20 years ago Jeni Hottman married Nathan Tackett. She was pregnant, he was a Marine stationed in Japan, and the rest is history. What the? Well you may not know our story, but Nathan and I go wayyyyy back. Basically I was a child bride. Do I want Noah to get married in 7 years? Oh hell no. But man am I glad I did.
I first saw Nathan when I was 12. He was in Latin class down the hall from my Spanish class, and I would sneak peeks into the room to see the most unorganized, laid back, skater kid who seemed so incredibly different than me in that really good way. A tragedy occurred in my tween life when Nathan Tackett moved to Kentucky and left the town of Salina, Kansas, void of all decent boys. I was forced to pursue relationships with Johnny Depp and Michael Hutchence (which were very one-sided).
I’ll never forget the day Nathan Tackett walked back into Salina High School South when I was a sophomore. I squealed to my girlfriends that the love of my life had returned! I told my BFF that one day I would marry Nathan Tackett and we would have a boy and a girl!
And we did.
The past 20 years have been tough. And wonderful. And challenging. And amazing. We started our marriage with a miscarriage and a long distance relationship. We survived the Marines. We survived college. We lived in North Carolina, Illinois, Iowa, and apparently Maryland. We moved to Maryland and moved back because we didn’t like it. We traveled a lot. We did the Ironman (ok, Nathan did and I watched). We ran marathons and ultra-marathons. We had 3 dogs and two of them died. We had a lot of fish and unfortunately not all of them have died. We survived the childbirth and baby and toddler years of two children. We survived the first hashies. We had to say good-bye to a father and father-in-law, a grandpa, two grandmas, an uncle, a sweet boy, and a best friend.
I have grown up. Nathan has grown up. Sometimes we hate being grown up. Marrying at the age of 20 is not recommended. I get it. I am so thankful that Nathan and I have grown up together instead of grown apart. The debate nerd who wouldn’t run down the block would never believe that her favorite date at age 40 is to trail run with her husband.
Nathan and I were talking about marriage and our life together, and the best thing about it is having someone on your side. I have my best friend living with me and there when I have a crappy day at work, am overwhelmed with homework, or have the best day ever. I know that he is there for me.
I think that Nathan and I have given Noah and Lily a good example of marriage. They hear us argue. They get grossed out when we kiss. They know we love to run together, hash together, and watch inappropriate Netflix series after they go to sleep. I hope some day they can find what we have because after 20 years of marriage I still think the best way to end the day is staying up late having a conversation and a gin and tonic with Nathan Tackett. It just doesn’t get any better than that.
So…Happy 20th Anniversary, Nathan Tackett. I’ve enjoyed being married to you half my life.