Tomorrow is my anniversary – well anniversaries. R.J., my husband, and I were married on the anniversary of the day we met, and it was all R.J.’s idea. Romantic, huh? Well, it was more practical than anything. It was so we would only have one day to remember, LOL.

I still think it’s sweet.

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Anyway, we met 19 years ago and were married 10 years ago. If you’re good at math (or even not so good) then you know that we lived together for 9 years before we were married. I’m glad it took that long. Otherwise I don’t think it would have lasted.

We both had A LOT of growing up to do!

I believe it’s very important to take the time to reflect when I hit certain milestones. It helps me figure out what’s been working and what hasn’t. It also helps me understand where I need to grow as a person, as a wife, as a friend. In other words, it helps me figure out the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I believe this anniversary is especially important because the two of us are transitioning into the next phase of our lives. We’ve both worked so hard to get to this point and we’ll have to work even harder to get where were going, but I am so incredibly grateful to have R.J. to work along side.

Today I was thinking about the day before I met R.J. and the day before I married him. Neither one was that great. I guess that was an understatement, but sometimes it’s hard to write the depth of crap someone has to go through before their lives change.

The day before our wedding wasn’t too bad. It was just raining. Well, it wasn’t just raining, it was one of the worst storms our area had seen in a very long time. We were supposed to get married outside in my in-laws’ backyard. While I was working the night before, my mother-in-law was watching the water rise in her backyard.

At one point she saw one of her garden gnomes float past the basement window on its back! I think she was freaking out more than I was, but I do remember standing at the front windows of the OfficeMax where I worked watching the lightning, listening to the rain, and trying to figure out plan B.

Turns out we didn’t need a plan B. All of the water drained out of the yard and the ceremony was held as planned. It was beautiful!

I like to think about that day now when I’m worried about something that I can’t do anything about. It helps me understand that things usually work out just fine whether I’m worried or not. So why worry?

That attitude is easier to have the older I get. It wasn’t so easy right before I met R.J.

The day before we met I was supposed to meet up with friends after work. I worked second shift at an injection molding plant. It wasn’t something I wanted to do forever, but it was decent pay at the time. My friends called me at work and left a message with my foreman (this was 19 years ago so no cell phones – wrap your head around that one!) that they couldn’t go out.

I know, I know friends cancelling isn’t the end of the world, but when you’re 19 and all alone in the world it’s pretty devastating. I don’t have the words for how alone and lonely I felt at that time.

It’s not something I like to dwell on too often, because it wasn’t too long before that my parents disowned me. They haven’t talked to me since, but that’s a whole other post.

At that time my friends were all I had. So for them to cancel at the last minute was a pretty big deal. I went home to my cockroach infested efficiency apartment (I lived above the kitchen of a dive bar – I was too poor to have a stocked kitchen so I was pretty sure that’s where they were coming from) and cried and began to question everything.

Part of me said I should call my parents and beg for forgiveness. Part of me said I should end it all. Part of me said I needed to hold on one more day. If I could just hold on one more day things would change. It couldn’t possibly get any worse – that much I knew.

So I held on one more day.

I got up the next day and went to work and tried to keep up with the machine. After a couple of hours my foreman came around. His name was Jerry. I’m pretty sure he was old enough to be my father, but he was a pretty nice guy even though he hit on me almost every day. He said there was someone I needed to meet. His name was R.J.

R.J. didn’t normally take his lunch in the lunchroom but he would that day so I could meet him. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose and I ate lunch there everyday anyway.

I was nervous as I walked into the room, but then R.J. looked up from whatever he had been reading (again remember no cell phones). There’s been plenty that I’ve forgotten over the years about us, but I can never forget the feeling of relief, anticipation, and joy that I felt the first time we met.

It was the day that I had been waiting for all my life. It was the day my parents tried to steal from me. It was the day my journey truly began. Remember small beginnings?

So sometimes it’s necessary to go back. It’s necessary to remember what it was like before so that you can appreciate the now and anticipate the future.

Don’t be afraid of the memories and the pain they may cause. Those memories have made you who you are or maybe it’s what you do with those memories. I don’t know. All I know is that I’m glad I can reflect on the past to help make my future better.


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