My husband and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this summer. I am not sure where the last 10 years went. During our first 10 years of marriage every year was such a milestone. I remember when we hit 7 years, and I couldn’t believe that we had been married that long. Then our 10th arrived, and I thought we had climbed Everest. I have no idea what happened between 10 and 20. Only old people are married 20 years, right?

My husband has given me many anniversary gifts. Our third anniversary, we spent in Lombok at an island resort. For my 15th (or was it 16th? I don’t remember) he bought me a diamond anniversary band. There are other great gifts, but his greatest gift to me is a gift he gives me every day. The gift of being able to stay home and raise our children.

I don’t think we ever had a discussion about it. It just happened. We moved to Singapore when my oldest was a baby, and it just made sense to stay home with him. Then, my daughter was born and we moved again. Occasionally we talked about jobs for me, but at the time he was “pushing boots”. His hours were crazy to say the least. It just made sense for me to stay home. We started homeschooling because if you have ever lived in Great Lakes there is no explanation needed. My youngest was born and we moved again.

We started noticing that we enjoyed the freedom that came with homeschooling and with me staying home. When he was off, we could enjoy each other. When the kids were sick, we never had to figure out who would stay home. When he was deployed, I only had to manage the house and kids. Believe me, that was enough.

It hasn’t always been easy living on one income. And a junior sailor’s income. We paid our bills and saved our money. We didn’t get everything we always wanted, but there was always enough for the things we needed. And sometimes, we did get what we wanted. I have never felt that I lacked for anything. Sure, sometimes our greedy natures would get a hold of us and we wished I was working so we could have more money, but we remember the benefits and the feeling passes.

But now, the gift is even more noticeable. The day I found out my mom had cancer, I couldn’t wait to get on a plane to see her. My husband was ready to get me on the plane the next day. He knew my
parents would need me. Because I don’t work, I didn’t have to make arrangements. I bought a one way ticket with no idea when I would return. That is love. He has provided for all our needs, and also provided a way that I can be available for my mom. I am planning a summer trip to visit my mom with my kids. Again, it is on our timeline. I can stay as long as I want, and I can go when I want. Such a gift.

It is his greatest gift to me. It is his greatest gift to our kids. I take care of the things at home and he manages his work (He also does the laundry because I hate doing the laundry.). I appreciate him. I appreciate the life he has made that we enjoy. Someday I will go back to work, but it will be when I am ready not because I have to go. This is how I know he loves me, and it is a gift I get to receive every day.