds of cancer, but they are still out there. Iceland, Germany, Georgia. Shall I continue?
“Let us grow old together, Kevin. The best is yet to be,” hangs the sign in our hallway. We may not have expected the twists in the road that we have encountered. Who could have? You promised me 25 years ago that you would be with me in sickness and in health. You have lived up to this promise fully. We are growing older. I am pleased to say. We have shared so many beginnings: first house, first dog, first born… second and third.. first job, first mortgage. We are soon to move on to retirement, grandchildren, and down-sizing. We have cared for our parents as they have aged. We have lost parents. The winds of change have not stopped blowing. We are growing older and we are growing older together. And this, my dear, is all I could have ever hoped for. This life, this aging together through life, with you.
“A bell’s not a bell ’til you ring it – A song’s not a song ’til you sing it – Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay – Love isn’t love ’til you give it away!”
Oscar Hammerstein took the words out of my mouth.
Kevin, on this day, 25 years after I said, “I do,” I give the love I have in my heart away to you. You are my love. You are my friend. You are my home.
Happy anniversary, my dear. I love you. And on that note, I have one question: What for dinner?
Perhaps, more appropriately, how about a dance?