How utterly perfect this anniversary was for the place we are in our lives. We’d planned a quiet dinner alone. Takeout and a movie like always, because that’s how emotionally depleted we are. We can’t even be bothered to get dressed (that’s more me) and leave to go to dinner. The movie usually turns into “What’s TIVO’d?” and devolves into “I’ll be right back I just have to check one thing on the computer”
Hannah was supposed to be gone all weekend with my dad; the kids would be in bed. Dad couldn’t make the trip. Then, my dad got sicker and for the first time in the history of the universe was too sick to take the kids to his place. On my anniversary. Then I hit a boiling point with Stalemate 2010 and we had Peace Talks with Hannah which were tearful, intense, emotionally draining, and lasted hours into the evening. Our favorite Italian place, which is so expensive that we rarely eat there and never eat in because we can’t afford the wine or tip, wasn’t doing takeout because they were so busy. I was so disappointed (spoiled) that I didn’t want any other takeout. By the time I was supposed to be “picking a movie” (he was in the mood for a comedy and this was my cover for the Big Reveal) I knew this video was going over like a baby ruth in a pool.
May god strike me down with a bolt of lightning for even sullying my TV screen, my retinas, and my eardrums and the internet with it but I need to share a piece of wisdom I heard with you . A little nugget I mined from a pile of steaming feces called the Real Housewives of Orange County. There’s only one person on that show who ever says anything remotely sane, and on the reunion show she let one rip. Speaking about her marriage to Don and her Love Tank she said “It’s full right now. It’ll be empty again someday” and some asshole quipped “nice optimism there Vikki’ and she’s like “What? It’s a marriage. It goes up, it goes down. Peaks and valleys. That’s what marriage is.” If I were a religious woman, I’d say God finds a way to get the messages to me no matter where I’m looking. But since I’m not, I’ll say that when my mind is looking for patterns or messages, I find them.
Our long lost wedding video: rendered to DVD with sound for the first time ever. Happy occasion, no? We’re about to hear Steve’s best man speech for the first time since the wedding, after believing it was lost to us forever, and being especially heartbroken about this since last June when he died and it sunk in that we’d never hear his voice again. We’re watching the endless possibilities on our 10 year old daughter’s cherub face as she dances on Steve’s shoes. Yeah, super happy. Baby Ruth. Verdict: We’re just really glad we have it.
In a perfect illustration of the last year of our life, we sat three feet away from each other on the couch, watched our wedding video and cried; we sat apart from each and separately grieved/celebrated. We’re not just in a valley. We’re in separate valleys. I mean who pats their husband on the shoulder and says “hard stuff, huh?” when he’s grieving?
That would be me.
They say you’ll hit some years out of the park and some will be the white knuckle years that will make you want to kill the writers of every single romantic comedy ever written. (I really thought we were through the white knuckle years after the kids started sleeping) I will say this about hard years: while they may amplify struggle, they also amplify strength. In my darkest hours, in my most frightened moments, what I notice about my husband is how completely perfectly he compliments and tempers my Crazy.
If I were a religious woman, I’d thank God that he sent me Michael, who somehow sees beauty in what most people would pick apart and spit out in therapy. (I’m sorry did I say would? I meant have.) I’d thank God that I married someone who hasn’t an aldulterous bone in his body, who holds friendship his highest priority, and who always sees the big picture. Who can stand in a valley, look up, and keep walking.
Since I’m not a religious woman, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all four of his parents and his incredibly nurturing circle of friends for all of the above, and so much more.
And although it sounds a little empty to say “Happy Anniversary Baby!” this year, I think we’ve earned a little “Hell YEAH”, a high five, and possibly a heavy weight champion belt or something because this year was HARD. I can’t say for sure, but I have a feeling we’ll look back on this one with great affection because it signifies a battle we fought hard to win. Are fighting. Will win.