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Celebrating the Silver Anniversary with Johnny Dogs in the North Woods

We celebrated the silver anniversary – the big two-five milestone – with waterfalls instead of silver, hot dogs in place of a gourmet dinner and bathing suits on a pontoon boat replaced formal wear down a wedding aisle. And, in this ZagZig life, we loved every minute of it.

We opted for the low key version of the milestone, 25th wedding anniversary, as we vacationed with three of the four kids, my sister and my dad in the north woods of Michigan, the north coast by the Great Lakes, our favorite place to be. My in laws had opted to redo their wedding reception, others we know have done elaborate cruises or once in a lifetime vacations. No doubt, twenty-five years of marriage is a reason to celebrate and that we did.

MIKE: Okay, let me clarify something here. While admittedly, I am not the most romantic guy, I did speak with my wife about how to celebrate the day, and fortunately we agreed that a day at “camp” is better than most days elsewhere.

After pancakes in bed, my hubby asked to whisk me away on a pontoon boat ride on the private lake. At that point, we did one of our long standing traditions. We said something nice about each other for every year we were married.

MIKE: Just taking credit for this one. I went first with my twenty-five things and it came pretty easy for me. Yes, I am a guy. I am competitive. She might have planned pictures for later that day, and bought a few gifts for me – like a baseball shirt that says Married 25 Seasons – so appropriate for my commitment to my fantasy baseball team for more than 25 years too – but she doesn’t like to drive the pontoon boat. That is my job.

In the middle of the lake it was quiet and peaceful. Gone were the years when we had to chase little kids or crying babies or worry about who was on the dock and who had a life vest on or not. We could just listen to each in voices that reached levels slightly higher than the engine motor and no worries of a time out.

We counted our blessings. Many marriages don’t reach 25 years, especially ones – according to statistics -- where the husband is the full-time dad and the mom is the full-time career spouse.

MIKE: I can understand that. The kids get more independent as teens and young adults and the at-home parent can feel a loss of identity – just like a working spouse who has been downsized. It is a mass transition, and one that can put a lot of strain on a marriage. While we both celebrated Number 4 getting his driver’s license, all of the sudden we have more free time to look at each other…and talk. That is her favorite thing to do and my least favorite thing to do.

Neither of us are the sentimental type, yet it was nice to remind each other of the little things we do or feel for each other. The things we might take for granted and not say every day, yet an anniversary or special occasion brings out the best in people, especially in the north woods of Michigan, where cell reception is sparse at best and the quietness is abundant.

MIKE: Let me just go on record to say that we certainly, throughout twenty-five years have zagzigged a number of times through moves, kids, milestone kids events, birthdays, graduations, loss of parents and loved ones and more. I love that we ZagZig, and she has taught me to enjoy those moments when society is going one way and we go the other – even though that is out of my comfort zone.

As we type this, Number 2 is in California working with a music-related nonprofit organization. Number 1 is with us now, and when we return will start a new job out of state. Number 3 is with us too, and will get ready to move to college a state away. Number 4, who is enjoying our vacation too, is frightened to be with us alone all next year. Life is changing and we are fundamentally the same people who married in 1993, with a whole lot of life experiences in between, spanning a quarter century.

MIKE: Yes, I fed my wife a Chicago-style hot dog on our Anniversary. The kids were hungry and Johnny’s is one of our favorite places up North. It is another memory-making moment. (If you read our book ZagZig Parenting you know this is risky, as she does not have great luck with hot dogs; but that is one thing I love about her, her willingness to adapt, on occasion, and go with the flow.)

Here is to the ZagZig Life and 25 more years of memory making moments and experiences. To all those who family their own way, please celebrate with us.

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