Twenty-five years ago today, July 30, 1988, at 10:30 in the morning I married my best friend, best buddy, confidante, and partner for life Bill Stuart. It was a very simple, beautiful ceremony in the backyard of my parents’ antebellum style home in my south Georgia hometown. We wanted an outdoor wedding and knowing how brutal south Georgia summers can be, we planned it for the morning. I remember vividly that the temperature at 10:00 that morning was already approaching 100 degrees but I never felt that because I was floating on the layer of air just below my feet. And 25 years later, I still am.
When Bill and I met, I was 30 years old, divorced with an 8-year-old daughter. He was 23. And at first, I wouldn’t go out with him because of that age difference. How could he, a single never married 23-year-old, possibly “get” a 30-year-old with a child? But he did. He’s always been wise beyond his years and it didn’t take long for him to show me that our age difference really wasn’t going to be a problem. I thank God every day of my life that he kept coming back to convince me that our relationship would work no matter what our ages were. And today, I never even think about it. I haven’t since the day we got married.
How do you thank someone for 25 years? For investing the better part of their life to spend it with you? When Bill and I met I was a mess from bad decisions I’d made in my young adulthood. He loved me enough to help me put those things behind me and to put myself back together both financially and emotionally. He took on me and my daughter happily, even eagerly, and we became a real family. Bill has never thought of Laura as his step-daughter. She has always belonged to him in his heart and always will. And her children are as much his grandchildren as if his own blood ran in their veins. He would literally walk through fire for the three of them and I love him all the more for it.
And I’m going to tell y’all something I very rarely, almost never, talk about. In the 28 years we’ve known each other we’ve never had a fight. Never. Oh, we don’t always agree on everything but we’ve just never found any disagreement important enough to exchange unkind words. We simply agree to disagree. Now, why don’t I talk about it? Well…few couples can say that they’ve never had a fight. And what if I lose my temper one day and mess up that record…I’m not sure I could stand it. And besides no one has ever believed me when I’ve said it :-) But it’s the truth.
I wish all of you could know my Bill. He’s an exceptionally intelligent, funny, generous, and charming man who deserves everything good in life. Here’s to a wonderful 25 years together, sweetie. I can not wait to see what the next 25 brings! I love you so.