|Dating in 1992|
|New Year's 1999|
Yesterday we celebrated our 22nd anniversary together. I bought the hubster tickets to a local play we have been wanting to see and he bought me girly frou, frou stuff. It was that kind of perfumy, pampering, pink stuff that can make a girl feel like a princess.
It wasn't always that way. I recall the old days when we merely took it all for granted, even forgetting our anniversary completely one year. I don't recall which year it was but we both plumb forgot, and we were both humbly put in our places when I got the mail that day and brought in the sappy Hallmark card postmarked from Florida. To say we were both ashamed of ourselves, when even my parents could remember, is a gross understatement.
That was the year everything changed. That was the year we learned to cherish each other and celebrate every second of our relationship.
The year we had no cards, flowers, or gifts for each other was not a time we are proud of, and it resides somewhere around the 14 year mark which was even more insulting. Not only had the 7 year itch made an appearance, with its awkward desire to remove the bondage of a mortgage, two car payments, kids who need your nonstop attention, and the realization that we stand perilously close to losing our youth and sexual desirability by others, but it doubled back at 14 years when we took everything for granted as the incomes increased, the kids needed us less, and we were able to take a keen interest in our own selfish pursuits.
These are the times, folks. These are the times when Satan steps in and tempts you. These are the times when you decide what sort of quality your character has achieved through the years and what sort of quality of life you demand for your aging years.
These are the times when I believe people begin to walk away, thinking there is something better to seek. Though I believe everyone learns at one point in their life that the grass really isn't greener on the other side. In fact, it isn't greener anywhere except over the septic tank in the immortal words of Erma Bombeck.
No two ways about it, marriage is not easy. However that one thing that ties us down and keeps the inner id from all manner of mischief, can somehow be the most comforting aspect of daily life, even above the unconditional love of our children and our pets. Even above the adoration received from our professional life. That's all just icing on the cake. The cake is the foundation, and is plenty sweet enough on its own as long as we learn to develop a taste for it.
I find comfort in my marriage which is a constant that erases the daily wrinkles of life. I look forward to that big bear hug when he walks through that door. Just knowing your best friend can hug all the drama away, especially when you work for absolutely miserable people, makes getting up tomorrow and doing it all over again somehow palatable.
I think what changed in us after the day we forgot, is a realization that we might not have that security blanket any longer. After all, it was the security of knowing there was another person dangling on the other side of that legal document that got us into that mess.
Imagining the idea that so many years lived between us, fighting for every shred of what we built together, could be erased with a visit to the lawyers office was very unsettling.
Somehow the thought of starting all over again became overwhelmingly distasteful for both of us. Re-imagining those juvenile embellishments like sucking in your stomach, grabbing a mint from the nightstand first thing in the morning,and going to sleep with just enough makeup on to look dewy and not wake up looking like Cruella Deville, suddenly came rushing back at the idea of having to snag another mate from the pool. Let's face it, nobody wants to go home with you from the bar if they imagine you in a flannel granny gown and fuzzy socks. And who wants to go to the bar to pick up God knows what sort of STD, anyway?
Growing together for years means, not that we can let ourselves go, but that love does indeed become blind. Imagine walking out of a smelly bathroom after your just made your daily constitution. Now imagine how awkward that would be with a new beau. Those days of having to be some sort of rose-smelling perfection, spraying room deodorizer at high volume gets old after several years. Who wants to do that again?
The day we forgot our wedding anniversary is the day we vowed to cherish our friendship, and celebrate our relationship daily. That is truly a conscious choice.