Allow me to begin this column by apologizing. A few weeks ago, I wrote about my upcoming 28th wedding anniversary. Some of you might not have enjoyed it. If that is the case, this apology is to you, specifically, because I will be writing about my anniversary again. There are some weeks when I know exactly what I would like to write about, and then there are some weeks when I don’t. Gee, that sounded a little ridiculous, I apologize for that as well.
In any event, here we go!
Almost every year on my birthday, I like to think back to birthdays gone by and how I celebrated them. There were some really great ones, some not-so-great ones. You know, everyone’s experiences are different. The same goes for wedding anniversaries. I ended up googling the traditional gifts for each year of wedded bliss and here are the ones that stood out — paper, cotton, leather, wood, candy, tin, and wax.
Apparently, Husband #1 did not know about these gifts, because, for sure, if he did, I would have gotten them for my anniversaries. Paper? Paper towels. Cotton? A bag of cotton balls. Candy? Easy peasy. Wax? The remnants of melted Shabbos candles. Ahh, the things I could have written about.
For some reason, after Year 20, the gifts just go by every five years. There was no specific gift for Year 28. I guess that is why we didn’t exchange gifts this year. We spent Shabbos with Son and Dil #1 and my favorite Strudel. They got us flowers (awwwww) and Dil #1 baked us a delicious cake (awwww) and Strudel’s existence is a gift all in itself, thank God.
I was thinking back to the memorable anniversaries of years gone by. Our big 25th anniversary was celebrated during covid. Son #2 spearheaded a gift that was a poster with pictures sent in by our friends holding a specific letter that spelled out Happy 25th Anniversary Mom and Dad. Very cute. Our 18th anniversary was celebrated on one of our baseball road trips. We were in Indianapolis for the evening, and the hotel ran out of cots, so I got to share a bed with two of my children. It doesn’t get classier or more romantic than that. Our 10th anniversary (no, I am not going in order, sorry) was spent in Chicago because my brother got married the day after our anniversary. Our friends sent us flowers, which was so sweet (no worries, we don’t speak anymore), and what could be better than a weekend with family? (I am being totally serious. I was so happy that my brother was getting married because he is my parents’ favorite, and it made them so happy that he was getting married.)
But let us not forget our very first anniversary. The first year of marriage is supposed to be the hardest. I always found this tidbit interesting because most people do not get divorced after their first year of marriage. On our first anniversary, I was eight months pregnant. Clearly I couldn’t wear my wedding gown, or any gown for that matter. I could barely fit through the doorway of our apartment, but I did get a really nice necklace. And then, a month later, I got Son #1, which was the best anniversary present. Until, of course, this year’s anniversary.
Husband #1 and I got to take Strudel home, and now I am running Camp Babka. At 4 o’clock on August 20, 1995, our wedding started. At 4 p.m. this year, Strudel was taking a nap, Husband #1 was watching some sort of sporting event, and I was doing laundry. And it was perfect. At 11 p.m. on August 20, 1995, we were in a limo on the way to the Plaza Hotel. At 11 p.m. on August 20, 2023, we were both so tired we couldn’t even spell limo. OK, I am exaggerating, but that passage of time gets you right in the heart.
It feels like yesterday and it feels like 100 years ago, all at the same time. I think about my wedding day, when life was full of dreams and possibilities and you have absolutely no idea what is in store for you and your spouse. Not the slightest clue. But if you marry someone who never loses his temper and smiles most of the time, God willing, you can handle most things together. Amen.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck did not even get her husband a card this year, and that is okay because he did not get her one either. See — they are a perfect couple!