Jenna sits down in her favourite chair and smiles at the thought of celebrating 25 years married to Peter. Where have the years gone? She finds it hard to believe how quickly time had passed.
Jenna knows she has found her soul mate. She and Peter have stood side by side through the highs and lows of their life together. They have matured together from young adults to middle age and she has no doubt that they will grow old together.
Their relationship was not always as settled as it is now. When Peter came back into her life it was a terrible time for Jenna. She was lost in despondency after the failure of her broken marriage and was caring for her baby alone. The memory of her vulnerability comes flooding back and hits Jenna like a physical blow.
Jenna was naively being pushed and pulled by the legal system surrounding her divorce and the custody of her son, she remembers feeling helpless and intimidated by the lawyers who rushed her to make decisions.
Jenna views decisions she made in her teens and early twenties as absurd, particularly getting married at 18 years old. She knows this decision robbed her of the chance to experience her early adult life on her own terms.
Starting life as a couple took an accelerated path for Jenna and Peter because Jenna had her baby, they both had mortgages and Peter was advancing his career. They missed out on carefree days of traveling and finding a house together. Jenna daydreams what might have been if they had started their relationship without responsibilities.
Their wedding day was wonderful, a sunny February Sunday afternoon celebrating with friends and family. The gardens were lovely and the reception was perfect, elegant but understated. Jenna likes to look back at their wedding photographs to see two young people in love, glowing with the optimism of finding someone special to share their life with.
Peter enthusiastically took on the role of step-father to Jenna’s son. Jenna remembers her adorable little boy who was much loved by everyone.
Soon after the marriage Jenna and Peter were delighted to discover that they were having a baby but sadly the pregnancy didn’t continue past 16 weeks. Jenna vividly remembers sitting with Peter on their old couch holding each other mourning the loss of their baby.
Only a few months later they were pregnant again and this time they welcomed a healthy baby girl to their family, and less than two years later they were blessed with a second baby girl to cherish. Jenna smiles as she recalls how happy she was to bring her two precious little girls into this world to join her boy. Peter and Jenna felt so lucky to have created their perfect family.
Jenna recalls this time as hectic and tiring but endlessly satisfying. She was only 30 years old, had been married twice and had three children under 5 years old. She takes a moment to reflect on her haste in having her children. As a child Jenna remembers wishing for siblings closer to her own age and this probably influenced her desires for her family structure.
As a wiser and older woman Jenna realises there was no need to hurry and thinks she may have enjoyed having more years between the births of her children.
Jenna loves being a mum, her children are precious gifts and bring her endless joy. She has enjoyed sharing every stage of their lives from babies through to adults. Peter is a fantastic father. He and Jenna are a team who share the triumphs and the challenges of parenthood together. They always encourage the different interests of their children and support them in everything they do.
Jenna and Peter know that giving life to their children is the most precious and amazing thing they have done or will ever do in their lives.
Over the years the family has enjoyed interstate family holidays and happy times at Jenna’s parents’ beach holiday house. Treasured memories of these holidays are stored in the corners of Jenna’s mind like precious relics in a museum.
As a young man Peter set out to establish a successful business career to provide for his family. In the early years of their marriage he climbed the corporate ladder to a senior role. Jenna remembers Peter working long hours but is thankful that he always helped with the busy household when he came home.
After the children were settled into primary school Jenna starting thinking about doing something more for herself. She had been out of the workforce for years and feared becoming a bored housewife. She remembers going to functions as Peter’s wife and being disregarded as unimportant by others because she didn’t have a paid job.
Although she dearly loved her children and husband Jenna knew it was time to explore ways to enrich her mind and boost her self-esteem.
At 38 Jenna enrolled in university as a mature age student. It was daunting to learn with 18 year olds but she loved the challenge of proving to herself that she was a more capable student than she had been the first time round. She thrived on being challenged and being out of her comfort zone.
Over time Jenna emerged from her shell and gained confidence in her abilities. She finished her Arts degree and landed a job that advanced her career in public relations. She chose to work part-time while her children were in primary school so she could be with them after school. Jenna recalls how happy she was to be able to have the best of both worlds.
As time relentlessly progressed Jenna worked full time and established a satisfying career for many years while her children studied at high school and university.
After becoming fed up with bureaucracy Peter started his own business at age 42 and this suited him better. Jenna believes that this was the right decision but sometimes thinks Peter invests too much of himself in his work. She daydreams what may have been if they had started a business together as in a different field.
Their children are now grown and lead their own lives, so most of the time it is just Jenna and Peter and that is just fine, but they are always there for their children if they need them.
As their children became independent Jenna and Peter embraced the chance to travel overseas together. Jenna looks around her living room and smiles at her treasures that bring back memories of their adventures in Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Fiji and China. They have also enjoyed many romantic weekends away together in Warnambool, Echuca, Daylesford, Marysville, Narbethong, Noosa, Cairns, and Torquay.
As she sits quietly Jenna is glad she has taken the time to reflect on her life today. She acknowledges her mistakes and knows she hasn’t always chosen the right course of action. But clarity comes to Jenna and she accepts that she has often judged herself harshly. She realises that the sum of her life experiences have made her the person she is today. Jenna knows her life is blessed and she wouldn’t trade places with anyone else.
Jenna and Peter have shared soaring highs and tumultuous times throughout the decades they have lived their lives together.
Jenna sighs contentedly knowing that Peter is the only person she wants to share her life with. They are perfect companions, like a pair of favourite old comfy chairs.
She thinks about how much her husband has enriched her life and whispers “Happy anniversary my darling husband.”
Jenna hopes the next 25 years of their marriage pass more slowly so they can enjoy more time together, she can’t imagine her life without Peter by her side.