Turning to a New Chapter

Our Wedding Day. September 2, 2007.

Summary and Prologue

Anniversaries are a bit like that, aren’t they? We reflect on our shared history, wonder what the coming year will bring us. My husband Rich and I, who married in middle age, each with our own history of priors, just celebrated our fourth anniversary.

I think this surprise chance in midlife makes us more grateful–much like a lonely mutt who’s been rescued from the pound. We try to make each anniversary special, mindful that our years together are limited. Usually, if we’re traveling for our anniversary, we count the trip as our gift, rather than exchanging presents.

And so, I was surprised when Rich presented me with a gift–carefully wrapped, a wonder in itself–as we set off for our weekend away from home and its endless claims on our time. He’d just picked me up at work; the present sat on the front passenger seat, where I couldn’t miss it, had to handle it just to get into the car. I set it on the back seat and smiled.

“Aren’t you going to open it?” he asked.

“I thought I’d wait til we got to the hotel,” I answered.

“Oh, go ahead and open it now.” I looked up. His eyes were dancing.

I peeled away the green paper, noting it was my favorite color, not his. Beneath it I found a Kindle.

“Oh my goodness! Thank you!! I’ve been wanting one so much!”

Rich beamed. “I know,” he said. “I saw them at Target when I bought dog food, so I decided to get you one. I’d been thinking about it for weeks.”

“I wasn’t expecting us to exchange gifts,” I said, watching his face. “I don’t have anything for you.”

His smile grew. “That’s okay. I just wanted to give to you.”

I wanted a Kindle because my post-surgical thumbs sometimes struggle to turn paper pages. Our small home doesn’t offer space for rows and rows of books. I loved the idea of never again sifting through stale magazines in a doctor’s waiting room.

And my dear husband had surprised me with one.

Holding this new way to read made me think of the chapters of our marriage:

2007 brought marriage, a new home, evacuation due to wildfire, and my first-ever opportunity to host the family Thanksgiving gathering.

In 2008 my mother grew ill and died–and our granddaughter Carly was born, a breathing reminder that life insists on itself.

Rich and Carly. 2008.

In 2009 our horizons grew as I returned to writing. Rich could have chosen resentment as I spent more time lost in thought, listening, tapping at a keyboard. Instead he chose to encourage. He might as well carry a megaphone and pom-poms.

2010 brought two engagements, a wedding, a new grandbaby.

Rob, Sawyer, and Rich. 2010.

This year another wedding looms. It will increase the grandchild count by three, as our new son-in-law has three amazing children. It’s also been a season of burdens, as Rich’s mom recovers from a car accident’s serious injuries.

Marrying later in life brings unique joys–how many brides are greeted at the altar by a ring bearer who looks up and says, “Hi, Grandma!”? And it brings its own challenges. Ghosts of past failures threaten to haunt.  Compared to young newlyweds, we had a few extra decades to establish separate customs, more time for freshly-poured habits to harden to concrete before we merged our lives.

We can’t know how many chapters lie ahead as we walk through life together. But this I know: sharing that story with this man, whose heart can’t tell whose grandchildren are whose, who becomes giddy at the prospect of surprising me with a gift, who loves me as Christ loves the church,  makes me the most blessed wife in the world.

Comedy, drama, tragedy, farce–it’s all good. I can’t wait for us to step into the next chapter.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.  

Ephesians 5:25-27 (NASB)


  1. Happy Anniversary, Friend. May you be blessed with many more years of wedded bliss!

  2. Thank you for blessing me with a brief look at some of the chapters of your life. Congratulations on Four years that has brought joy and sadness too, but that is how life is. You and Rich are truly blessed and I wave pom poms for you both!!

  3. Happy anniversary! God surely has given you a treasure in Rich. Your post brought tears to my eyes. Bless you both, and your large family!


  4. Thanks, Ladies!

  5. I hope you and Rich have as many wonderful years as Bonnie and I have had. Bless you on this anniversary.

  6. Thank you, Red!