Monday, July 7, 2014

These Smiling Faces

I am a hopeless patriot. I'll never apologize for it. I can cry every time I watch Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger battle in The Patriot. I get goosebumps on the high note of America, The Beautiful. I loved singing, "This land is my land, this land is your land....this land was made for you and me," along with Mrs. Collins and her ukelele in elementary school. When I watch Les Miserables, I can lay the solemnity of that redemptive revolution over the grid of American history, and weep on both behalf's. 

I love America the Beautiful. Old Glory waves from my porch column more days out of the year than not. I can see her flapping in the north Texas breeze from the chair in which I sit and type. I have a tiny bound copy of the Declaration of Independence - in love with it's little book form as much as the words it proffers. I sing along with the national anthem any chance I can, and probably often when I'm not supposed to. I can watch the National Treasure movies over and over, enthralled by the history thrust into the plot.

It was chance that landed us with an anniversary on the birthday of our country. A chain of events involving more than ourselves led us to that day. And I'll tell you - it does not offer much in the way of romantic interludes and recollections of courtship. We have been teased relentlessly about giving UP our independence ON independence day. No matter. We did what we could, and picked the date in the summer of 1987 that worked for so many of our family, and we married on an incredibly hot, humid, summer Saturday afternoon in July. And it happened to be the fourth.

The upsides: we are off together every year on our anniversary, and if we are lucky, there are fireworks. We usually conspire some getaway, or even an extended vacation, during our anniversary. It is special in that we are always together as a family, and we are usually doing something fun together, and we also get to embrace the celebration of the land that I love.

When we contemplated celebrating our 25th, cruising with the boys, and our lifelong friend, Mark, that introduced Steve and I way back in January 1984,  aboard the Disney Magic seemed so appropriate. After all, anyone knows that hitting the 25 year mark of a marriage comes with plenty of fireworks, requires a fair bit of magic, needs the ability to stay afloat in any kind of weather, and has the goal of sailing in smooth waters. ;-) 

Steve and I have been extremely blessed. I always say that every marriage that stays together is one that consciously decides to stay together. Exit doors will pop up all along the way. We have seen those doors. We have pushed past them. We have reached the phase in our life together where we are deep friends and gentle companions. We miss each other when not together - not in the earnest sorrow of an eighteen year old, but in the sincere affection of wanting to share a moment, a memory, a word, a thought, with your most prolific friend, with one whom has seen all of your life events spanning, as of this writing, three decades.

I loved celebrating our 25th anniversary on July 4 in the waters off Alaska. I loved seeing the boys get excited over the dinner that night in Animators' Palate. I loved that Mark was with us to experience his first Disney cruise. I loved that all five of us embraced adventure and were equally mesmerized by the wildly extravagant beauty of Alaska. I loved that we ran into Americana Mickey. I loved that those silly shipboard photographers captured some of all of it for me. 

I can sit here and remember each moment in these photographs below - and I can remember a lifetime of moments spent together across our country. We have pieced together a story that is as rich as the colors in our flag. We have been blessed with a bountiful tale - a tale I love - our life, our liberty, and the pursuit of our happiness. You have only to look at the faces below. You can see it plain as day. I love all these smiles, and the stories that go with them.

It's always my joy to hear Happy Anniversary...and say Happy Birthday America. "This land is my land, this land is your land...this land was made for you and me." Chasing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness freely in the land that I love is a rich gift, one for which I am forever grateful. Just as much as I am grateful for the life I have with these smiling faces.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness - Disney AK Cruise, Fourth of July - July 2012

Sketch Credit: Scrapbook Generation This is actually a Generations Kit by Debbie Sanders. She is an amazing talent and I only add a few trinkets here and there to complement her incredible layout.
Paper: We R Memory Keepers

1 comment:

  1. I love this layout...such cool papers to set off a patriotic family fun page!!! How cool to celebrate your anniversary on the 4th!! Ours is on New Years Eve.........they set off fireworks on both holidays.........we are very lucky!!!