It seems like  yesterday I was standing in hot sand with wind blowing through what it could of my frizzy, sticky with hair spray big head of hair. I don’t really remember being nervous. Maybe Ray was. I was just ready to start our adventure. That yesterday when the adventure began was twenty years ago today. Yikes!

That blurry picture of a picture with those babies… who are those people? I was totally 10 years old when I got married. Did I mention that?

Here we are a couple of weeks ago…

We’re older and wiser and my hair is sometimes not so frizzy…still hanging around turquoise water for now.

So much has happened in twenty years. Obviously, we’ve had four kids. There have been eleven moves. We’ve managed to get through more hurricanes than I care to think about, a couple of earthquakes. We’ve endured life on two very different islands and loved both of them and traveled this small world of ours, Ray a little more than me. That’s okay, I’ve ridden out more hurricanes than he did. Here we are.

I look at those kids. That girl was excited to enter this navy life and had every intention of being back in Kentucky by now. She was sure she wanted just a couple of kids and couldn’t quite decide if she should use her public relations major or her criminal justice major. She had a hard time finding herself for a bit following the navy guy around. Here she is… an old lady turned gypsy with salt in her veins, not quite ready to settle down like she thought she would be. She’s just found her footing or maybe it was the salt. My how things change and still they stay the same. 

In honor of twenty years with my officer and gentleman, I thought I’d list the 20 things I love about being married to him. (Feel free to skim this, it’s more for him since he’s busy on the other side of the world and he didn’t get a real gift and all that…)

  1. I love the way he loves me but not just me, the kids, the dogs, even my mother. What more could I ask for?
  2. I love that he loves to build things with his hands and if I can imagine it and sketch it, he can build it.
  3. I love it even more when he creates things with the kids, pieces of furniture that they’ll cherish forever or pieces of furniture that he lets them get all artistic with until they are ready to start again.
  4. I love that he’s passionate about his job. He is hands down the greatest naval officer I know. I am absolutely not biased at all. 
  5. I love seeing how he takes care of all the young sailors he is in charge of. He worries and fusses about them like they are his kids and tries his best to make sure they are all okay not just at work, but at home because he knows your home life has a way of making it into work. 
  6. Ray is the best math tutor. He walks the kids through a problem until they get to the answer on their own and know how to find their way back again. 
  7. He can totally do anything he sets his mind to. It’s maddening sometimes but I love him for it. 
  8. He indulges me all the time, especially when I decide we must have an adventure, paddle to the Mokes, snorkel shark’s cove, jump off cliffs, parasailing, surfing…whatever crazy thing I decide we need to try (adopting a special needs kid anyone?) he’s right there with me usually doing it far better than I am. I’m still trying to talk him into that skydive though. 
  9. No matter what I decide I want to try, he encourages me to see it through. Run a half marathon, he runs circles around me to keep me going, try a new business, never a word even when I don’t make money. I’m going to write a book, he’s cheering me on even if it’s all only in my head. 
  10. He puts up with my hot mess. And I am one big hot mess!
  11. He’s heard so many stories about Gran and her “viva” he tries his best to channel Dee and not say much when I spend too much money and I do channel Gran and spend too much money. (My Gran would hand over hear credit card and say, “Put it on my viva.” My Dee never said a word, he just paid the bills.)
  12. Ray is a legitimate hero for our kids to look up to. 
  13. Ray could curse like a sailor, he’s certainly around it all the time but he makes a pointed effort not to. In fact my mouth is far fouler than his. He’s always setting the better example.
  14. When he sees I’m falling behind with whatever, he picks up the slack without ever saying a word even when he works 12-14 hour days.
  15. He doesn’t just indulge me, he spoils me and knows me better than anyone else. He even knows what I want usually long before I do. 
  16. I love how hard he works to plan our family outings.
  17. One of the most important… he encourages all of us spiritually. He teaches us to have compassion and diligence. He is the first one to make sure we get to church or work together on a charitable project. 
  18. We often joke that we don’t know where home is anymore but we still call Kentucky home and he gets me there when I need to be there no matter what the circumstances.
  19. Ray has been my rock so many times through some awful things. I know I’m better with him. Sometimes I can only stand when he is standing beside me. 
  20. After 20 years, I just love him and love to be around him… so you could get your sailor’s behind home anytime now Raymond!

I love you more!