That has given me an entire year to plan a trip. The two of us haven't been out of the country, just the two of us, in quite a long time. Can't wait.
It's not hard to believe that we have been married 31 years. Actually, it seems about right. What's hard to believe is what we've managed to do in those 31 years. We brought two babies into the world, knowing virtually nothing about parenting except how to become one. Despite our manifest ignorance, both children survived. Towards that end we were assisted by two wonderful, wise and generous families who were there every step of the way to offer aid and comfort. Looking back on those early years, I can't imagine how we would have managed it all if we lived in Kansas somewhere, a thousand miles from both of our Moms. People do it all the time, I'm told. Just glad we didn't have to.
Raising Patrick and Kaitlin was the hardest but most noble thing we have ever done. We made lots of mistakes along the way. Parenting is a giant trial and error experiment. Stuff that works like a charm on one of them flops on the other. But you keep plowing ahead, mistakes and all. You learn to rely on others. A church comes in handy in that regard. Our kids were nurtured every Sunday by able and loving teachers like Mark and Joann Terlep and Larry and Diane Collawn. They were fortunate to be a part of a youth group led by a youth pastor, Jeremy Welborn who loved them both and helped them find a place. Still, it was no guarantee that they wouldn't turn out to be hooligans. You spend half of your life as a parent second guessing yourself, and the other half praying that God won't punish them for your failures. 31 years later we look at what has become of them and we can't help but feel proud and grateful.
But raising two great kids isn't the only thing we have to show for our time together. I'm still in love with her, for one thing. I think I'm a better person now than when I first got married, and most of that is because of her. I'm not the easiest person in the world to live with, what with my antsy, can't stay on task for more than ten minutes, neurotic behavior most often associated with adolescents. My risk-taking personality has given her logical, organized, planner personality fits for 31 long years now, and yet...somehow it has all worked.
So, we will go away to a tropical paradise for a week. We will do whatever the heck we feel like doing. And you know what? We deserve it!
Oh, and just in case anyone is reading this and thinking since we will be out of the country for a week, it might be a good time to rob our house? I should probably point out that we have employed a full time dog-sitter for the week named, "Max the mule-skinner Monroe" , or " Spike" to his friends...and if you try something while he's here, you will not be his friend.