Going Strong

April 2, 2010

Next week we will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. It's been 10 years of happiness, growth, love, a few challenges, and many amazing adventures together. We have two great kids. We have lived in five very different parts of the world (New Orleans, Seattle, Okinawa, Jacksonville, Sicily). We have survived deployment, the loss of loved ones, spider bites, hurricanes , typhoons, a nightmare of a kitchen renovation, scary pregnancy complications, and an international adoption involving three countries and the U.S. Military. We have traveled, laughed, and always kept our family rule of dancing together in the kitchen even if we have been fighting. I can't imagine doing any of those things with anyone else. I truly love the man I married and the life we are living together.

Lately, I have been reminiscing about favorite moments together and flashing back to our wedding, but I have also been taking inventory. It started with the step stool in our laundry room.It is a white folding, metal step stool. Just like this one. It's very basic. Nothing fancy, but it is one of my favorite wedding gifts. It came from an older couple (friends of my parents) with a card explaining that they had also received a similar folding step stool as a wedding gift twenty years earlier. When they were newlyweds in the midst of unwrapping the more traditional gifts of china and crystal, they thought it was a very odd gift. And I have to admit we had the same thought as we opened ours, but their card went on to describe how they quickly realized it was actually a very useful gift. The card ended by wishing us many years of stability and happiness together. Who knew a step stool could have so much meaning to me ten years later? But, it does. We use it all the time and I am always grateful to that wise couple for such a practical and symbolic gift.

So the step stool made me think about other wedding gifts. Which gifts have lasted 10 years and continue to serve us well or make us happy and could I remember who had given them to us? I remember spending so much time doing that whole registry thing. Hemming and hawing over china patterns, towels, and kitchen gadgets. The towels are now worn thin and being used as cleaning rags. The plates from our china pattern get used every day so that is a good thing. And the kitchen gadgets have been slimmed down with each move to include only those things that I really use. Ten years ago when we were giddy with excitement and confidence, we ran through the store with that electronic scanner convinced we knew exactly what we needed to start our lives together. But really, it was those gifts that were not on the list that have become so much more valuable to me. It comes down to a mix of handmade and practical items. The handmade gifts of artwork,photography, pottery, our ketuba, my wedding dress made by my mom, the hand embroidered wedding sampler from my sister...all made and given with love. With every move, they give us an immediate feeling of home. I treasure those gifts.

And then there are the practical gifts, like the step stool. They aren't fancy or expensive things. They weren't on our registry, but they are gifts that we use on a near daily basis. Like these Dean and Deluca potholders. I am fully committed to them. They are perfect and I can't imagine ever using anything else. Not too bulky, never feel the heat, and I can throw them in the washer. This is going to sound so weird and juvenile, but if I could, I would marry them. Yes, that is how much Iove these potholders. Did I really just write that? And then there is the electronic tooth brush that seemed like a strange gift, until we started using it every day. And the garden tools. I use that shovel far more often than the crystal candy dish which is currently packed away in a storage unit.

I know that gifts shouldn't be the focus of weddings, but they are tangible reminders of those we love and the lessons we have learned from them. Wedding gifts can also be the source for laughter and eye-rolling. Like my friend who received what seemed like 25 identical casserole dishes. We spent the day before her wedding driving around trying to exchange some of them for more needed items. Another friend received an excessive amount of decorative serving trays. We received a ton of large serving bowls. Adam teases me about the bowls, but I actually use them pretty regularly. And then there is the chicken pitcher. It was a gift from a friend's parents. We just couldn't picture ourselves pouring fresh orange juice from the mouth of a chicken. Just wasn't our style and it seemed bizarre. We quickly found a new home for it. So when we moved to Sicily, we had to laugh because we were suddenly surrounded by chicken pitchers. It seems that it is a popular souvenir item. Who knew we would end up in the land of the chicken pitcher?!

As we prepare to celebrate our tenth anniversary, I am happy to report that our marriage is still going strong(just like the step stool) and although I toyed with the idea of getting a chicken pitcher to mark the occasion, we are actually going to be celebrating with a trip to Belgium and the Netherlands. And my mother is kindly giving us the gift of watching our children while we are gone. Much better than a chicken pitcher, don't you think?

Have any favorite wedding gifts or stories to share? Or have a gift you always give to newlyweds?
Sarah in deepest, darkest Lomellina said...

Happy Anniversary !!!

Emily said...

I don't know, I *really* like our chicken pitcher! Happy anniversary! And, have fun!

Theresa said...

We received a set of handmade, hand painted terra cotta bowls, one broke but we still have the other. I used the broken one to make a mosaic, which, come to think of, I have blogged about. :) Come see what we are doing, a fun giveaway.

likeschocolate said...

I also love my china! However, for the life of me I don't know why people thought we needed a ton of picture frames. It wasn't something we registered for. We were poor college students we needed more practicle items. Congratulations on 10 years!

boatbaby said...

So Sweet! We got married in Bali and only had my dad in attendance. We registered at West Marine (a boating store) when friends threw us a tropical party upon returning home. We got a waterproof handheld VHF radio that we still use today! We love that radio!

threedogstudio said...

I remember your wedding vividly, family, Cajun music, the dancing, your Dad, Aunt Dot, the breeze blowing across the prairie, the bubbles...... I have a picture of Elizabeth R. walking across the field. Her wedding last Saturday was beautiful! Hi to your Mom. Karol

okijeepgirl said...

Happy Anniversary to you both and have a wonderful time on your trip!!!

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary! We celebrated 12 years just a few weeks ago. Hard to believe how much life is packed into so few years and how quickly they seem to be flying by.

I'm sitting here staring at crystal we never use. (Doesn't fit dishwasher and I HATE hand washing) I still have towels sitting in the linen closet that have not been used. (We got a lot) I do LOVE the silverware we got and love to use it. I love the gift my dad gave us...honeymoon to Wine Country in N. CA. Nice to remember!

Jan

Amy said...

Sorry...I think one of the large serving bowl sets was from me! Happy anniversary to a wonderful couple!

Corinne said...

What a lovely way to look back at 10 years. Congrats friend, and I can't wait to hear about your trip :)

Cami said...

Interesting post. My 10-year is coming up next month, and I immediately though of the cheese slicer and even the note that came with it ("The only way to slice cheese.") I do love a practical gift. Stepstools WOULD be great. I had to buy 4 when I moved into my new house. I am very short. :)

T.L. Holmes said...

I'm excited to read your blog even more now that I just realized you are a military family!! My boyfriend is in the Navy and it can be very stressful at times. I love the great pictures of Easter in Sicily. Have a wonderful week!

Heather said...

Congratulations! And wonderful post, as always :). The wedding gift that comes to mind is a tall white storage cabinet my aunts gave us. It's moved with us every time and served as a dish cupboard, a pantry, an entertainment center, and a linen closet at various times. I imagine once we can afford to buy furniture, it will become garage storage, but it has proved to be invaluably useful in all the odd little spaces we've called home.

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