How quickly do twenty-two years pass? It’s a lifetime for some, and the blink of an eye for others. In twenty-two years, we become completely different people, and the gamut of experiences we share reset our paths over and over again.
When you get married young, you naively think that it will be forever, not really understanding what exactly that entails. You say the words…for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. You laugh and dance and you ignore the wisdom of the married family and friends who smile knowingly and think about their own weddings.
The poorer is the part you deal with first, as you both work and work to begin building a life and a home. There’s never enough money, and you seem always to be tired. Children are born and you wonder just exactly why there isn’t more of a skills test required for that marriage license anyway.
The better and the richer turn out to mean something different than what you’d thought on that sweltering August evening. They are the moments on the sidelines as you cheer for your kids during their soccer and football games. They are the garbage disposals replaced at nine o’clock the night before your first home-cooked Thanksgiving meal. They are the new jobs, and the Friday nights with family, and watching the lightening through your bedroom window as you fall asleep together. They are the holding of hands, the snarky remark and the way that you both giggle and say, “Is it peas?” to the news anchor’s teaser about the most deadly thing you could eat for dinner.
The sickness comes later, just as you finally ease into that home stretch with the kids…just when you finally think you can take your eyes off of the road for a second. When you look up again, the fear that you could lose your person is roaring toward you like the headlights of an oncoming semi. It’s the understanding that without this person, there would be no air left for you to breathe and that you would never be whole again.
Years pass before you even realize they are gone, and you find yourself one Friday night sitting together in companionable silence. The kids are out, the dogs are asleep at your feet, and you understand that even though your life has not become what you had planned at twenty-four, you are with exactly who you should be with, in the only place that you’d ever want to be.
Happy Anniversary David. I love you today and every day.