We are coming up on our eleventh wedding anniversary this weekend. I remember approaching our first anniversary and wanting it to be a big deal. I had photos of us framed and made a display along the bar with sea glass (we were married ocean side) and the same kind of chocolates that we had as favors at the wedding.
I wanted everything to be perfect, and lovely and romantic. It needed to convey my everlasting love and appreciation for the past 365 days of wedded bliss. We had a fabulous meal and fabulous champagne and it was all very nice… But I had no idea then how much I would one day love my husband, who he would turn out to be (though I had a pretty good idea) what kind of father he would grow into and how unwaveringly he would support me. As I painted my nails and toes in anticipation of that one year anniversary there was so much I wouldn’t know that it’s hard to believe now.
Our team of two would double in size with four distinct personalities full of their own beliefs and journeys. There would be laughter when we felt like crying and crying when it couldn’t be helped. There would be loss and adversity and irritation and growing pains but I can honestly say that anytime I reached out my hand to him he always took it and laced his fingers through mine and I knew that whatever it was we were facing would not outlast us.
There is no solid plan for this weekend – it’s kind of crazy week on the heels of an even crazier one and we haven’t finalized anything, but again I have already been given a gift that far outpaces anything I could best with a reservation somewhere. Every time I think I can’t do something, I have someone who shows up for me. For seventeen years now, I have never felt alone. Even when I was, there has been someone checking in on me every single day. I see him with our kids now, when he is working through homework or mediating an argument over horse hair accessory thievery and he stays calm and patient and allows each child the chance to be fully heard. When things break or rot or rust or fall apart in any of the ways they sometimes do, yes he is disheartened and he is frustrated and then he gets back up and keeps on going, making sure to keep something bigger than that feeling at the forefront of why he is doing what he is doing. There is no way to frame those moments outside of my mind.
It might be the easiest explanation to say I “married up – married someone grand” because in many ways I did. But it takes two, it really does and it would be a disservice to all marriages to play it as if I reaped all the benefits without adding anything to the mix. Ten years ago, I worried about the entrée I would order or what my “new husband” would like from the restaurant we went to. But as I head into this week I think about what an absolute privilege it still feels like to ride shotgun with him and how I really want to do that forever.