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Marriage: How Do You Celebrate 40 Years of Everything?

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Laurie and Randy celebrated 40 years of marriage during the pandemic.

By Laurie Stone

Randy and I didn’t expect to have our big anniversary during a pandemic. But here we are and we’re adjusting. Instead of a splashy dinner in Manhattan, we’re doing French take-out on the back porch. Perfect. Maybe the splashy dinner didn’t matter. Maybe 40 years of marriage speak for themselves. Here’s what ours have contained.

Laughter

I was 19 and in the college snack bar when I met a tall, thin, cute guy with thick brown hair and gray eyes. I sat at a table, not knowing a soul, having just transferred from another school. Randy told some joke and we all laughed. Little did I know that I began a journey that day — of wry asides, spot-on imitations (sometimes of me, to my annoyance) and smart-ass retorts that would last a lifetime.

Cape Cod

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Laurie and Randy in the early 80s, before the kids came along.

We honeymooned in my grandmother’s South Yarmouth Windmill house on the Bass River. One day Randy and I sat outside drinking Asti Spumanti — the height of glamour in those days — watching two little boys jump off the dock next door. Little did we know we’d spend almost every summer in that house next door with our own two boys. The river stayed the same over the decades, silent and flowing and full of sailboats and cabin cruisers, but we all changed and grew up and grew older.

Big and Small Moments

The births of our sons or blearily watching Sesame Street at 6:30 a.m. with a toddler climbing over us and then two toddlers. Birthday cakes in the shapes of dinosaurs. Middle school concerts. Frightfully early morning soccer games. Frightfully late night “Battle of the Band” concerts. High school and college graduations. Sitting around the table talking politics with two handsome, bearded sons and thinking, how did we get here? And aren’t we lucky?

Pets

Our first animal was a gray and brown tabby kitten named Callie. Every day we’d come home from work and cuddle and play with her. She slept snuggled up to us each night. She was like our child. When she was killed by a car six months later, Randy and I thought we’d never be happy again. But life went on and more pets came into our lives — two cats and three dogs at last count. They brought sweetness, lightness and joy.

I heard someone say about marriage, “It’s not what you say, it’s what you don’t say.” Sometimes it’s looking away and holding your tongue.

Forgiveness

Some disagreements were small and stupid. Some were big and loud and epic, mostly when we were younger. Now they’re more quick and economical. After some, we weren’t sure if we’d make it, but we did. I heard someone say about marriage, “It’s not what you say, it’s what you don’t say.” Sometimes it’s looking away and holding your tongue. And sometimes it is saying what needs to be said, even when it’s hard. I guess the art is knowing which is which. We’re still learning.

Lost Objects

Phones, wallets, keys, combs, pens, breakfast sandwiches, shoes — the list of items lost by my husband goes on and on. The first time I went out with Randy, I thought it was cute that he misplaced his keys. Then, over the years, it became annoying. Now I sigh and point to whatever he’s frantically searching for, usually right in front of him. I’ve learned to look away, secretly rolling my eyes.

Comforting

“I’m scared.” It’s a phrase Randy has heard a lot from his neurotic, anxious wife. What can I say? Things spook me — flying, medical tests, the world, change, bees, things known and unknown. He’ll hug me and say, ‘It’ll be fine. Don’t worry.” And you know what? That helps. Most of the time, things are fine and when they’re not, those words still have the power to reassure. I’m grateful.

Acceptance

We couldn’t be more different. Randy’s loud and outgoing. I’m quiet and introverted. He’s, um, let’s

call it messy. I’m neat. The list of differences is endless, but we share more than is evident — a boundless love for family and friends, the same values, an appreciation for good wine, fun restaurants, and Three Stooges reruns. But I think the differences keep life interesting.

Love

It’s easy to love when you’re young and beautiful. The true test is when you have gray hair and creaky joints and fights over Medicare. Sometimes you have to let someone go, to find their way back to you. Sometimes you’re the one that needs to fly solo. But like homing pigeons, you return.

So how do you celebrate 40 years of marriage? Maybe just by giving thanks, to each other and to God — and to whatever quirk of fate made you select a certain table in the college snack bar.

And don’t forget, French take-out never hurt.

Laurie Stone writes from the woods of Easton, Conn. Her blog, “Musings, Rants &Scribbles,” shares thoughts on growing up, older and (hopefully) wiser. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

 

4 Responses to “Marriage: How Do You Celebrate 40 Years of Everything?”

  1. Beth Havey says:

    Hugs, Laurie enjoy your anniversary day. Good writing, good thinking, and lots of love makes a marriage. Beth

  2. Diane says:

    I think this should be the blueprint handed to every newly-wed couple.
    A perfect treatise on marriage!
    And a belated Happy Anniversary!

  3. Love this Laurie! And – Happy Anniversay!😊

  4. Lauren says:

    Your marriage sounds perfect to me! Happy Anniversary! I hope we make it to 40!

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