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My friend Elizabeth came over to my house after school to curl my hair. My little brother ironed the vest came with my skirt set – the one my mom suffered through a tortuous shopping trip to find.

Yes, I was pretty in plaid well before Britney told us to hit her one more time.

After a dinner during which Mark claims I didn’t talk (because he never stopped, for the record) and an awkward couple of slow dances in our high school gym, we drove to my friend’s house. As we joined a group of sophomores who hadn’t gone to the dance, I realized I was overdressed. My friend loaned me a t-shirt and pair of sweatpants, and I made myself at home. We snacked and chatted and played pool until it was time to go home.

That first date of ours took a village, you guys!

I had no idea how important that high school dance would become in the story of my life, yet I still remember lots of big and small details of that night. But as sweet as those memories are, they aren’t even a drop in the bucket of the last two decades of living and loving.

Anniversary

Homecoming was just the first of many dances we went to together.

Mark and I went to our school’s Homecoming dance together twenty years ago today. And aside from some heated teenaged fights and two years of long-distance agony dating, we’ve been together ever since.

And that means we have been handed – and handed each other – a lot of lemons in the last twenty years. There was a time when I would’ve stopped there, but no more. What I know today is that without those lemons, without our struggles and our heartbreaks, without the bounced checks and funerals and late-night tears, without all that? We would’ve missed a whole lot of lemonade.

Twenty years of lemonade means…

…knowing each others’ stories
…and getting each others’ jokes
…vacations
…birthdays
…holidays
…crazy families
…funerals
…babies
…figuring out what works
…and learning what to let go
…making decisions together
…and facing consequences together
redefining romance
being on the same team
…and believing in miracles.

When I went to a dance with that cute senior who had his own car, I was just going to a dance with a cute senior who had his own car. But, as it turns out, I was starting a full, amazing, challenging, messy, beautiful life that would hand me all kinds of fruit.

Happy “anniversary,” Mark. You’re still my favorite person, and I love you a lot.

{Photo source}

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