With this kiss, I thee wed

Jim and I will celebrate our Kiss Anniversary tomorrow. We used to call it our First Kiss Anniversary but we got lazy at about our 15th and it's now known by the slightly shorter name. This is our 29th year celebrating it, usually with just a card ... and a kiss.

I'm not a mushy gushy kind of person. I don't watch Lifetime television, I'm not a fan of Nicholas Sparks, and my musical preferences lean more toward hard rock than ... gosh, I don't even know the name of mushy gushy love-song singers. Oh, wait. That's probably Celine Dion or someone along those lines. That kind of music does bring a tear to my eye, but it's usually because I'm trying to control the waves of nausea that come over me when I hear anything from that genre.

That being said, I've always recalled the date of our first kiss ... but only because it was the date of my older brother's birthday. My brother wasn't there for that chaste but fateful kiss; it just happened to take place on his birthday.

It was Jim -- who's a little more mushy gushy than I -- who started the tradition of celebrating the moment that changed our lives. Only that first celebration wasn't all that fun. In fact, it scared the hell out of me and, for a few moments, I was pretty sure I wouldn't live to see another day, much less another celebration of any sort.

Jim had an apartment of his own and I lived a few blocks away with my mom and sisters. We lived in an old house that had only a bathtub, no shower. And I hated taking only a bath. Jim had a shower, and I regularly drove the few blocks to take a shower at his place.

This one particular day, the date of our first kiss anniversary (although I didn't consider it any big deal) Jim was leaving for work as I was arriving to use his shower. Like I said, we kissed hello, kissed goodbye, he headed to work, I headed for the shower.

As I got out of the shower, I heard noises. In the apartment. An apartment that wasn't in the best part of town and had creepy weird guys living upstairs. I froze and listened. Yep, there was someone in the tiny apartment, moving stuff around, going through Jim's record collection.

What do I do? I searched the cabinets for a weapon and found nothing more than a brush and a Bic shaver. I held my ear to the door. Still there was shuffling. I couldn't open the door -- my clothes were in the bedroom and I refused to be seen naked by some killer. I couldn't climb out the window for the very same reason ... plus, I'd already checked it and there was no way I'd be able to reach the opening far above my head.

I sat on the toilet lid and started to cry, as silently as possible so the killer wouldn't realize there was some frightened naked girl hiding out in the bathroom.

Then music started playing. The killer had put on a record. A Led Zeppelin record ... one of the more mellow songs. Well, if he's playing "Thank You" or something similarly sweet from Zeppelin, he can't be that mean and horrible of a killer ... but a killer just the same.

I once again assessed my situation. No weapon, no way out, no clothes. And no choice. I had to get out of there.

I slowly, quietly turned the door handle ... and cracked open the door, trying to survey the tiny bit of the living room I could see. I heard music, but saw no one. I wrapped the towel tighter around myself and crept into the hallway. Peeking around each corner, it became obvious that the killer had left.

But wait! The killer had left something on the table. I scooted closer and closer ... and found a Hostess Ding Dong on a saucer, one lit candle in its center. And a greeting card next to it.

"Freakin' crazy," I thought to myself as I opened the card, imagining serial killer scenarios involving wooing the victim into eating Ding Dongs and listening to Zeppelin as the killer stealthily dropped from the ceiling brandishing a long, sharp blade of some sort.

No serial killer dropped. And my heart swelled as I read the card: "Happy 1st Kiss Anniversary. Love, Jim."

While I showered, Jim had dashed to the store, grabbed the celebratory goods, arranged them on the table and turned on our version of a love song. Yep, this was the guy for me, the guy I'd spend the rest of my life with.

And the guy who almost made a scared, naked me crawl through a tiny opening in the bathroom in hopes of escaping some wacko Ding Dong-obsessed, Zeppelin-lovin' killer.

Now that I think of it, maybe it's that, the manner in which the first anniversary of our first kiss was recognized, that makes it a date impossible to forget. It really has nothing to do with it being my brother's birthday after all.

Regardless, I'm glad to still be celebrating Kiss Anniversaries with Ding Dong-obsessed, Zeppelin-loving Jim.

I'm even more glad I didn't smash out that bathroom window and shimmy through the shards of broken glass to save my naked butt from an imaginary killer. I'm pretty sure Jim wouldn't have stuck around to celebrate a second kiss anniversary if that had been the end result of his sweet gesture.

Today's question:

What's one non-traditional celebration you share with your loved ones?

My answer: In addition to the Kiss Anniversary, we had family-only Period Parties when each of the girls had their first period. The honoree received a box of sanitary pads, we ate Black Forest cake (ya know, the cherries and all), and we blasted Urge Overkill's version of "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon." It was a tongue-in-cheek way to mark a major milestone in the lives of our little women.