The Carpenter and I recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. We booked one night at a resort in Huntsville, embarked on a road trip adventure and spent a solid 32 hours alone together (yes, we’re still speaking to each other).
I had no idea how good this would be for us, nor did I realize how much we needed it. We deserved it. We earned it. Twenty years together is no small feat.
If you’ve read this column for any length of time you know that getting the Carpenter to agree to a road trip is almost impossible. He commutes to the city each day, so the concept of spending more time in a vehicle does not induce joy. Add in the fact that when I’m driving I control the radio, so whether or not he chooses to participate in karaoke, he will have to endure it. (And endure it, he did. You’re welcome Luke Combs.).
The Carpenter is a homebody. Encouraging him to leave the never-ending list of garage beautification projects, much less NFL weekend coverage when his beloved Seattle Seahawks are playing, is nothing short of miraculous. Then there is the budget factor: could we afford it? We couldn’t, really. We shouldn’t have, really. But if I’ve learned anything about money it’s that I spend far more time making it than I do enjoying it. Life is too short not to play.
It took a little sweet talking to convince the Carpenter though. I won’t disclose all the tactics used to lure him away (a lady doesn’t kiss and tell – neither do I), but I did dangle the carrot of a drive-thru coffee, a stop at a micro-brewery, a steak dinner and the promise that I would have him home in time to see Seattle play on Sunday night. Wife of the Year.
Bless his heart, but spontaneity is not the Carpenter’s strong suit. I live for such moments. So when we found out the Cranberry Festival in Bala was on, I was ecstatic. Detours are the best. My husband lovingly faked enthusiasm. Oh, how I wish you could have seen the look on his face when I put him on a crowded school bus to head to a cranberry marsh at a distance unknown to either of us. But as he relaxed into the day, toured the town and navigated the crowds, I knew he was giving me the best gift: to be fully present in the moment with me. Precious time. Get us away from our responsibilities and it doesn’t take us long to remember who we were before them.
That night we blew the budget on a classy dinner and enjoyed some beverages knowing neither of us had to drive, there were no kids to shuttle about, and no early morning games the next day. We spent $20 in an arcade being ridiculous, because that’s who we are. And I still love who we are. Best friends.
And in the morning, we watched the sun come up over the lake. We walked a trail through spectacular fall colours and took the long way home along winding roads to appreciate the views. As promised, we were home in time to watch the Ravens destroy the Seahawks (Ravens are meaner birds).
There is no secret to our 20 years together. Marry your best friend. Don’t try to change them. Love them for everything they are and support them on the journey to everything they’ll become.
Cheers to 20 more.