I can remember that much of my family from Texas was there to see me graduate. Many of my aunts and uncles were there, along with some of my cousins. My only living grandparent was there as well, even though she had just the month before had a fairly severe stroke. It was your typical graduation ceremony. The valedictorian gave his speech, the senior girl's choir sang a touching song, we had our names called and took our diplomas. A very good family friend was on the school board and she gave me mine. Finally, it was all over. I had plans!
May 27th was my 21st wedding anniversary! Yes, I got married one day after high school graduation. Twenty-three hours after as Jeff likes to tell it. I had gone through the entire school year as some one's fiance. I heard all the jokes about "When's the baby due?" (turns out about 2 1/2 years later). I had to listen to the counselor tell me I was making a huge mistake, to go on to college and then see what happens. My parents really didn't have many objections. I guess considering I was only 17 when we got engaged, maybe they should have. They did have a stipulation. I had to finish school. No big deal I thought. Then his job moved him 4 hours away. From November to May, I thought I was going to die. They seemed like the 6 longest months of my short life. Somehow I made it though.
We only dated for 2 months before he asked me to marry him. We had, in fact, only known each other for 2 months. I didn't care, I was "in love". Now, I don't doubt that there was really love there, but I am sure as I look back that there was a lot more infatuation. He was terribly cute, still is I think. He was charming and funny. We had many of the same ideas about all different things. Family, religion, work, play, even growing a garden and fishing. We were two peas in a pod, so, when he asked I said :"YES!" (Actually the first thing I said was, "Are you serious?")
Twenty-one years ago, I looked at him as someone I loved and liked. Both are important, but I'm not sure I looked at him as my friend. Now I can honestly say that for many of these years I have been married to my best friend. The kind of friend that is also your buddy. You like to hang around with them and do goofy things. A friend that challenges you to do something that they know you can, even when you just know that you can't.
In twenty-one years, we did a lot of growing up together. Legally we may have been adults (18 and 20), but we were still very much kids. Some things force you to grow up. We have gone through losing a child, and having two other beautiful children. We now have one heading to college and one to 2nd grade. We have seen our grandparents pass on as well as some of those relatives who were at my graduation and our wedding. We've seen our siblings marry, have kids, divorce, remarry. His parents have divorced as well, but his dad has a great new wife. Many great things have happened in the time we've been married and I expect more to come, but the greatest thing is realizing that I have indeed married my best friend!
Neither of us could legally by beer, but now our marriage can!
Not quite 21 years here, but only a few months away!