At the end of 1994, I was a 20-something gal dating a really cute boy named Kerry Kimerer.
Exactly 16 years and two days ago, I married him.
It was a lovely, sunny day -warm but not hot; breezy but not cool. Bright, clear, full of promise-- the day and our future.
And, as I took those steps on the arm of my father down the aisle to my soon-to-be husband, I had no idea what I was in for - and neither did Kerry.
Little did we know the stress we'd endure as a young couple searching for secure financial footing. Hmm. That's a journey that continues to be precarious for us and pretty much the rest of the country as our national credit rating yo-yos all over the map, but I digress.
We were clueless about the amount of angst we'd face as we tried to adjust to cohabitation with a new person, compromise over shared household duties, political differences of opinion or difficulties determining individual and combined career paths.
I had no way to tell, on that bright summer's day, that his failure to re-fasten lids securely would madden me beyond measure - nor was he aware that my inability to completely close the lazy-Susan door would drive him to the brink of insanity. Or that running would all at once draw us together in common interest and divide us in competition. I lost that one, BTW; he's fast, I'm slow - end of dual runs.
What did we know from how much both our words - and the absence of them - might sting one another? That we'd laugh heartier, dream bigger and work harder than we had at any point up to one when we both said "I do."
How would we even begin to realize, with that sunshine beaming down on us, that we'd face scary, dark moments and that, in the worst of times, we'd cling together as if to be one solitary, self-supporting unit? All we knew was that we were young and in love and interested in raising a family together.
So, of course, we had no hint of the pain we were in for as we struggled through some problematic pregnancies and one very frightening childbirth.
We were ill-prepared for the sheer and pure joy we'd know as we cradled our long-awaited and adored newborn son in our arms and the unbridled fear that followed as we set him gently down on the family room floor in his infant carrier for the very first time, looking at him, then each other, as we asked, "Now what?"
What indeed - our little miracle, our greatest blessing, Kyle - the perfect amalgamation of Mom's physical characteristics and Dad's personality.
Yep, the four of us (including cherished boxer pup Monica), have formed quite a formidable little team over the years. And guess what? This bit of poetry, which was my wedding gift to Kerry on Sept. 2, 1995, is even truer today than it was back then.
"And I?Will Love You"?
By Patricia A. Kimerer
The sun will rise, it will shine - and I will love you.
Storms will rage, they will subside - and I will love you.
Success will shine its countenance down - and I will love you.
Failure will rear its ugly head - and I will love you.
The miracle of family will spring forth - and I will love you.
Disappointment will descend like rain - and I will love you.
Joy will abound, it will overflow - and I will love you.
Fear will intimidate, it will threaten - and I will love you.
Happiness will abide, it will encircle - and I will love you.
Pain will appear, it will wane - and I will love you.
Faith will sustain, it will endure - and I will love you.
Time will fly, it will crawl - and I will love you.
Earth will abandon, a better place will welcome - and I will love you.
Throughout the elations, throughout the sorrows; For the beauty of today and the hope of each tomorrow;
With my hand in yours, I will support and follow. And I will love you.
Happy anniversary, Ker!
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.