Some might say a dozen long-stem red roses is a bit cliché when given to your wife for an anniversary. The ease of ordering roses symbolizes a man unwilling to make the extra effort to come up with something more meaningful and unique regardless how pretty the flowers.
No matter. I bucked that cliché by giving Laura a dozen red roses for our 12th anniversary which was on December 22nd. The symbolism between 12 years and 12 roses would have been enough in Laura’s eyes. However, I did want to do something meaningful and unique.
That would not be easy. Our anniversary weekend with filled with the KU vs. Georgetown men’s basketball game which I shot for KU while Laura shot for Georgetown. On the day of our anniversary, the KU women’s basketball team played Tulsa. Any chance of a romantic get away was lost. Then there was the need to have part of our family Christmas on Sunday night since oldest daughter Julie, husband Tim and son Jake were leaving for Christmas with Tim’s family in Memphis the next day. So much for even a romantic night at home.
That is why I gave those anniversary roses to Laura on December 11th. That day was the kickoff to the Twelve Days of Our Twelfth Anniversary. This anniversary was going to be far from cliché. There would be no partridges in a pear tree, but there would be something special on each of those 12 days.
My arrival at Laura’s office with the roses was a great surprise and success, but I almost immediately left with the volleyball team for their Sweet 16 NCAA match against Washington at USC. Fortunately, I planned ahead. There were gifts hidden in our bedroom for the days I would be in Los Angeles. With the time difference, I was able to text Laura late enough for her to be surprised in the morning by each days’ gifts. The second day there was a specially selected shirt with a very Los Angeles theme.
The trip to Los Angeles afforded me the opportunity to pick up some key items. One was a model VW micro bus decked out with a hippie paint job and a surfboard on top. Laura jokes with me how she despises those vans even though she knows I would love to cruise up and down Highway 1 with a board on top. That gift was hidden in her camera bag during the KU basketball game in the Kansas City Sprint Center for her to discover along with the day’s note that explained why each gift was given on a certain day.
There were days of clothing, a massage and a few items too intimate to mention. We spent a night at the Oread hotel after attending the wedding of a co-worker of Laura’s. That was held at KU’s Danforth Chapel where Laura and I became husband and wife. There was a very delicious and romantic dinner at the Row House Restaurant on a cold and snowy Saturday evening not that different from the weather on the day we married. We loved getting very dressed up for the evening. Laura looked so beautiful as we sat together in a small private dining room arranged for the night.
On the actual day of our anniversary, I bookended the start of the 12 days with another dozen roses. These were pink and set in two vases by the altar at St. John’s Lutheran where Pastor Peter Lange delivered the sermon and greeted us warmly after the service. In the midst of the all the holiday church activities, Lange was there in Lawrence to marry us 12 years ago in a ceremony we never will forget.
Now, should you think I am writing this so all of you will sing my praises, you are very wrong. In fact, I am not sure it all came off as well as I hoped. As much as Laura loved all the love and thought that went into each gift, she admitted she also felt very overwhelmed by the 12 days’ size and scope. I tried to assure her this was not one of our usual friendly but competitive contests on which we thrive.
What is important is that she knew whether it is 12 days, 12 months, 12 years or 12 decades of celebration, there simply is not enough that I can do, write or say to fully express how much I love her. The Lord has so richly blessed me from the day Laura walked into my life.
The 12 days of our anniversary surely were fun, but nothing compared to the joy we have shared over our 12 years. On the 22nd, I told her that as I do again now. I love you, Laura. I thank you, Laura, for your love for me. I praise God every day for our lives together. Oh, and I also pray every day that I please will not screw this up.