Aloha, Y’all

When Wes and I got married, we were given some great advice…

“Start planning your ten year anniversary now.”

Ten years seemed like a long way off back then.  It was great advice, though, because it further solidified the expectation that we would still be married in ten years.  And while that seems like a bleak assessment of the success rate of marriages today, it was a great thing for us because it helped us to think about what life would be like in ten years.

We rightly assumed that we would be in ministry, which led to the even more correct assumption that we wouldn’t be rich enough to afford to celebrate in any thrilling, exciting way.  But thrilling and exciting is what you make of it, and we knew, even then, that we’d still be thrilled and excited about one another in ten years.  We could celebrate anywhere and be just fine with it, as long as we were together.

Several months ago, we started talking about it all again.  We started thinking about how we could take a few days and go somewhere close by to celebrate this big anniversary.  Because we’ve spent so much of the past few years running together, we thought running another marathon for our anniversary would be fitting.  We changed our focus from “somewhere close by” to “somewhere close by that has a marathon in the middle of December.”

Wes started doing his research, and I began to envision a ten year anniversary celebration in some quaint, little Podunksville, Texas somewhere.  A B&B, a 26.2 mile run through country roads, and a long drive back and forth spent talking about life without two girls interrupting us every two minutes with requests for McDonald’s.  Ahhh….

“I think I found our marathon,” Wes said, cutting into these blissful daydreams.

“Where to?,” I asked gleefully.

 “Honolulu.”

I thought about this for a second, wondering where Honolulu, Texas is (hey, we have a Paris), when he grinned at me.  Surely not…

“Honolulu… Hawaii?,” I clarified.

“Yeah,” he said.

“Yeah,” I responded.  “We can’t afford that.”

“This marathon is a lot cheaper than the Walt Disney World Marathon.”

I frowned.  “But the trip out there, Wes –“

“If I figure out a way to make it happen, to fly us out for free and to pay for everything else without any money coming out of the budget or our savings… would you let me take you to Hawaii?”

Well, twist my arm.  Of course I would!  But there wasn’t any way he would be able to come up with that kind of money.  While I waited for him to discover this on his own and come to the same realization I’d come to, I humored him and joined him as he began to plan the anniversary getaway that was never going to happen.  He made detailed, exhaustive notes and smiled at me, telling me that it felt like we were there already.

Yeah.  Keep dreaming, buddy.

Meanwhile, we took any extra money we got at birthday time, at Christmas time, at random gift times, and put it aside.  We stopped giving gifts to each other and put more money aside.  Wes said a whole lot about frequent flyer miles and reward points that I didn’t really pay attention to because — that’s right — this anniversary getaway wasn’t going to happen anyway.  Because we couldn’t afford it, remember?

And then?  He started booking things.  Flights, marathon registrations, car rentals, hotels… I was getting confirmation emails for all of it.  Before I could flip out over how he was spending every last dime we had, I put the numbers together, looked at our credit card statement… and gasped.

All paid.  That brilliant man of mine had figured out a way to save, to shop around, and to pay for it all without us seeing a dent in our budget or our savings.

“How did you do this?!,” I asked.  “You paid for everything!”

“Well,” he sighed, “not everything.  We’ll have to save a little more if we want to actually eat while we’re there.”

“They’ll hand out gels on the marathon course!,” I assured him.  “And if that’s not enough, I’ll bring a jar of peanut butter in my suitcase!”  (Doing this thing in style, y’all.)

All that said, I’m just a little excited.  We didn’t need an anniversary getaway at all, but I’m so thankful that this has worked out and that we’ll be able to celebrate ten years in such a memorable location.  So thankful for Wes and his insistence that he’d make this happen!

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