It's our 31st wedding anniversary today, and I woke up in bed by myself this morning. Sigh. So I got up, went downstairs and found my sleepless partner dozing in the chair. His knee hurt. And his business has him in a worried funk. I always thought by now we'd be taking it a little easier, the kids would be on their own, we'd be done paying for schools and basketball camps and swimming lessons and iPods. But I didn't think we'd be paying $4 a gallon for gas, that groceries for two would cost over $100 a week (at one time, that fed a family of five quite nicely), that I'd be prayin' for furnace season to end, and that we'd be 10 years into a struggling family business.
But all finances aside, do I have a regret in the world? Not one.
We are blessed. Thirty-one years ago today we started something pretty rare. He's still my best friend, and I'm still his. He still makes me laugh, and I still put away his laundry. It's a fair deal, even though most young couples would think we're old-fashioned. Together we raised three fabulous children, of whom we're so proud. They're like badges of honor on the sash of this marriage. Do we have disagreements? Sure. But doesn't everybody?
Sometimes you have to be thankful just to be there -- to be present -- for each other. My friend Arlene's dad, Clarence Vail, died a few days ago. There's a story about him in the St. Paul Pioneer Press today. When he died, Clarence was 101, and he and his wife, Mayme, had been married 83 years, longer than any other couple in America. Their secret? Nothing fancy: Just respecting each other and working together to get through the day, the month, the year.
Facing an uncertain future is always a little easier with a hand to hold. And I'm still so grateful we were able to keep a promise we made so long ago.