Oh. My. God. Today, I will celebrate my 40th wedding anniversary.
With my husband, of course.
Two score. I mean that as two chunks of 20 years each, but it does bring about a knowing grin when you think of it in Married Life Terms, because we did. Big time.
Four decades. More than the lifetime of a car, a computer, a food processor or a TV set.
In fact, I don’t think I have any of the original appliances with which we started this roller coaster of bliss. We’ve upgraded everything but the jewelry.
I still have my original wedding ring, as does he. I noticed this morning that his band that used to have deep leaves carved into it has been worn smooth in places. Mine is still pretty three-dimensional, although the bands in the back are blended into a solid gold line. I did have the diamond replaced when I lost the original at an ill-fated chalk festival a couple of years ago. Same size. I don’t need anything bigger or flashier. It’s been working for 40 years, and it is ready for the next 40.
Forty years. Holy crap. That’s a whole lot of patience and laughter and worry and happiness and stress and celebration. In those years, we’ve lived in three places; a very cold cinderblock apartment in Caldwell, Idaho, a lovely duplex in Burbank and in the Rock Hacienda in East Valencia Heights for the last 33 of those years. Our house is nontraditional, (he’s a painter and I’m a writer; we have no white walls whatsoever) but the comment we always hear is that people love to visit. Frank and I work every day to make and keep it that way.
We’ve raised three kids in this house; hosted countless birthday parties, baby showers, graduation parties, Christmases and New Year celebrations, let wayward teens live with us for awhile and always made sure that our kids’ friends knew there was always a meal, a nonjudgmental ear and usually some fun thrown in if they stopped by. That doesn’t happen without two people working together to balance each other’s tolerance and wisdom. I think it was that mixed bag of patience and love that earned us the nicknames MamaRock and PapaRock, which we cherish.
Love. Patience. Teamwork. Forty years of teamwork.
Things haven’t always been easy. We are more than familiar with the term “starving artists” and sometimes we have had to make do instead of taking fancy vacations or buying extravagant gifts. It’s frustrating, but rewarding at the same time. We have each other and that’s enough.
If I had to describe being married, I would talk about comfort, security, safety and responsibility. I would touch on agreements and not always having the answer and facing adversity with a hand to hold so we stand tall and don’t fall over. It’s driving home after a rotten day at work or having great news and there is no one else on the planet that you want to share it with more. No one else can dry my tears or make me laugh like him and I wouldn’t have it any other way. In his arms, my stress level drops and I am at rest. It’s a great feeling.
I’d also mention that the most important element of a happy and successful marriage is a sense of humor. Life is a funny old raccoon, a wise friend once said, and he was right. Just when you think you have the solutions, the problems change. Over the last 40 years, we’ve found ourselves in situations that left us no alternatives but to laugh, gather our composure and start over. Our family has had some health challenges that could have ripped us apart, but we stood strong. We worried when our son served in Iraq and when relationships weren’t so good for our young ones, we cried with them. If adversity was at the door, we took a breath, gathered our composure and faced it. Together.
Laughter. Strength. Love.
When I wanted to pursue a career in news, he was behind me all the way. He saw how it excited me and made me feel worthy. When he had a career adjustment and I encouraged him to start muraling and exploring his passion for painting, I saw his eyes light up. I am his biggest fan and I know he’s mine. This is as good as it gets.
I will admit I am the luckiest girl in the whole damn world. My beloved puts up with my often insane reasoning, my spontaneous nature, my procrastination, and my mood swings. He celebrates every one of my little victories, sometimes even more than I do. He is, without a doubt, my biggest cheerleader and I hope he knows that I am his as well. He is my staunch defender, my arm candy, my partner in crime and the absolute love of my life.
He listens and laughs, most of the time in the right places. He is passionate about a lot of things, lucky for me that I’m one of them.
As we approached this milestone, I tried to remember some of the early times. They’re getting harder and harder to recall, except the constant that whatever we did, we did it together. Through all the years, the pounds, the varying hair colors and lengths, crazy fashions and hobbies, he’s been there. Though some friends have come and gone, I know that the two of us fit best in the big chair in the living room and if it’s just us, that’s OK.
Comfort. Satisfaction. Togetherhood.
Now that our nest is empty, our first granddaughter will be here very soon and we’re excited to have all the kids home for the holidays – I’m looking forward to the new times. We’ll share new experiences (beyond the maze of Medicare and Social Security) as we enter a new chapter of our lives and I’m excited beyond belief that we get to do them together.
Frank, thank you for the easy-to-say last name, the hugs and the cuddles, the joy and the laughter. I love you to the moon and back. I believe in you and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead. All I know is that it’s gonna be great.
To the next score, and the one after that, and the one after that…….here we go!