Wednesday, August 13, 2008

20 Years and Counting

Lee and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary by flying to Phoenix, then flying to Seattle, then renting a car, then driving an hour and a half to a ferry, then waiting in the ferry line for 3 hours, then riding the ferry for an hour, then driving for a 1/2 hour to get to our rented house on Orcas Island, Washington.  We also took all three kids with us.  If there were ever a question about whether we could all make a trip to Europe, the answer is yes.  Considering all we dealt with that day, I'm very proud of us for not killing each other. It was about a 16 hour travel day.
There will be vacation pictures and stories later.

Weren't we just the cutest couple?  Lee didn't believe in the 'shove the cake in your new spouse's face' tradition.  Thank goodness!  I spent forever on my makeup and hair.  Speaking of hair, I had one of those modified mullet (long in back, cut short over the ears) things and a permanent. I was all about hair products in the 80's--big bangs, perfect curls, etc.  This is actually a very tame version of my typical hair back then.

Lee asked me to marry him on December 23rd, 1987.  I thought he was going to ask me in October of that year because we went on our first ever vacation together that didn't involve other people--just him and me.  I even grew my nails out and painted them for goodness sakes!  

Late in December, he told me his family had a tradition of going out to eat a couple days before Christmas so they could decompress from the holiday stresses.  Since his brother and sister-in-law had two young children, they wouldn't be joining us for dinner.  I should have known, but I didn't.  I fell for it, hook, line and sinker. He took me to a very fancy place on the Plaza in Kansas City, called Fedoras.  The Plaza was all lit up in it's fanciest lights and decorations.  I was still thinking what a great family tradition it was.  
Once we ordered, I knew exactly what was going on.  I was having duck and he was having some icky pasta thing with ham, walnuts and peas in it.  He hates peas.  He squirmed all through dinner and barely touched his meal.  The check came, he paid it and we left.  Maybe I was wrong? Once we reached the sidewalk, he asked if we could take a walk before we went back to the car. It was in the 20's, had snowed and I was in high heels, a fancy dress and a flimsy coat.  I hesitated, but went along anyway.  We walked about a block and he sat me down on a bench.  I knew then, what was about to happen and was so deliriously happy that I've forgotten his exact words and movements.  I remember crying and saying yes.  He presented me with a beautiful red bit of ribbon to tie on my finger until we picked out a ring. He said he'd looked at rings, but the style and sizes were dizzying.  He wanted us to pick one out together.  

We picked August 6th as our wedding date.  We had a beautiful wedding and his father performed the ceremony.  I don't remember much of it because my dress was too darn tight and I wore ridiculous heels, but thankfully we have it on tape.  I spent my whole life waiting to wear that dress and couldn't wait to get the silly thing off.  I'd been sized a size too small.  I basically had to hold my breath for most of the morning.  I was in agony in my pointy shoes, too.  Lee, on the other hand was handsome and composed.  Thanks to Lee's Aunt Violet, we started at exactly 11:00 am.  We'd asked her to be in charge of making sure we all stayed on time.  She managed to do it with grace and a smile.    
The only real hitch that took place was that my father was unable to attend at the last minute.  He'd been very sick and in a nursing home recovering.  He would have been in a wheel chair and very uncomfortable seeing my mom with her new husband.  I walked myself down the aisle, all the while thinking it had really worked out for the best.  It gave me the freedom not to have to think about how my dad and mom were feeling about being in the same room.

Following the wedding, we tortured all our guests by making them attend an outdoor picnic at Lake Jacomo, in August in the afternoon, in the midwest.  It might have been a little warm, maybe.  Maybe it was hot??  Maybe it was 100*?  
We spent a couple hours with them and then headed to the airport Hilton or Marriot, can't remember.  We stayed the night there and then headed for Grand Cayman Island the next morning before light.  I'd never been out of the US before and had some hangups.  I had a wonderful time, despite my tendency to stress out in new situations.  Thankfully, Lee didn't decide to divorce me, right there on our honeymoon.

Twenty years, 6 residences, 4 cities, 2 states, three jobs for him, multiple jobs for me, and 3 kids later, here we are.  We've had bumps and bruises, but are committed to forever. He's an amazing man.  I think it's unfair that he gets better looking and more interesting as we age; as I feel more frumpy and boring as I age. I think that's typical though. 

Thanks honey, for sticking in there.  I know I haven't been the easiest person to live with sometimes.  You've shown me a way to shed the way I was raised and believe that forever is possible.  You taught me how to fight properly--if one of us 'wins' then we really both lose.  You taught me to be a better parent to our kids than my parents were to me.  You taught me that it is possible to break a cycle of unhealthy relationships with other people.  You taught me how to be a grown up.  You taught me how to love.  You taught me to have a more healthy relationship with God.  Thanks for marrying me.  I look forward to the next 20 years and hopefully the next 20 years after that.   


  1. Happy Anniversary and congratulations. Beautiful tribute to your marriage and your husband.

  2. Happy Anniversary and Welcome Back!
    What a beautiful post and picture. I can't wait to see your trip.

  3. I smiled SO big at this picture. You two are absolutely beautiful! (Don't tell Lee I said this, though, or, if you do, substitute the word "beautiful" for "staggeringly handsome" - LOL).
    And here you guys were in Seattle, a few short hours away from me on Critter Farm. So close yet so far. Maybe on your next anniversary? :-)

  4. You two were drop-dead gorgeous in that wedding picture, CeeCee!

    I so enjoyed reading a little bit of how he proposed to you and how you were married. I especially enjoyed reading about how special he is to you, though.

    Happy Anniversary!

  5. Aunt Cee Cee, I think you've known all my life, you have been an inspiration to me. You are someone who holds a very deep, special place in my heart. Your love for Uncle Lee is something that (thank the good Lord), I have found in my husband. I think largely because of you. I pray that Ryan and I can be where you are in 20 years and still love, grow and appreciate eachother. I am so proud of both of you for the AWESOME people and influences you are on my life and many others. Much love!

  6. How wonderful to wake up to such a tribute to a husband and especially your husband, Cee Cee. You're both beautiful people.

  7. Thanks everyone. Lee's a great man and I think he likes me a little bit, too. ;)

  8. Just passing by, saw your post on marriage and had to read it. That is so sweet. Congratulations!!! If only the world were filled with more long-term marriages the world would be a better place. What a beautiful story. :)

  9. CeeCee - I just saw this post about your engagement & wedding in your blog & had to smile. I know this post is several years old, but I still wanted to comment & say CONGRATS! My hubby & I were married Aug 20, 1988, so you beat us!!