Forty years together in the dance of life. That’s what Papa and I recently celebrated when we marked our wedding anniversary at the beginning of this autumn-filled month.
My favorite season is fall, when deciduous trees boast of their brilliant jackets of red, gold, and orange leaves, and I was pleased that the timing was right for an autumn wedding all those years ago.
This past weekend, our grown children, their spouses, and our two sweet grandgirls were all here in Mama’s Empty Nest to help us mark the occasion of Papa’s and my anniversary. Our home was bursting with noise, laughter, hugging, storytelling, playing with the little ones, and even cuddling with Barley, our son and daughter-in-law’s dog.
Papa cooked a big breakfast for everyone Saturday morning and then we all jaunted off to a nearby farm where there was a pumpkin patch festival. For the littlest one, at 10 months, this was her first time in the pumpkin patch and for our 2 ½ year old, it was most exciting.
The afternoon proved to be one of those glorious sunny fall days, a trifle warm but still comfortable. After visiting the farm animals and climbing on the huge hay bale pile, we all climbed aboard a large wagon pulled by a farm tractor for a hay ride out to the pumpkin patch.
Yesterday, I posted a photo of the lovely countryside where we were. All around us were farmland, rolling hills, and trees beginning to burst forth in their autumn colors. We picked our pumpkins and posed for tons of photos to satisfy both this Mama and all of our kids’ social media platforms.
Before taking a return hay ride back to the farm, some of us headed to the corn maze – a labyrinth path cut into the cornfield. While riding back on the hay wagon, I sat on that somewhat uncomfortable bale of straw and just gazed at my loved ones.
All of them. In one place. With me.
Once again, I was amazed at how blessed I truly am to have such a loving family. What did I do to deserve such happiness? Nothing. I don’t really deserve it. Each one of my family members is a gift from God to me. And I continue to be thankful for my bountiful blessings.
We spent the entire afternoon at the pumpkin festival watching Little One get a happy pumpkin face painted on her cheek, playing games, cavorting in the corn pit (a large area with dried, shelled corn to play in), climbing up stacks of hay bales with her much loved uncles and over and over again slipping down the sliding ‘boards’ fashioned there.
We cheered for those of us who attempted corn shooting – a air-compression chute that shot ears of corn at bales of hay targets in the distance -and again when even Little One was brave enough to try.
We laughed at the pumpkin launching, via slingshot style devices, when the pumpkins landed in the pond rather than over the pond to hit the targets. All the while Littlest One watched and smiled and laughed, not wanting to miss anything by taking a nap.
Afterwards, we returned home and Papa and I received a thoughtful anniversary card and gift from our grown children that made me cry.
But just like those infomercials on TV, that’s not all!
We conversed over a good food with a delicious family dinner at a nearby restaurant and our youngest, our son, surprised us with some serious questions about Papa’s and my 40 years together. Inquiries like how did we know we were the ones for each other, what was our happiest moment in our marriage, and what was the hardest.
Much laughter and even some tears ensued as we answered the questions thoughtfully. I wholeheartedly agreed with Papa’s answer to “what advice can you give for us about how to make our marriage last?”
Papa immediately replied, “Just always remember there are three of you in your marriage – God and the two of you.” I nodded and added, “And always put God first.”
For the rest of the evening, we gathered again at home and just enjoyed each other’s company. We heard about oldest daughter and son-in-law’s recent trip to Peru and viewed some of their photos before heading to bed.
Sunday morning found us all together to worship our Lord in the same little country church where Papa and I committed ourselves to each other those 40 years ago one lovely autumn day. All too soon, it was time for some to leave, to say our farewells once more until the next time, to send them off to their lives elsewhere with well wishes and prayers for safe travels.
And even midst the tears that I choked back while saying goodbye to them, I felt a blanket of happiness encircling me with the warmth of gratefulness and love as I recalled the maze of life I’ve traveled to get to this point.
It truly has been a-maze-ing.
“Happiness, that grand mistress of the ceremonies in the dance of life, impels us through all its mazes and meanderings, but leads none of us by the same route.” ~ Charles Caleb Colton