It’s my anniversary. It’s a big one, too. Twenty years ago, I
stumbled, blinded by tears waltzed gracefully down the aisle and attached myself, for better or for worse, to the man I had been dating for three years. I thought I knew everything. There were so many things I didn’t know.
I didn’t know:
How difficult it would be to learn to share a bed with someone else. Is there ever a mattress big enough?
That the man I married is a cover-hog.
That neither of us is perfect. I’m not sure which came as a bigger shock – that I had flaws, or that he did.
That he knows swear words. Even if he never uses them.
How quickly a tiny, insignificant spark can spawn a devastating blaze. The War of the Roses has nothing on the Dishwasher War of ’99. Seriously, premarital counseling should have a chapter in Dishwasher Loading. And don’t get me started on wet clothes in the hamper.
That doing the laundry can be an incredibly romantic gesture.
That I would learn how to speak an entirely different language. Washing dishes is Husband for “I love you.”
How fast I would switch from always saving the last chocolate cupcake for him to hiding treats in an empty tampon box.
What a minimalist he is. He’d be content to own only a pair of running shoes and a decent pillow.
That his biggest competition for my affection would be a hook-nosed professor from Hogwarts.
How he would have to compete for living space with my collection of snakes and lizards.
How tolerant he is of snakes and lizards. Even when said lizards keep him awake at night with their noisy breeding activities.
How big a hole would be left in our hearts when we lost the cat we adopted when we got married.
How healing it would be to watch him parent our children. I never knew what it meant to have a dad in the house. Now I do.
How balding and predominantly grey could be so deliciously sexy. Sorry kids. Forget Mommy said this.
The sheer number and size of the storms we would have to weather.
That if I had the power to change the past and skip over some of the rough patches, I wouldn’t do it. Each and every trial has taught us something – about ourselves, about each other,about our faith. Skipping the hard parts would be like jumping to multiplication problems before ever learning to count. Without the foundation, there’s nothing solid on which to build. If you’re going to construct an earthquake-proof residence, you must first learn what an earthquake can do.
How the quirks I found endearing back then would become irritating. And how those irritations become endearing once again. They’re part of who he is.
How quickly 20 years would pass.
Happy anniversary to my beloved. I’m pretty sure that according to Hallmark, the 20th is the chameleon anniversary. Twenty-fifth is silver, 40th is ruby. Yes, I’m certain that the 20th is Oustalet’s chameleon. There’s a perfect spot in the living room…