Marriage ain’t easy, that’s for sure, but it carries with it the sweetest rewards, the most satisfying efforts, and the most remarkable days of my life. Here are some observations from the last 17 years … the first of decades yet to come.
17. Marriage gives you wings and makes you fearless. Standing hand-in-hand with my husband has allowed me to try so many new and different things because I knew I had a friend, a partner, a lover to support and encourage me.
16. The Symphony. Growing up, my mom and I didn’t have any extra money, but we always loved to watch the Boston Pops on the A&E channel, particularly on July 4. Matt grew up regularly attending the symphony, and when we started dating I got to go, too. Now we spend the summer sweating through the Summerfest series, and hit as many year-round concerts as possible.
15. Dogs. Again, my mom was more amenable to cats when I was growing up because they were self-sufficient and stayed indoors (translation: we didn’t have to take them out in the dark), so first thing when me and the mister got hitched, we got a dog … the first love of our lives, Penelope Buttercup. When she died in 2008, we were heartbroken, but thankful to Magnolia May the Wonder Beagle.
14. Fahrvergnügen. We got married the summer between my junior and senior years in college, so when I graduated I got a badass Volkswagen Golf. I loved that car.
13. Technology prowess. Despite reports to the contrary, I have picked up on technology in this new millennium to make me a junior badass.
12. A lovely home. Our son is 13 now, and he loves our house … we bought it when I was about three months pregnant, so it’s all he’s ever known. We love our house, though. By the way, this year’s garden is the most awesomest of the neighborhood.
11. Emerald Isle. The first time I ever stayed for a whole week at the beach with my husband’s family. They’d stayed at the same place for over a dozen years, a home that forced us to cook fresh seafood each night rather than going out to eat. It was such a novel concept, and one I quickly adapted to. We love vacations that get us out of town, but allow us to just breathe and relax.
10. Ferry’s. One of the best days I hold close to my heart was the first summer we were married, and we spent the first half of our beach vacation week with my husband’s family in Emerald Isle and the second half with my family in Nags Head. We drove my VW, loaded down with bikes and stuff, up the coast and took all of the ferry’s in the NC Ferry System. It took us about 13 hours, but oh my God, it was so much fun.
9. Gardening. I was never a gardener growing up, but when we got married we decided we needed to find a hobby beyond, er … the bedroom. He was a techie, I was an artsy, but gardening stuck. We love to be outside, covered in dirt and bits of plants, transplanting and pruning. Not only do we have unrestricted time for conversations and laughter, but the end result is a satisfying garden.
8. Adventure. My husband has an adventurous spirit, and he’s willing to try anything. Anywhere. Yeah, that too.
7. Zero Dry Spell. Okay, this one’s probably a little tacky to talk about, but seriously, the 8 weeks after my son was born is the longest dry spell I’ve had in 19 years. Yeah, baby.
6. Love and friendship. I said above that marriage was hard, but in some ways it’s so natural and easy. But you have to work at it, and make an effort. Some days my husband makes me so mad I want to pinch his head off. But that’s so few and far between because we’ve learned to argue without drawing blood, as my mother says. And because we like each other so much, it’s easy to cool off and realize other opinions are okay to have.
5. Biking. In college my beach cruiser bike was just a means to get to and from class. My husband is a lifelong bicycle enthusiast, and his love for the open road has passed on to our son and I. When we can, we bike all over town to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce gas usage/pollution, but we also do it to spend more time together. The journey is half the fun, and over the last 13 of our years we’ve tried to instill that idea in our son.
4. Laughter. Oh, my God, nobody is funnier than my husband. His sharp wit and off-the-charts intelligence is the perfect combination for wicked humor. Laughter feels so good.
3. Patience. Lord, I am the least patient person I know. But motherhood, and marriage, have forced patience upon me. Some days I’m a cursing, kicking hostage to the concept … but most days I’m leading the charge. Marriage and motherhood are so worth the effort.
2. Romance. My husband is a romantic. Seriously, he’s conscientious and compassionate, and makes an effort every day. And totally unabashed in his efforts. Whether it’s bringing (or picking) me flowers; vacuuming every other day (probably more OCD than romance); cleaning the kitchen; cooking; de-wasping the garden and arming all doors to the outside with wasp spray so I can go outside and enjoy nature; taking care of both of our moms (that’s a lot of bossy women in his world); buying me the best present ever–a top-notch massage table (grrrrrowl); or moving the garden hose to hell and back to water flowers; Matt puts his family first. Always. There’s nothing more romantic, or satisfying, or reassuring, or arousing, as knowing you’re number one.
1. Our son. I cannot say this enough, our son is the very best thing to ever happen to me. What a blessing. Without my husband … and the perfect aligning of the stars and our combined fate … we would have never known sweet Peyton. He is the perfect mix of the two of us, taking the finest bits and creating something new and joyful and magical. Every time I look at him, I have that knowledge of how much I love my husband, and see him holding our precious, tiny child in the palm of his gigantic hand, sweetly kissing him on the forehead.
So there you have it. I’m not one to fuss and fawn over weepy Hallmark cards, and I don’t often compose sappy odes to love. But my heart is filled to bursting today, and excitement courses through my veins as I ponder tomorrow. I can’t wait to wake up with my love and see where we’re going.