Monday, July 4, 2011

20 years

Nobody wanted me to marry that man. "Go to college! You're still so young. Go and be free. Your going to tie yourself down and regret it later."

We thought that my dad was going to have to be institutionalized. He hated the whole idea. He refused to spend any money on renting a tux (or anything else) and swore he would walk me down the isle in his overalls.

My mom patiently helped me plan the wedding. We shopped for flowers and material for bridesmaids dresses. We called everybody, begging and borrowing for decorations. I wore my cousins wedding dress, another cousin performed the ceremony and yet another cousin was my photographer. The venue was free, the singing was a-cappella, the coordinator was my great-aunt Ollie Bell, and the whole thing was nuts. But, the groom was Rodney Barrett and that was all my eyes could see.

There have been few things in my life that I've been that sure of. I wanted to be with him and nothing could convince me otherwise. We both felt that way from the moment we laid eyes on each other. I can still take myself back to that day and feel it all over again. Seeing him from across the room, our eyes locking and... I was done for. My knees literally went weak. And if eyes locking made me go weak, you can imagine what happened the first time he kissed me (which was about 3 hours later).

We talked so many times after the wedding about how we should have just run away together and saved ourself the grief of all the drama and money. But, weddings are more for the family than for the couple...a concept I've never understood. I've given my children permission to elope.

Today, we celebrate 20 years of marriage. Although, I felt married to him from the beginning. God formed some beautiful master plan and, I'm sure, has enjoyed the show since the two of us have been married. Rodney and I were talking the other night and decided that even the fact that we landed on the planet in the same generation, within years of each other, and then to have somehow ended up in the same room at the same time and fell in love that forcefully, that it all had to be masterfully planned. 20 years is only a drop in the bucket of time, a tiny speck in God's tapestry. 20 years to us is quite a long time and, in the same breath, it has gone by like a vapor.

So, after 20 years of babies, houses, farm, dogs, cats, laughter, tears, fights, make-ups, work, bill-paying, more crying, more laughing, more bills, where-are-my-socks?, blessings, struggling, living with, living without, toddlers, school, sports, teenagers, discipline, and even and little counseling, we are coming around to a place in our life where Jenni and Rodney can be Jenni and Rodney again. We are whisking ourselves away tonight for the first time since our honeymoon. We will attend the big fireworks show and hopefully make a few of our own. And, I hope I get at least 20 more years with that man.