Monday, December 26, 2016

Twenty-Five Years, A New Engagement, and a Fantastic Future

Today marks 25 years since Wendy and I started officially dating. December 26, 1991. Not only was it her brother, Brian’s, birthday, it was the day she decided that she wanted to be exclusive with me. It has been, without a doubt, the finest twenty-five years of my life so far. Here’s to many, many more years for us.

To be fair, we had been dating for most of the month before Christmas. We spent my birthday together and we went to the holiday dance at Lockport High School. And we actually went on our first date back in April 1991, when we went to Burger King. We also dated for about two weeks over the summer, but neither of us were ready at that time. She dated another guy at the start of the school year. By Thanksgiving, we were mostly back together.

Thankfully by Christmas, we were ready to be serious and start dating regularly. I can still very clearly remember when she finally agreed to be my girlfriend. We were in my car after our shifts at Hills in the Lockport Mall. She told me that she didn’t want to see me anymore. I was immediately angry. We had just exchanged Christmas presents and she told me that. I was just a little peeved. Then she started laughing and then told me she was joking. That was the beginning of our dating life.

We got married almost seven years later. When we got married, Wendy’s sister, Tammy, brought her twin boys to the reception for a short time. They were only about ten months old at the time. Wendy and I had our picture taken with them that is part of our wedding album. Looking at my nephews now, I can’t believe how quickly they’ve grown up.

The twins just turned twenty a couple weeks ago. We just learned at our Christmas with Wendy’s family that Jayson, one of the twins, and his girlfriend, Brittany, just got  engaged. I think it’s very sweet that he chose Christmas as the time to pop the question. They are a cute couple even if I relentlessly pick on them about nearly everything.

I posted on Facebook on Sunday about their engagement, and I stated how I felt like they were still twelve years old. It’s not that I think they’re too young. Jayson has a good head on his shoulders and knows exactly what he wants in life. Most importantly, he is not afraid to work hard to get what he wants. I couldn’t be more proud of him.

I guess my issue is that it doesn’t seem possible that he could be ready to take that step and get married. He just can’t be old enough. I remember like it was yesterday that Tammy first brought the twins home and I held them each for the first time. Of course, I was scared and they screamed the entire time. Babies smell fear and will make your life a living hell if they know you’re afraid of them.

Maybe it’s just my refusal to realize how old I am actually getting. I know what the number says, but I don’t feel or act like it. I cannot fathom how much time has passed in what seems to be the blink of an eye. My mind says there is no way that twenty years has gone by. It makes me think of how soon it will be for my own kids. I know they’re young still, but time never seems to slow. In fact, it seems to get just a little bit faster all the time.

When it all comes down to it, we are now witnessing what our parents witnessed when Wendy and I started dating. At least Brittany is likable. I’m pretty sure when I was that age, I was definitely not high on the likability list. In twenty-five years, Jayson and Brittany will be where Wendy and I are at now. (Except I will still have more hair --sorry, Jay!)

Twenty-five years from now, when Jayson and Brittany are thinking back on their time together like I am today, Wendy and I will be looking back on half a century of love. That may be the most important thing we can tell the young lovers. Someday, they will be able to look back on their time together and relate it to another generation in the throes of love. That’s the lesson I want to impart to Jayson and Brittany -- take the time to reflect.

Congratulations, Jayson and Brittany. Of course I would be honored to be at your wedding. Unless, of course, you decide to keep it opening weekend for Star Wars: Episode VIII.

Craig Bacon wants everyone to know how much he loves Wendy. Maybe he’s not always the most romantic guy, but he never stops thinking of her. Every day.