I remember the day we married. Both of us divorced, waiting for a day we both had off work so that we could get this legal thing ticked off the to-do list. I remember coming home and tying up tomato plants; that, I suppose was our honeymoon. I remember my two youngest (at the time) sons playing Bloody Knuckles at the back of the church in Pearisburg, VA during our wedding ceremony; they were the only guests at the wedding, and the only celebrants at our wedding supper at the Shoney’s restaurant afterward. Years later we discovered that we had been married in the county seat of the place where many of Larry’s forebears came from but at the time it was just a place to get married quickly when we found an opportunity to do so. My first wedding was of the Catholic variety, much pomp and ceremony, but the glue used for that match did not last nearly as long as this get-it-done-quick variety has held.
I won’t say it’s been a bed of roses, but I won’t say it’s been a bed of thorns either. The path has been rocky at times, strewn with boulders that seemed insurmountable. Other times it has been as straight and true as a Kansas cornfield with bright blue skies and sunshine. Never would I say it’s been easy (and any wife of a Vietnam vet knows what I’m talking about), but always would I say it’s been worth the years invested.
Sometimes I read posts on Facebook written by the newly in love or newly married, and the sweetness oozes from every word. “You’re my one true love,” or “(Insert name) is so amazing! So happy with him/her/our little family!” I have to admit, I squirm when I read them. Because after 63 years I’ve learned that there really is no such thing as “one true love”; if one is open to it, love is there to be found and comes with all sorts of unexpected, exciting and sometimes unpleasant surprises. I’ve learned that families can be as messy as they are beautiful and that marriage is not something that can be described in one sentence.
I have yet to find an anniversary card. Is there one for people like us who fight probably as often as we sit in quiet companionship, who know each other so well that we can fix each other’s coffee, remind each other about the shoes left where the other will stumble, answer questions before the other asks, and even supply the next line for the other in arguments? Hallmark is all about the blasé, simplified, romance-novel version of love and we are all about the everyday, nitty-gritty, complicated kind of love that I believe is the real story behind most long-lived marriages.
A single person reading this might think marriage is not worth the trouble and I can see where that might be a logical conclusion. Marriage isn’t about the logical, however; it’s more like the roller coaster and living single is like the merry-go-round. While carnival rides have always made my stomach roll and my legs shake, I will say that the roller coaster is well worth the ride. And the merry-go-round, while safe and comfortable, is boring and in the end, lonely. At least the people on the roller coaster grab hold of each other when the going is rough and scream in unison.
So happy anniversary, Larry. Here’s to 28 more years of never knowing what might be coming around the bend. Here’s to the loops and dips and exhilarating thrills of this wild ride we call our marriage. I can't imagine what life would be like without you.
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.