Yesterday, September 11, was our ninth wedding anniversary. It was also the anniversary of one of the worst events in the history of America, seven years ago. The way I see it, we picked the date first, and I really don't appreciate sharing the day.
In the last little while, Dave and I have had to make some tough decisions about our spending habits. Consequently, we are on a very strict budget. This is not being said to provoke sympathy, it is simply a fact. Yes, it's tough raising a family these days on one income - we've come to realize that. Truthfully, it's been hard to change our habits of spending learned in our "single" years, and then when the kids came along it became much harder. However, tough as it is, we are devoted to raising our children ourselves as opposed to farming them out, so we have had to make some decisions on our spending. I have also started to drive a school bus, which I can take the kids with me on, to help out a bit. We are trying our best to learn to live within our means. In this day and age, society has preached that we should be entitled to things, and unfortunately, we have fallen into that trap. But we aren't entitled. We're called to be good stewards, and so that is what we are endeavoring to be.
Because of this strict budget, we each have a monthly allotment to spend. My allotment is for everything: food, clothing, gifts - you name it. Everything. Needless to say, it's been difficult to adjust. Dave's allotment is for gas for his truck and a little left over for whatever he chooses. Consequently, being our anniversary, I assumed we'd just get each other a card. We were planning on going out to dinner because Dave had a gift certicate given to him for Christmas last year and saved it. I was content with this.
So, while I'm on my afternoon bus run with the kids, Dave sneaks home. I arrive home (with him gone) to find these beautiful flowers pictured, three BIG chocolate bars (like I NEED them) and a card. Already being very impressed and surprised with the flowers, I opened the card to find $80.00 in cash with a note that said, "Buy yourself something nice to wear. Love Dave."
Completely flabbergasted, I called him and the first thing I said (after thanking him for the wonderful flowers) was, "where did you get this money?" He told me that he saved up from his monthly allotment to give to me. In other words, he spent very little, if any, money on himself.
What can I say to be given a gift like that? That is the sweetest, most unselfish thing he has ever done (and he's generally pretty generous) and I will never forget it.
I told him, teary-eyed, that I didn't have anything extra for him, and he said, "Of course you don't. I didn't expect that you would." He does, fortunately, realize that I have much more to juggle and use my money for, but nevertheless, I did feel bad.
So, starting out on cloud nine - truly - we went to John's Prime Rib for dinner. This is one of the classiest restaurants in the city and quite frankly, out of my league. I have never had caviar and escargot and wouldn't even know what it looked like. I really feel like a total hick in establishments like this. My family was considered lower class and at times like this, it's obvious. However, beggars can't be choosers, and the most important thing was that I was with my husband having a nice, quiet dinner without the kids.
My last wish was granted after dinner when we had time for a walk downtown along the river. It was a beautiful evening, one of the nicest in a long time. And that really was all I wanted. It's something we haven't done alone for a long, long time and we really needed it.
This, my ninth anniversary, was really the nicest anniversary I've ever had.
Tonight we took the kids on a picnic to one of our favourite parks in the city. Yesterday, we treasured our time alone with each other, celebrating nine years of marriage. Tonight, we spent our evening celebrating with the two most precious treasures that God has given us.
Two wonderful days of magic.