In just two weeks, my wife and I will be marking a significant milestone—our 40th wedding anniversary! Having gotten married just three days before Christmas (our parents, “how could you do that?”), it has always been a challenge celebrating our anniversary as I previously chronicled on the occasion of our 34th anniversary. After our kids threw us a surprise 25thwedding anniversary dinner in 2004, …
…I have tried to at least have a significant celebration every five years.
So, for our 30th anniversary, I planned a surprise trip to the Bahamas. And to accomplish this, I needed a four-day weekend. Knowing that it would be impossible to pull that off before Christmas, I suggested we celebrate our anniversary in mid-January. This time I only told my wife to pack for warm weather and to be sure and bring a swimsuit.
We had to connect through Atlanta and my plan had been once there to wander from gate to gate tricking her into thinking the posted city was our destination only to finally arrive at the gate to Nassau. Only my efforts were thwarted before I ever left Memphis when I neglected to get our passports verified upon check-in which meant as we boarded, the irritating beep-beep-beep, caused the agent to check our tickets and say out loud, “Oh I see the problem, you are going to the Bahamas, I need to check your passports.” In spite of spoiling my surprise, we had a great time there.
For our 35th anniversary, having given up on a surprise destination, I planned for us to get a taste of Paris, a first for both of us, in conjunction with my springtime teaching trip to Amsterdam. This time, our only surprise was that our first day there happened to be May 1st, which in case you didn’t know is a national holiday in France. As a result, almost all of the museums we had planned to go to that day were closed (how else could I have gotten this photo at the Louvre with no crowd around?).
So, when it came to us planning how to celebrate our 40th anniversary, we went back and forth trying to decide where to go. We did agree that we wanted to go somewhere neither of us had been before just like on our 30th and 35th anniversary trips. For this anniversary, my original plan was to be at our destination over Christmas celebrating our anniversary actually on our anniversary just like when we were celebrating being newlyweds on our honeymoon forty years ago.
And to me, celebrating our anniversary around Christmas every year has always added a magical festivity to the celebration—as if others around us were joining in the celebration of our marriage. We explored several Christmas Market destinations both in Germany as well as closer to home in Quebec City, but this would mean we would miss spending Christmas with our one local granddaughter. Even if we travelled back home the day after our anniversary, we would no doubt be frantic before leaving and after coming back getting ready for Christmas (probably what our parents suffered through 40 years ago). My wife was not very enthusiastic about either idea.
So, if we weren’t going to be gone over Christmas, maybe we should go somewhere warm instead since no matter where we went, they would be celebrating Christmas. We explored several destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean but just couldn’t find a spot that gave us cultural activities besides offering a beach. Then our daughter in Seattle scheduled her eye surgery several weeks before Christmas and I recalled that several west coast cities were waystation stopovers for a domestic trip to Hawaii. It seemed Hawaii would be the perfect location.
While previously, our whole family had gone to Hawaii twenty years ago, Kauai was the only island we had visited. So, we decided for this trip just to visit Oahu. As we researched this destination more, we felt like there were many things we could do besides hanging out on the beach, in particular getting to see Pearl Harbor.
As this blog posts, we should be just about 24 hours away from hopping on that plane and heading to Hawaii. Knowing that I had some sort of surprise on our 30th and 35th anniversary trips, only time will tell if another unexpected event occurs. But no matter what happens, I am confident we will be able to celebrate our latest marriage milestone by creating lasting memories of a great time!