Who knew that one blog, besides the the one that was Freshly Pressed (Grass is Always Greener…), could pull in so many hits! In 24 hours, my last post, about my 25th wedding anniversary (Understatements of a Quarter Century, or My Funny Valentine), received just over 600 hits! Six Hundred hits, that is something to gloat and strut about. So, I spent much of this morning strutting. Strutting in a middle aged, sore from yoga yesterday, no-one-home-to-see-it-gloating strut. Served me right, that I was doing this strutting, in my night shirt, when I looked outside and realized our contractors were here! I am certain they didn’t see me, but it was the get your act together whack I needed, to check back into reality and move on with my day. The rest of the day, I just felt married again, and happy that so many people took the time to read what I had to say about February 14th.
As for the anniversary itself, it was all that I might have hoped for, in the place that we dwell as a couple. Smart guy was extra smart and sent me the most gorgeous bouquet of red roses, on the 13th. When I cynically suggested that perhaps he’d done this to save the $17 Valentine delivery guarantee fee (that I paid) he firmly put me in my humbled place and told me that he’d “deliberately sent them on the 13th, because he wanted to be sure that I had them all day on our anniversary, and not for just part of the day.” Ok, cue the collective ahhh. That made my gesture of 2 dozen irises and red tulips, with chocolates, delivered ON Valentine’s day seem almost contrived. Damn that Hallmark Valentine’s thing. He also presented me with my favorite cream puff, from Avelinos (aside from the one T makes!), for breakfast. Way to make a girl feel good… I ate it after dinner… what was left, after he had his part. (Gorgeous roses and one kick @$$ cream puff… almost ate it before getting this shot!)
<– (Meaningful card from me: meaningful because Smart Guy memorably told me, when we first started dating that he “just didn’t have a song in his heart.” That was in response to the fact that I can remember and sing any song, and he couldn’t. I asked why, and got that reply. He has since taken to singing, pretty regularly.)
When it comes to things like thoughtful cards, Smart Guy is the one who generally scores. He tends to buy meaningful cards, with soul. I tend to get caught up in the wording of cards, and then find myself empty handed, when it matters. Funny cards: I love them. I chortle and snort in the card aisles and buy more than I need, because I can’t settle on one. Card stores are a money hole for me. Serious, I love you, you’re important cards: and I stand in the aisles looking hopeless, for ages. I edit endlessly in my head: Well, I do love you, but not like that. Or, I felt that way x number of years ago, but not now. Or, I wouldn’t go that far. Or, That’s sappy/over the top/not exactly enough/silly/Oh for the love of God! … etc. It’s hell for me, trying to find that card that says what I think it should. And no, I’m not really a make your own card girl. I grew out of that when my kids did. Given that it was our silver wedding anniversary, however, I made a concerted effort. I bought into the occasion enough to (in addition to the flowers and chocolate, delivered to his office) place an assortment of funny and meaningful cards, scattered along his
incredibly predictable daily route: Garage–>mailbox–>kitchen counter–>downstairs—>bedroom/bathroom–> closet (to change)–>Dinner out (special). Card companies did well on us this year. (One of Smart Guy’s favorites. I labeled them with our names, edited out here. At the bottom, it says: “She’s doing all the driving. I’m just the one behind the wheel!” Fair is fair. I’m not the best passenger; and I do have red hair. He’s not bald, but give it time.)
We celebrated our anniversary with three other couples who we love (two couples cancelled, with bugs that kept them home), in lieu of a bigger party where we could include all of the friends we love. A night for celebrating marriages, not just ours. We all were happy to have a reservation for Valentine’s Day (no doubt I helped out a few husbands there) and we were happy to celebrate with them a marriage that they all know well, and were honored and happy to share with us, for what it is: no more, no less. It felt so real and unembellished. No pretense, no over-the-top statements or toasts, just the real stuff, shared with good friends, who we love.
<– (I can not lie: this card makes me snort with laughter. I love it.) What struck me most is how much we’ve all experienced the amazing impact of time. All of us can remember twenty-five years ago so well, and all agree that time seems to have warped past. Of the four couples: one has been married 40 years, one 25 years (us), another 16, and the other 6. What a representation of marriage, in its various stages and forms, and all filled with so many memories and experiences: some which are similar and others which are so very different. Two of the couples married very young, two did not. Two have grown children, two do not. We all agreed that marriage, in itself is an adventure and experience that brings so many different things to our lives. How the husbands view these things was distinctly different than how the wives do, but the places that we overlap was clearly in our perceptions of our children. Mother, father, young or older, we all have measured the years most consistently, by the memories of our lives as parents.
Those precious memories of adorable things our little one said. The embarrassing moments when they pointed out someone’s girth, or the things that all adults notice, but have learned to edit and delete from conversation. The moments that they wrapped us around their tiny pinkies, with a comment that only a parent could love. The memories of binkies (pacifiers), “characters” (favorite stuffed animals and toys), the sweet times when they crawled in our beds, or wanted only us for comfort. Those sacred moments and experiences made for absolute level ground in our group, the place where all of us connect and relate. Each of us shared our collected memories of our babes, when they were babes. The one couple, married six years, has a three year old and while they could not contribute to some of this, they are smack in the middle of that delicious (and exhausting) time, when their hearts swell with each tiny toothed smile, each breathy hug and cuddle.
So, now I’m married twenty-five years and a day, and it honestly doesn’t feel that differently. I have a headache, which may or may not have to do with champagne consumed last night. I didn’t drink enough to cause damage, but no doubt very good champagne, cream puffs, rich dinner and all the other excesses (too much laughing, too much cheering: excess) is bound to cause a hang-over of some impact. The fact that aside from a few missing friends, the day was just what I would want, that we got a reservation and the place turned out to be perfect for the group, and the occasion, and that we felt the way we did on our wedding night: surrounded by love and good cheer, made for the perfect celebration.