Tin or Diamonds?

Photo Credit: Kris Ligenfelter

I’ve always laughed at the lists for suggested anniversary gifts. It’s a sweet idea and I imagine at one time those lists were strictly followed in certain circles. And its funny how there is now a modern gift list, adapted from the more traditional one, modified to suit the changing times. Last week, J and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. Yeah for us, we’ve made it this far! Curious as to what the suggested gift was for this monumental occasion, I took to the Internet. According to the traditional list, the appropriate gift for ten years of marriage is tin. Tin? Like a tin can? Pass…I’ll take the traditional list suggestion – diamonds. Now that’s more like it!

But I’m sure long ago, gifts of tin, given to a loved one, were very special and more sought after than nowadays. Like the tintype photos, so popular from the 1860’s to early 1900’s, that were made on thin sheets of tin or iron. I can imagine a young man giving his beloved a tintype photo of himself. Or a soldier, going off to fight in the Civil War, sending his tintype that he had made on the way to battle back home to his wife. What would that photo have meant to the woman who waited at home for her husband to come back? Now in the days of digital cameras, we take thousands of photos to remember each event in our life. We send daily photos to our Soldiers who are far away from us, just to feel like we are still in touch. What would I do if all I had was one grainy photo, hastily made on a sheet of metal, to keep his image fresh in my mind? The last image of innocence before war took its toll. I’d treasure it and value it worth more than any diamond.

And last week, as J and I celebrated ten years of marriage from our opposite sides of the world, there were no diamonds, or tin, or gifts given of any other kind…just photos and the memories those photos bring to life….

 The photo of our first date at a sorority barn dance. I had woken J up at 6am to ask him if he would go with me, after my other date had cancelled on me.

The photos of our wedding, where all of our family and friends came together to celebrate our love and our future together.

 The photo of J holding his first baby, just minutes old. And then later, photos of him holding his baby girl, who would have him, wrapped around her little finger from that very first look.

 The photo from him the first time I saw him in his dress uniform at his graduation from Basic Training. That one still takes my breath away…

Or the photos of him as he hugged his children goodbye before he walked away for a year. Those still take my breath away too, but in a different way.

And more recently, the photos of J and I during his recent R&R. Photos of us together, happy and celebrating this big anniversary, just a bit early. It’s been four years since we’ve celebrated an anniversary together, so we take what we can get!

There are thousands of photos and memories from the past ten years. We’ve had our low points and we’ve had the incredible highs. We’ve gone through a lot and have come out the other side. We are together still, at ten years. That’s pretty special all on its own. I don’t need diamonds, or even tin, to celebrate or make it special. All I need is him and our family…and about 100 more years.


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