Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Happy anniversary to us

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.

4 comments:

Emilie said...

This is such a beautiful post. What a loving tribute to 31 years with your best friend. I don't think you sound old-fashioned at all, and if you are, bring it on. I look forward to being able to express these sentiments in another 25 years.

Funny - the Vails were one of those couples we Catholic Spirit reporters got to cover every year at World Marriage Day. Every year was a different attempt to tell their story in a fresh way, but it did always come down to that idea of respect for each other.

Madwoman of Preserve Path said...

Emilie, I hope I'm around in 25-35-40 years or so to wish you and Steve a happy anniversary, too. But just in case I'm not, here's a toast to you two. What do we call that? An anticipated feast?

Christina said...

Yes, this is a lovely post. Understated romance, perhaps, by today's standards, but enduring, and therefore, beautiful.

I read the PiPress piece and liked this piece of wisdom from his wife:
"the key to a good marriage was to first find a good husband and, second, not try to change him too much."

I'll have to keep that in mind when I'm married. I know I've achieved the first part, finding a good husband. You and Emilie obviously have, too.

Here's to good husbands! And good wives! And rich marriages!

Meg said...

Congratulations, MPP! I can't believe you knew that couple. So cool. Wishing you (at least!) another 31...