We still remain ill here, Matthew is slowly recovering and even Kenny's cough is still present...now Joshie has the hack. You KNOW something is wrong when 3 little boys all would prefer to stay home than go to the park!! I am better, but have the raspy voice and lingering cough. On the phone with a friend this morning, she suggested only half in jest that perhaps we have the swine flu as it has hit a nearby county. Whether swine flu or otherwise, this has to be the nastiest thing to run through our family ever, and the weeks long recovery and general lethargy of all of us is to be taken seriously. Thankfully, Dominick has thus far escaped it all.
In the midst of this weekend, we celebrated our 23rd anniversary. Well...celebrated isn't the right word. We looked at each other and said "Happy Anniversary!", and that was about it. We thought about trying to go out for dinner or something, but it just seemed like too much effort with all of us feeling this way. We might try and do something in a couple of weeks, or wait until next year.
One thing we did do was curl up on the couch, and we shared with the boys about our dating years, and how Dominick proposed. It is so much fun to watch their grins and giggles as they imagine Daddy as a young man, down on one knee with a ring in hand...then they all had to clown around and pretend to do the same thing. We reminded them that I was only 3 years older than Kenny and Matthew when I met Dominick...and that they might be sitting in class next to the very girl that might one day become their wife. You just never know!
Dominick and I met when I was 13 and he was 15, it was the summer before I started high school and CB radios were all the rage. We met talking on the CB radio...his handle was "Charlie Brown" and mine...don't laugh...was "California Sunshine". Corny, but hey...what do you expect from a 13 year old kid?? It was far from "love at first sight", or in this case "love at first listen". He was mouthy and very typically a California teenaged boy...not all that appealing actually! Trying to be cool, tough guy act. But I soon learned that an act was all it was, and as I started high school he soon became my on campus protector, we'd occasionally have lunch together and I began to see the boy behind the act. He didn't fit into any mold...he'd go to keg parties laughing and bringing along his six pack of Coca Cola. He didn't care what anyone thought and because he boldly didn't care, neither did anyone else. He wasn't a jock, he wasn't a pocket-protector type...he actually loved the business clubs and kind of did his own thing, and yet he seemed to fit in with everyone.
It was in the summer of my 15th year when he graduated, and he casually threw out that he didn't have a date for the Grad Night trip to Disneyland our high school graduates always took. I told him "You don't have to miss it, why don't we go as friends?".
The next morning I came home from the overnight trip and told my mom that I think I had met the man I was going to marry.
Something happened and he and I both knew it. We couldn't explain it if we tried but from that point on, in our minds if not in anyone else's, we belonged only to each other. You don't know how many times in the 27 years since then that I have thanked God that He gave me the wisdom at 15 years old to see the extraordinary man that hid inside that 18 year old boy.
We have weathered much, we have grown stronger. We have had our disagreements and spats, we have lived several different kinds of lives together. We have gradually built a family through sweat, hard work and determination. We have had more than our share of joy, we have been blessed beyond all measure.
We stood in the kitchen talking softly Sunday, and I asked Dominick "Did you ever imagine our life being this way when we were young? Did you ever imagine doing all the things we have done?" and he just laughed and shook his head. To the outsider, it may not seem like much...but to two young kids who walked along the railroad tracks to Journey tunes whispering and wondering what our life would hold...our life has been an amazing trip. We have done things others would not. We have thrown in the towel on city life and walked away from stable, years long jobs to find the simpler things found only in small towns. We have started businesses and ended them, we have taken risks and some have paid off and others have not. We have built a life and a home and a family which may not be the envy of others but is certainly more than we could have ever dreamed of...maybe it is fair to say that the life we are living now was one I would have envied when we first started out! We have taken in strangers in the form of little children, and we have loved them, and they have loved us...and we have become one, we have become "The LaJoys".
And it all started with a CB radio, Charlie Brown, and the California Sunshine.
The boys have been fascinated with our 25th anniversary approaching in a couple of years. We have joked about how they would be throwing us a party if they were older, and that they need to save their pennies to send us on a trip! Hahaha! As we sat on the couch talking about our dating years and our wedding, we mentioned that some people have another ceremony to renew their vows. It is not something we have ever considered doing, I don't know why but I guess we thought once was enough and I have no real need to do it again...although I certainly can understand why others choose to do so. We may have to rethink that as the boys showed incredible enthusiasm for the idea. They talked about how cool it would be to do it, how they could dress in suits and the girls could dress in long dresses and they could be there to see Mommy and Daddy get married since they missed the first time. Something about it sounded kind of sweet, kind of wonderful...to have our completed family surround us as we recommit to one another and celebrate not only our marriage, but what that marriage has created. It is something we might give some more thought to, if only for what it would do for our kids in terms of cementing our family in a unique way.
And somewhere on a back table in a place of honor would sit a CB radio :-)