Yesterday – the 14th – was a 35th anniversary for Diana and me. We were married soon after birth.
Whenever couples unite together, there is a coming together also of two family systems with varied ways of living life. I can see this is something of a challenge for my boys as they connect with the young ladies in their world. We’ve noticed a number of times that our family way of living and parenting has oft been vastly different than some of the girl-dominated families of their relationships.
And my family background was immediately very noticeably different from Diana’s!! I may write a series of posts about this – which I think will be humorous especially for some of Diana’s relatives who read everything I write! Just remember – I love you guys, no matter what I say over the next week!
Stimulating my thought to do this was the men’s retreat this past weekend – which was a camping event complete with snake visitations! (see previous blog post)
My family did not go camping. We had the good sense to take a vacation where you go somewhere nice and sleep in a comfortable place like human beings in the modern age! Diana’s family went camping – tent camping – the whole 9.99 yards! In fact, they loved it so much that one time they did it for an entire summer and went all over the entire USA.
So, when I met Diana, she was intent that I should learn this very wonderful family activity that had such warm and romantic memories for her. Being the compliant fellow that I am with such a benevolent heart to please, I did it. We even went camping for 10 of the 17 nights we took on our honeymoon trip to Florida and the southeast. We did a fair amount of camping trips with the boys when they were little, and even a couple of times since living here in Maryland. There was one particularly good trip to Acadia about a decade ago. But honestly, most of them were washouts – I mean that very literally – involving copious amounts of water falling from the sky. One time on Ocracoke Island, the people in the tent next to us were literally able to canoe around their campsite.
Well, back in 2006 when I had a two-month sabbatical, we included some camping nights in Yellowstone and the Mountain West as part of our trip to the National EFCA Convention in Denver. One evening in Yellowstone – in JUNE – it was simply too cold to sleep. There was frost on the inside walls of the tent. About 3:00 in the morning I looked at Diana in the dark and said, “Diana, I’m going to confess something to you that I’ve hidden from you for all these 29 years we’ve been married. I HATE CAMPING; I’VE ALWAYS HATED CAMPING; I only ever did it because I love you. But this is the end. I will never go camping again.”
And I haven’t … not for Diana … not for the men of the church. “Read my lips,” said George Bush 41 … “not gonna do it … wouldn’t be prudent.”