This morning, my husband woke me up with a cup of hot coffee and a dozen white roses. He had taken a vacation day, so that we could share this day together, the same way we did 16 years ago on a beautiful sunny, unseasonably warm April day. See, on this day, 16 years ago, we did what neither of us thought we would ever do. We stood before God, our family and friends and became man and wife. I had grown up not believing in marriage, and from a very early age had made it VERY clear that I was not going to be one of those woman who gave herself over to a man to lose her identity. I didn't play house, pretending to be a Mommy or wife. I was a doctor, a business woman, always single, always on the go.
But something happened.
I met someone who changed my ideas of how a couple should be, and for the first time in my life I was thinking of the "when we are old and grey sitting on the porch" scenario, and wondering what our children would look like. This was no easy task. My own parents marriage was in tatters, torn apart by circumstance. There were several times during our engagement where I gave the ring back, scared that we would become what I had watched my parents evolve into. Each time, Keith was patient, caring, and shared his vision of what he thought we were, and what we could become.
He was wrong.
Keith, in his blog post this morning, wrote about the morning of our wedding day. He wrote about how he was scared, and had gone for a walk, not telling anyone which of course lead to many misunderstandings on the wedding party's part. He had just wanted to have a few moments alone.
My morning on that day was very different than his. I had my parents, who had been separated for three years at that point, staying with my at my apartment. Keith had stayed at his parents house, so it was just me and them. Them. Those who had not been in the same room in three years. Those who were at a point where kind words were not an option. They were both still hurting from watching their own marriage come to an end, pain coming for different reasons for both of them. Neither of them were to blame separately, it takes two to start a marriage, and two to end it.
But while Keith spent his morning in quiet contemplation, I spent mine listening and watching a "how not to have a good marriage" video play out live right in front of me. The tension was thick. We had a tiny apartment, and there was no way for them to NOT have to deal with each other. My father had the video camera running that morning and you can hear the disdain in their voices when they are forced to interact with each other.
This is not about them, I can remember thinking that morning, as we rushed out to do the things that brides do on the big day. Off to the salon for hair and nails and ..gulp MAKEUP...as an aside, I told the girl I did not wear makeup and had no intentions of wearing it that day either. When she was done, I cried because I thought I looked like a clown. I made her do it again, and the only reason I had any make-up on at all is because I knew that in the pictures I was already going to look pale...I still was not happy with the end result that day, it was out of my comfort zone... To the hall to finish decorating, and then I got the phone call that Keith was missing. To say that I was upset would be an understatement. In a flash of an instant, I played out in my head that he had left, run off, left me for someone else, been kidnapped, drowned, and a host of other things. We were going to be just like my own parents. Apart, hateful. But then, in the next flash, I became calm. I told my future mother-in-law that he would be fine, and to call me when he showed up. I knew in my heart that he was where he was supposed to be, and that he would be there that afternoon when we took that long walk down the Church aisle. For the first time since we had become a couple, four years earlier, I knew, without a doubt that we would be fine.
And I was wrong too.
We have not always been fine.
We have, like all couples, had our ups and downs.
We have argued.
We have laughed.
We have thrown pie, compliments and insults.
We have cried.
We have watched the sun rise and set together and apart.
We have been at our best
We are not like my parents.
We are not like Keith's parents
We are who we are.
We are us.
We are growing old together, in a money pit of a house, watching our children grow. We sit on the porch. We discuss things, and yes we argue.
But at the end of the day..
we like each other.
we respect each other
we love each other.
Differently than we did 16 years ago.
Better than we did 16 years ago.
I am so glad we were both wrong.
Happy Anniversary Keith.