What an Eleventh Anniversary Looks Like

It looks like morning kisses when he comes home from work. Boys arguing in the bathroom over toothpaste and Mario. Coffee in a mug that reads, “Reading is sexy.” Kisses goodbye.

It looks like doing an hour of work even though I worked until 11:34 the night before so I could take the day off. Him taking the car out for the shortest oil change in the history of oil changes. A long, luxurious shower followed by a difficult time deciding what to wear. Trying something new with my eye makeup. Wearing (Star Wars, 70) lipstick.

It looks like shuffling the dog outside before she can puke on the carpet.

It looks like lunch at our favorite Mexican place. Tortilla chips and the best salsa ever. Too many enchiladas while watching them make homemade guacamole.

It looks like running errands. Stopping at the liquor store with half of the city trying to stock up before they need to pick up their children from their last day of school for the year. Picking up contact saline and milk at the drug store. Grabbing a latte and a coffee from the local coffee shop and deciding to never do Crossfit.

It looks like picking up your pajama clad children from their last day of school parties, two hours earlier than usual because let’s rush into this holiday break full force; no looking back. Friends making plans and asking to spend time at another friend’s house over break. Shuffling back to the car, coats pulled tightly as we hustle back to the car and teeny tiny snowflakes float on the brisk breeze.

It looks like abandoned backpacks, coats, and shoes; papers from the last day of the nine weeks fluttering about. Candy snacks and video game sounds. Folding laundry and sorting out clothes. Refereeing arguments between brothers. Tripping over the dog who is seemingly no longer puking. Waving goodbye as their friend’s mom drives the boys off to a movie and a sleepover.

It looks like a suddenly quiet house. Your husband running out to buy new candles since you got rid of them all during the Great Candle Purge of 2009.

It looks like bacon, venison roast, onions, carrots, garlic, brandy, wine, beef stock, butter, flour, and roasted potatoes. Glasses of wine and water. Candles and vintage ceramic trees from grandmothers past and present lighting the room. Soft music and memories playing together. A toast to another year spent supporting and loving one another.

What an Eleventh Anniversary Looks Like

It looks like gorging yourself and eating too much food. Cleaning up the kitchen and feeding the dog. Blowing out candles because safety first. Changing into comfy clothes and settling down into your spots in the living room.

It looks like watching Christmas Vacation. Laughing as you repeat all the lines. Looking out at the snow-covered grass and watching your Christmas decorations shake in the wind.

It’s taking a FaceTime call from your daughter in the middle of the movie because she matters so much and she’s so excited about seeing you tomorrow. Wondering when you’re actually going to pack.

It’s realizing that this warm home and loving relationship and beautiful family are all beautiful testaments of eleven years of a life lived together. Knowing that choosing to get married around the holidays means a more hectic time, so this chance to slow down and just be together is all the more special.

What an Eleventh Anniversary Looks Like

Happy 10: What Marriage Is All About

Wedding Bells

The boys came down with the sickness this week, like the 50 other kids in their building absent on Monday.

We’ve been gently nursing them back to health: Giving ibuprofen when fevers spike and cause headaches. Buying more ibuprofen when we run out. Refilling water bottles, buying red Gatorade even though yellow is the best flavor, and handing out saltine crackers. I made broth and noodles, knowing they’d probably only eat a few bites. I wake up in the middle of the night to check temperatures, calm sick nerves, and generally keep everything together.

On top of that, I work, try to keep the Christmas spirit alive, and hope/pray to get all the holiday things done that need to get done.

I’m a tiny bit tired.

So it makes sense that today is our tenth anniversary.

Ten years ago, if I had looked into a crystal ball to today, I probably wouldn’t have understood what on Earth was going on. Why did I look so disheveled? Why was I calming down a little boy, crying over a missed math test? Why was my husband exhausted and asleep? Why weren’t we going out to dinner—something about canceled plans? Why weren’t we doing anything to make our special day, well, special?

Marriage doesn’t look like a movie, or even like a wedding day.

In the grand scheme of vows, 2014 was a year for learning about the worse side of better and the sickness side of health. Losing my grandmothers, rushing off to be with his grandmother, dealing with my own well-being, and the incessant germs that come with parenting elementary aged children all seem to put us in the trenches of marriage, the trenches of life.

Yet here we are. Together.

If someone made our 2014 into a Charlie Brown-esque movie, Linus would walk on now, stage left with blankie in hand, and say, “That’s what marriage is all about.”

And he’d be right.

**

In church on Sunday, we announced our 10th anniversary fell on Thursday. Another couple, a few years older than us, announced they’d be celebrating their 63rd anniversary this week as well. Our Pastor then quipped we only had 50 some years ago, and I replied, “We’re working on it.”

That we are.

Ten Years Later

Happy Anniversary to my partner, my spouse, my husband, my love. Just 50 some more years to go.

 

Soulmates Reunited

I sat on the bed in my childhood bedroom, my husband near me. The family was looking for a particular list, though no one had been told where the list was located nor what it looked like. In fact, no one had really seen the list. Still, we looked. My task: Grandma’s purse.

Not surprisingly, her purse embodied the definition of organization. Not a stray piece of paper or loose receipt. Everything in its place. I searched the compartments of her credit card wallet, her coin purse, and then finally, the longer wallet with room for the checkbook.

Nothing.

My husband pointed to a long pocket I hadn’t yet searched. “Look in there.”

I fished my fingers into the pocket and felt paper. Blindly and carefully, I wrapped my fingers around the paper and pulled it out. My heart caught in my throat, and the tears formed immediately.

In my hands I held my grandfather’s obituary. She had been carrying it with her since his passing four years prior.

I showed my husband and he he did his nod, blink-blink thing so as not to cry.

Dancing

My grandparents were, without a doubt, soulmates. I’m not always sure I believe in that concept, that there’s one person in this world for each individual, but I know that my grandpa and grandma were a match. I can look at most couples and decide within moments of meeting them and seeing them interact together whether or not they are a match. Many aren’t. Some are. These two? Were the matchiest of matches.

I have no doubt in my mind that their marriage wasn’t always easy, that they didn’t come across problems or argue. But the love they had for one another was one of those pure, true things that I witnessed in my life.

Oh, Grandpa, That Smile

Coming home from the hospital last week, not knowing it would be the last time I would talk to her, I saw some clouds in the sky. I notice clouds a lot these days because my sons are infatuated with discussing the shape of any cloud they see… and then arguing over it, because brothers. As I drove toward the west, back toward my home and my waiting husband, this particular cloud formation caught my eye.

From a center cloud, two arms—from bicep to lower forearm—reached toward each other. They weren’t yet touching, just reaching. I watched as long as I could while driving, eventually losing sight of the cloud.

As I curled up in bed with my mom on Thursday night, just hours before my grandmother’s death, I told her about the clouds. She asked me what I thought the cloud meant.

“He’s waiting for her. She’s reaching for him. They’re ready to be together again.”

Dancing Together

Sitting on the porch our first night home after the funeral proceedings, I talked with my husband about my grandparents, about them being reunited now.

“What do you think they’re talking about,” I asked.

“Oh, he hasn’t gotten a word in yet. It’s been four years.”

We laughed. My husband only has 10 years in the family; he only had six with grandpa, but he knew. He knew.

Renewing Their Vows

Today would have been their 58th wedding anniversary. She was ready to go home, to him, and had been for some time. Maybe that’s why the end came so quickly, much faster than the doctors or any of us expected. One day it was four weeks, the next I was summoned for final goodbyes. Maybe she just wanted to make it back home in time to celebrate together. While I remain heartbroken, I feel thankful that she’s no longer missing her beloved.

Happy Anniversary
All photos in this post taken by me at their 50th Anniversary Party, held in conjunction with my parents’ 25th Anniversary in 2006. Grandma was buried in this outfit, chosen by me and my mother, to reunite with her husband.

We miss them both so much. We’ll see them again someday.

Happy Anniversary, you two crazy lovebirds. Enjoy today.