For better or for worse…
Tonight is the 10 year anniversary of my last night as a single lady. In the morning, I will roll over in bed and kiss the same guy I’ve been saying good morning to every day for 10 years! (Ok, ok so more like 12 years, we were shacking up for a little while before the wedding- sorry Dad, but just think of the money I saved on rent!!)
I remember that night really clearly. My parents had a suite at the hotel where our reception was being held and I stayed there with them and one of my bridesmaids, a dear friend. Friends and family filled rooms throughout the hotel and they would come and go with laughter and smiles. I remember the pjs I wore, including the bear bride and groom slippers that my mom bought me and I remember not being able to sleep as I gazed at my dress hanging in the main room with all of the excitement of and glee of any bride who is sure she is about to embark on the greatest day of her life.
I thought I knew it all. I was marrying my hero firefighter, we would quickly have 2 or 3 babies, I’d stay home and make fresh pasta and sauce every week while the kids did their homework and chores. Then we would all be clean, smiling, and dinner would be hot on the table when he rolled in from work.
Life would be sunshine and roses every day.
The wedding was beautiful. Friends and family came from across the country. The weather was perfect and despite the fact that one of our limos did not show up to bring us to the church, and one of the buses transporting our guests broke down(!) we all made it, ON TIME- a small miracle for my family- and we got married! While Curtis teared up on the altar, I had a laughing fit as my Uncle Mike finished his reading, bowed at the cross, then turned to Curtis and gave him the symbol for “I’m watching you!” by pointing at his eyes then at my almost husband, in front of God, the priest and all of our friends and family. He loved Curtis, but we all knew he meant business! 🙂
After LOTS of pictures, receiving lines, and one small scuffle with the lady from the altar guild, (hey, she had been rude to me all day. Rule #1 don’t %#@$ with the chick in the big white dress!) we were off to the reception. The limo driver (who did manage to get to the church to bring us back to the hotel) drove like a wild maniac and Curtis and I barely kept from crashing to the floor with every twist and turn. The hotel had the wrong beer set out for the cocktail hour. This is a big deal when your dad (aka the one footing the bill) is a Senior VP for a major beer company. He did graciously help them clear the bar of the unapproved brands. (I can’t tell you how he did that… he’s not afraid to write me out of the will, but suffice it to say, the problem was efficiently remedied!) The photographer was late getting to the reception and despite assurances from our event manager that he was there and in place, he missed our entrance, so there are NO pictures from our first dance, or our bridal party entrance, etc. All of these incidents would have seemed like the end of the world in the days before the wedding. Flowers, music, table cloths. such major points of discussion and strife in the months leading up to the big day, all fell to the background as the importance of the day became clear. This day was all about the beginning of our little family.
With this realization, I look back and see that all of the calamity and imperfections are what made the day perfectly ours and perfectly appropriate for how our life would really be.
Ten years. It sounds longer than it feels. This may be because in the back of my mind I still feel like I am 17. (Unless I’ve been running or to happy hour the day before. Then I feel like I am 97.) Our ten years have had their own share of calamity and imperfection. Some things have been easy, like getting pregnant with Anthony. He came back with us from Vegas- fair warning, what happens in Vegas does NOT necessarily stay in Vegas! Some things have been really hard- having a miscarriage when Anthony was 22 months old and then not being able to get pregnant again despite several rounds of fertility treatment over the next few years. Some things have been a big surprise- as in our Jack Daniel who we found out was on the way about a week after I gave away or sold ALL of the baby stuff.Turns out I was actually pregnant, but didn’t know it, while I was giving away bags of boy clothes. Some things just aren’t how I ever imagined- I can promise you that my vision of hot dinner on the table surrounded by sweet and clean children as Curtis pulls into the driveway has been long since given up. Hell, I count it as a win if everyone still has pants on by the time Curt is done with work for the day. (Really- it’s ridiculously rare that everyone actually has pants on. I’d like to say everyone is always fully dressed when we have company, but I’d be lying.)
Turns out marriage is hard. Sometimes it downright sucks to feel like you are fighting with the same person day in and day out and not getting anywhere. My bestie was paraphrasing a book she is reading for me today (she’s good like that, she does the reading and research and provides me with the points relevant to my life.) She basically said your perfect person is most likely the one you are with right now, regardless of whether or not you feel like they are. That’s because love takes work. It’s a daily act. We often have fairy tale ideals about love. When love and relationships are new, it feels all warm and gushy and exciting. Everyone wants that, that’s the easy part. Then life becomes more real. The kids keep you up at night, the crumbs and laundry are never ending, you fight over the dumbest shit like who didn’t start the dishwasher or why it is impossible to put dirty socks IN the hamper instead of leaving them all over the house. People often become so disenchanted with each other they forget to actively love each other. This is so easy to do. I am guilty of this. I am guilty of looking at my husband and blaming him for my bad mood, for yelling instead of listening, for slamming doors instead of giving hugs. When we actively love and change and work to improve our marriage, we are making ourselves be the best match for our spouse.
So as my ten year anniversary gift to my husband, I vow to work hard to be his best match, to try to see him with my loving eyes, not my angry eyes, as often as possible. I promise to look at love as an action, not as an entitlement and to ask God to help me with this, because let’s face it, we all need all the help we can get!
Happy Anniversary Babe, maybe it’s not all sunshine and roses, but it’s perfectly ours.