98: Happily Ever After… After the Honeymoon

98: Happily Ever After… After the Honeymoon

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride

Happily Ever After... After the Honeymoon

No vacation goes unpunished.

~Karl Hakkarainen

My husband Mickey and I were married on a cold, blustery November night in my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. A honeymoon in Jamaica sounded ideal: warm days on the beach, Duke and the boys playing steel drums around the pool, plenty of time to just focus on us — a welcome respite from Chicago where we both lived and worked.

We left right after the ceremony, stayed at a motel near the Omaha airport, and left the next morning for our paradise island.

All went well until we arrived in Montego Bay and discovered our luggage did not. Having only the winter clothes on our backs, we were decidedly overdressed. Undaunted, we bought bathing suits in the hotel gift shop and headed to the beach. We spent the day drinking piña coladas, napping on our lounge chairs, reading, and talking. Ahhh. Luggage? Who cared?

I should have. As a redhead with fair skin and freckles, I had no business spending that much time in the sun. By the end of the day, I was the color of a chili pepper and radiated just as much heat. My skin felt two sizes too small, and I was chilled and felt nauseous. Not a pretty picture.

Back in the room, now with our luggage, we applied what little we knew of first aid for sunburn. We (carefully) slathered my body with aloe lotion and covered my scorched skin with Mickey’s pajamas. Then I proceeded to retch my way through the next twenty-four hours. I remember lying on the bathroom floor, my hot face against the cool tiles, feeling totally dejected. I looked up at my new husband and said sorrowfully, “Happy married life.” Luckily, he laughed.

When I finally felt good enough to go back in the sun, it had disappeared, replaced by torrential downpours. There went our plan to hike the waterfall. The next time the sun did appear, we were 125 feet underground on a cave exploration we had previously scheduled and paid for.

Sunburn and drenching rains weren’t our only honeymoon disasters. One of the first nights at the hotel, Mick dropped his new wedding band down the drain. A gasp, a gurgle, and it was gone. I knew he was totally unaccustomed to wearing jewelry of any kind, but I had a little trouble understanding why he couldn’t wash his hands wearing the ring. At midnight, the hotel maintenance man begrudgingly took the sink apart and found Mick’s ring in the elbow joint of the pipe. Luckily, I laughed… sort of.

Despite everything, we did have a wonderful time together. It was a honeymoon, after all. For us, it turned out to be a good test of the vows “in sickness and in health,” although I don’t think Mick planned on being tested quite so soon.

This year, we’re celebrating our forty-fifth wedding anniversary! That’s a lot of years of ups and down, triumphs and disappointments, surprises and compromises. Sometimes it seems we’re more head-to-head than eye-to-eye. But we’ve built a foundation of love and trust that has carried us through the rough spots. Two children and seven grandchildren later, we’re still talking things over and working things out. And, luckily, we’re still laughing.

~Myra Lipp Sanderman

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