“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

Dr. Seuss

There’s something profoundly human about the act of commemorating anniversaries. It’s as if we’re saying to the universe, “Hey, look! We made it another year without killing each other. Let’s eat cake!”

These milestones, draped in layers of sentimentality and tradition, serve as poignant reminders of where we’ve been and hopeful indicators of where we’re headed. Yet, if I’m honest, in the thick of daily life, it’s easy to forget the significance of these moments until they morph into memories.

Take my own wedding anniversary, for instance. There I was, sitting across from Shelley, my partner in life, love, and the occasional crime of binge-watching Game of Thrones yet again. We met when we were 18, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, with dreams as big as our hair was back then.

Fast forward to today, and here we are, parents to two wonderful sons, celebrating over a fancy dinner that, quite frankly, neither of us could pronounce without the help of Google Translate.

Anniversaries are a chance to press pause on the chaos of life. It’s the universe’s way of nudging us to reflect. Remember that time we tried to assemble IKEA furniture together and almost ended our marriage? Or when we got lost in the streets of Milan because someone refused to ask for directions? (Hint: it wasn’t Shelley.) These memories, hilarious and heartwarming, remind us of the journey we’ve been on together.

Speaking of which, Shelley deserves a shout-out for tolerating me all these years. I’m not exactly a picnic, unless you count a picnic where the ants stage a coup and the sandwiches get soggy. Yet, she’s been my rock, my confidante, and my best friend. It’s astonishing how a person can know you inside out, yet still choose to share their life with you. Sometimes, I look at her and wonder, “What did I do to deserve her?” And then I remember—oh right, I agreed to do the dishes for the rest of my life.

Reflecting on our journey, it’s the little moments that stand out. The quiet evenings spent laughing over silly jokes, the cheeky games of UNO where we both cheat a little, and the shared looks that say, “We’re in this together.” These moments, though small, are the stars that light up the night sky of our lives. And it’s in these seemingly insignificant instances that we find the true essence of love and commitment.

I remember when our first son was born. We were clueless, exhausted, and terrified. But there was Shelley, handling it all with grace and an endless supply of love. Watching her transform into the incredible mother she is today has been one of the greatest joys of my life. Our boys, with their boundless energy and insatiable curiosity, are the living testaments to our love and resilience. They’re also the reason I’ve perfected the art of stepping on Legos without cursing—most of the time.

Life has a funny way of passing by in a blur. One minute, you’re arguing over the correct way to load a dishwasher, and the next, you’re celebrating over two decades of marriage. It’s easy to get lost in the mundane, to forget the value of the present until it’s safely tucked away in the past. But anniversaries, those delightful pauses in the routine, offer us the chance to acknowledge and celebrate the moments that truly matter.

So here’s to Shelley, the love of my life, who’s been my partner through thick and thin, through laughter and tears. Here’s to the memories we’ve created, the challenges we’ve overcome, and the adventures that still await us. And here’s to everyone out there commemorating their own milestones, big and small. May we all take the time to celebrate, remember, and cherish the moments that make life so wonderfully unpredictable.

As we raise our glasses to another year, let’s remember: sometimes the most ordinary moments are the ones we cherish the most. And sometimes, you won’t realize the value of those moments until they’re long gone, but that’s okay. Because every now and then, in the midst of the chaos, we get the chance to stop, reflect, and appreciate the beautiful mess that is life.

Cheers to the journey and the memories yet to come.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.