Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Eighteen Years and Counting...

It's the fourth week of summer for us and this week is sandwiched in between coming home from the Poconos and getting ready for our Kiawah trip. So far it's been a week for maintenance. Three kids have gone to the orthodontist, two had their annual check-ups, one of us has an eye doctor appointment, in addition to a parent meeting for travel soccer, picking up new cleats, a soccer practice, a horseback riding lesson, a basketball game, and a swim meet. And then there is always the laundry, more maintenance. Laundry that needs to get done from our last trip and laundry that needs to get done so that we can pack for our next trip.

But in between all this maintenance, there are things on my to-do list in anticipation for next week. Our bike rentals were booked today for Kiawah, one of my favorite things to do there.  Our fishing boat trip is now booked. The kids can't wait for that. There is anticipation. Part of creating memories is the anticipation of something. This is our fourth time to Kiawah. We now have our favorite things to do. The kids ask; Are we going to go to Hyman's Seafood? Are we going to get the bikes again? Are we going on another fishing trip? They are anticipating. They know that the waters are filled with sand dollars and starfish. They know when and where to look for the dolphins. We know the markings for the loggerhead turtle nests and whether they have hatched or not. There is talk and anticipation of what we will be doing next week. 

The summer is a time to do things that you usually don't get to do during the rest of the year. As I write this, it is almost 10:00 at night and Shannon and Molly are in the kitchen making cookies. That is something that does not happen at other times of the year. We have trips planned and hopes of doing fun activities during the summer, but there is always maintenance. You can't get around it. 

But even though for the most part, this week is about getting things done, tomorrow is the Fourth of July. I love the Fourth of July, not just because we get to celebrate our wonderful country, not just because we get to see fireworks and have backyard barbecues, but for Chris and I, we celebrate our anniversary. It's been 23 years together and 18 years of marriage. 

Way back when, I remember Chris and I looking for venues for our wedding. We were on a tight budget and we had already looked at a lot of places but none of them felt right. And then one afternoon, we were at The Westbury Manor and I knew this is where I wanted it to be. It was beautiful, an old Victorian home with beautiful gardens but of course it was way over budget.

 I remember sitting in the office with the gentleman that showed us around. I remember trying to figure out a way to make it work and it really was going to be too much until he suggested getting married on the Fourth of July. My initial reaction was "no." But then he explained that the Fourth of July was a Monday and so we would get the week rate and not the weekend rate. He went over the figures with us and there was a significant difference, enough to consider getting married on a Monday. If we were to have our reception here, it was going to have to be on Monday, the Fourth of July...and the rest as they say, is history.

Now, 18 years later, I love our anniversary being on the Fourth because Chris always has the day off and no matter what the plans are for the day, we are together as a family. There have been years that we were in the Poconos and there are years that we were at home, watching fireworks in our community with the kids, but always together. 

So even though we have a lot of "maintenance" going on this week in anticipation of our next trip, we also have the recollection of a wonderful day 18 years ago. The very beginnings of the Nealon Family as we know it today...and the story isn't over yet.

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