Today is our 16th wedding anniversary. We were married in Akron, Ohio on an icy winter day. We picked a December date because we were still in college and the previous summer would have been too soon and the following summer too late. So, we got married between semesters. It was a pretty simple wedding. Lisa wore her mother's dress, we had a friend do the flowers, one aunt got the union hall for the reception, another aunt catered, and Lisa's mom made the wedding cake and bridesmaid dresses.
I arrived in Akron a few days before the wedding and came down with the flu. Although better by our wedding day, I had an enormous fever blister. Four friends from college (Peter, David, Will, and Michael) and Lisa's brother (Lee) were my groomsmen. I still count all of these guys as good friends. The night before we had a very low-key bachelor's party. Coming from a Christian college there was no booze or semi-nude women involved. We stayed in the hotel room, ate pizza, drank diet Coke, and played Rook. The next morning we had a big greasy breakfast even though none of us was nursing a hangover.
It was a simple, but long ceremony. Lisa's dad and my stepfather co-officiated and had to each do a little preaching. A couple other friends from college, Alan and Beth, provide the music.
I remember it being a very surreal, somewhat artificial experience. It felt a lot like being in a performance - I was wearing rented clothes, there was an audience, cameras. I was in a film a year earlier and my character got married. The real thing felt like that - staged. For me the wedding was just a formality and paled in comparison to beginning our lives together as marriage partners.
After the reception, Lisa's brother drove us to Cleveland where we stayed the night. We got on a plane the next morning for New York City. When we landed in New York I remember feeling really grown up. This was Lisa's first plane ride and only my third. It was the first time either of us had been on a trip without "adult supervision." We stayed at the Grand Hyatt. We were travel novices and did not see much of what the city has to offer (although we have in subsequent visits). We did, however, eat dinner at the Four Seasons, see both Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables (this was 1988 and these shows were new - tickets were not easy to get), and spent New Year's Eve at Times Square. We packed a lot into four days and three nights.
When we got back home we settled into a life together pretty comfortably. I can remember feeling like every night was a slumber party with my best friend. People had told us marriage would be a big adjustment. For us, it wasn't.
Lisa was 20 and and half and I had just turned 24 when we got married. We have truly grown up together. I love being married and could never imagine myself single. I love being married to Lisa. I can't image myself with anyone else. Side-by-side we've experienced joys, sorrows, births, deaths, moves, job changes, unemployment, illnesses, and everything else life has thrown our way.
I know over the next 16 years much of our energy will be spent helping two boys become men. I'm glad to be co-parenting with Lisa. She is a wonderful mother. In another 16 years Henry will likely be in college and baby number two will be in his last years of high school. Part of that picture is clear in my mind and another pretty murky. I have a hard time conceiving of our kids as being adolescents and adults. I can clearly see, however, Lisa and me side-by-side getting ready for another 16 years.
Over the years we've had some pretty exciting anniversary trips: England, Scotland, New Orleans, Chicago, Napa Valley, Ashville (NC), Los Angeles. This year we'll be staying close to home. Dinner and a movie is the plan.