Monday, August 22, 2016

The Crystal Anniversary Get-Away: Part II

On August 11, Mr. S and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary, and after we returned from a completely unexpected--and beautiful-- mini get-away, I blogged about our romantic adventure, beginning this two-part post last Monday with PART I.  Here is the conclusion. :)

Before we headed out for the evening, Mr. S insisted that I open my gifts. The card he chose was so pretty.

And one of my gifts was a beautiful gold and diamond floating heart necklace.

Mr. S had made reservations for us at a fabulous fondue restaurant where we were shown to a private and intimate table for two. Imagine my surprise when I found the table top scattered with rose petals and saw the long-stemmed red rose lying at my place.

I felt so loved--and very much like a lady.

Dinner was fabulous; we shared cheese and chocolate fondue, complete with platters of artisan accompaniments and bowls of fresh fruits (and a virgin Love Martini for me).

And while the ambience was beautiful, the most perfect part of dinner was the quiet conversation we shared. We talked about everything, including our courtship and wedding day, and spent those long, leisurely moments strolling down the curving paths of memory lane. To be told that my husband still feels honored that I am his wife after so many years have passed was magical. We agreed to meet at the same place and at the same time fifteen years from that moment, and I immediately found myself anticipating that far-off moment.

Dark had fallen when we stepped out of the restaurant, and the plaza was beautifully lit with twinkling golden lights, so we took our time walking back to our car, and listened to our favorite songs as we drove back to the Welsh Hills.

Once we were settled into our beautiful suite, Mr. S lit some candles and turned on the soft, soulful strains of Billy Paul and Otis Redding. (Oh, he knows me too well, and knows what happens every time I hear "Me and Mrs. Jones" and "These Arms of Mine"! ;))

I took a relaxing bubble bath in the amazing Italian soak tub...

And Mr. S washed my back.

We spent the final moments of our Crystal Anniversary here:

Our life together is very much like a collection of eclectic short stories, part romantic fairytale and part gripping history. It is filled with passionate love stories and action-packed tales of adventure, and it is the greatest book that I have ever written. Each year I share with the man I love begins a new chapter in our book of life, and it seems that I can never wait to turn the page to find out what happens next.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Crystal Anniversary Get-Away: Part I

I had been anticipating our 15th wedding anniversary for quite some time, but because of several recent life events, I assumed that a romantic August 11 get-away was out of the question, and made plans to spend a quiet and content evening at home.

But Mr. S had other plans.

He had arranged a fabulous anniversary surprise for me, making reservations for two at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast in the secluded Welsh Hills.

We began the morning of our crystal wedding anniversary at 6 a.m. with a glorious nursing session, and then he and I enjoyed our morning coffee before sharing breakfast with the children, who had taken the time to make us beautiful anniversary cards, and then prepared to head out just before 9:00. Once the children were settled in with my parents, Mr. S and I were free to head off on our adventure for two in the rolling Welsh Hills.

We stopped off in a beautifully quaint  historic town filled with interesting and eclectic little shops, art galleries, and cafes. The cobblestone streets were lined with blooming magenta and pink impatiens and lacy ferns and little umbrella-clad bistro tables. After strolling hand-in-hand along the winding walkways and browsing in antique jewelry shops and vintage bookstores and confectionaries, we decided to have lunch at Moe's, a bluesy restaurant on Main Street.

I loved the atmosphere. Fabulous pencil art sketches of iconic musicians lined the walls, and we enjoyed eating to soft blues music, talking over the soulful strains of Otis Redding (my favorite) and Ray Charles.

Mr. S loves the Blues Brothers, so we had to take a photo of Jake and Elwood!
Mr. S loved his "deep south" meal, prepared Alabama-style:

 Note the collard greens and red beans and rice? It's hard to believe that he was born and raised in Detroit. :) But his parents had deep southern roots that somehow managed to imprint themselves on my love. ;)

After lunch we headed out once more, this time to Whitt's coffee shop where we ordered two cups of amazing coffee and hand-made vanilla custard, which we shared under the shade of a ruffled umbrella.

I felt so relaxed, so attuned to my husband, and knew that so much awaited us.

After a while, we headed back to the car, and drove toward our destination, taking the time to admire the pretty scenery and beautiful Colonial and Victorian homes along the way. After several long moments, we reached a long, curving tree-lined, sun-dappled lane, and followed it to the inn.

The inn was breathtaking, surrounded by fifteen acres of wooded beauty and lush English gardens, and owned by the most wonderful and hospitable couple who gave us a guided tour of the grounds before showing us to our luxury king suite.

Named Berllan Glyn, Welsh for orchard glen, the guest suite was filled with fabulous antiques, art work, and a gorgeous sitting area. The luxurious two-room bath housed an impressive glass and marble steam shower and was tastefully  decorated with imported pieces of art. It also included a private screened-in terrace with a spectacular view of the gardens and private access to an amazing swimming pool.

Two o'clock had come, so we spent the next hour nursing, and afterwards, we strolled the grounds and enjoyed a long, leisurely swim in the pool, which was absolutely wonderful. Around 6:00, we shared a private--and very romantic--soak in the courtyard hot tub.

I could have been very content to spend the rest of the evening walking hand-in-hand among the gardens or enjoying the bocce ball court and the swaying two-person hammocks stretched between a pair of beautiful old pine trees, but, once again, Mr. S had other plans, so I put my hand in his, allowing him to lead me back to our suite so we could get ready for a night out.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

An Adult Nursing Relationship Love Story: The 15th Year

Once upon a time, quite by chance, a girl met a boy. They fell in love at first sight, and from that very moment, they vowed never to part.

Their love continued to bloom, and before she knew it, the girl was planning her wedding. On a warm August evening, just as three generations of women in her family had done before, she  pledged her unending love to the man standing by her side, and she became his wife.

She soon learned the imperfect perfection known as marriage, and fell more deeply in love with him  as each day passed. Soon, there were bills to pay, meals to cook, laundry to wash, separations to face--and the beautiful sounds of a baby's laughter and the gentle pitter patter of tiny feet.

Time passed quickly, and over the years she sometimes found herself faced with the sacred words of her marriage vows, standing by him for richer or poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, and each time life presented itself to them in a way that was not always kind, she pulled herself more tightly to his side, adjusting her sails according to the wind's direction, weathering the storm...and fell more deeply in love.

She changed over the years, from a girl into a woman--and a mother. Her body blossomed, and with each new transformation, she saw new admiration in his eyes; he continued to tell her that she was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen--and that he was the luckiest man in the world to have her, referring to her as "his girl", even after so many years had gone by. He told her that every change was a symbol of her love for him, creating a timeline of the history they had shared, and that every mark upon her skin was seen as a badge of honor and courage. And she knew the meaning of unabiding love in its purest form.

Suddenly, one day, as if in the blink of an eye, the calendar changed. It was August again. And the 15th year of their marriage had arrived.

Unbeknownst to her, this man had a very special surprise waiting for his "girl", and they slipped off on a romantic get-away for two, just as they had done so many years before.

They shared a wonderful day together, and that evening, he took her out for an intimate dinner, and when they were shown to their table, she found this waiting for her:
As she lifted the fragrant flower to her nose to inhale the heady perfume of its velvet petals, she realized that their love was very much like that rose. From a delicate bud it had flourished, unfurling with every passing moment, until bursting into full bloom to display the beauty it had always held inside.

And when she opened her eyes to find him watching her with a smile playing across his face, she smiled back and reached for his hand, which was waiting for her touch, and neither of them said a word. They didn't need to. Love was had always been there. It was in their eyes. Just as it had been when they'd first met so long ago.

"What do you say?" he asked, lifting her hand to his mouth. "Same time, same place, 15 years from now?"

"Yes," she replied. "15 years from now. And I can't wait."