05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Close Collaborations of the Sweetest Kind

Tomorrow – July 2nd – is my 37th anniversary. Woo-HOO! A prime number!

Yes, that’s about all that the number 37 has going for it. It’s not a pretty number. I happen to be one of those apparently odd people who sees every letter and number in a specific and unchanging color. 3 is a pale orangey-yellow, and 7 is purple; not a color combination I would ever decorate a room in.

Plus it’s an odd number, and one which doesn’t end in 5. People who love even numbers will generally make an exception for the 5s. Not for 37.

But after 37 years of marriage, and four fabulous adult offspring, I have to say that sticking it out is definitely worth it. Sure, we had some tough years. I was a stay-at-home mom for two decades while we raised those four babies on one teacher’s salary. And coaching stipends. And driver education instructor pay. And seasonal field work. And what ever else my husband could do to ensure our children were being raised by their mother.

Of course, there was stress. And battles. And tears. But we always held tight to each other and our kids. Thick and thin, as they say. For better or for worse, as we promised.

I was a master at stretching our dollars and credit limits to give my husband a break, and our kids fun memories. Frequent trips to the California coast – just a 6 hour drive from Phoenix – gave us all a respite from both the heat, and the hectic daily routine of a family of six.

There were also winter weekend trips to the Arizona mountains, whenever snow fell at the right time. Used clothing stores provided handed-down snow pants and boots. And every snowman is photographically documented.

Five years ago, my husband retired after 40+ years of teaching. I had gone back to teaching for 11 years – from our youngest daughter’s entry into 3rd grade, through her graduation from college – and retired with a tiny monthly check of my own.

And then, I started working on my writing. My husband says it’s “my turn” after all those years spent focusing on the children. So while I write, he does the laundry, the dishes, and the grocery shopping. He walks the dogs, and cleans up the yard after them. He takes care of our landscaping. He drives me to the airport, and doesn’t grumble when I’m off to a conference or event.

This collaboration – what better word for a marriage? – has been worth all the hard work we put into it. Over the years we have grown to understand each other, to appreciate each other’s strengths, and forgive each other’s weaknesses.

To be honest, the tentative partnership which began 37 years ago has become a very successful endeavor.

I love you, Mister Man. Thank you for marrying me.


Judith Ashley said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Kris, especially the picture. May you and your collaborator have a special celebration this year. Maybe 37 isn't the right color combination, etc. but it is a milestone, a worthy achievement that speaks to your commitment to each other and to the family you wanted to create.

amber polo said...

And the story continues...

Sarah Raplee said...

Happy Anniversary, Kris! You were (and are) a beautiful couple.

And you obviously married a True Hero!

Robin Kramme said...

Happy Anniversary, Kris

Diana McCollum said...

Ah-h, congrats on 37 yrs Kris! I'd say that collaboration is one of the most important ones in the world. As Sarah said, you married a true hero who puts your needs before his.