Saturday, June 19, 2010

You & Me & Our Memories

For reasons that remain blissfully unclear to me, today marks the seventeenth anniversary of the day on which Margaret said, "I do." Candidly, it has long been a mystery to me just what the upside of this relationship purports to be from her vantage point but I long ago learned not to ask such a question aloud.

Margaret and I were married under a blistering hot June sun on the 19th of June 1993. The significance of the date we chose was simply that it represented the Saturday of the weekend that marked two years since we had started dating. Nothing more. Nothing less. I think the date was probably my idea - figuring that years from now there it would be patently unfair for me and my addled little mind to try and remember two separate "anniversaries". One thing at a time is about all I can process intellectually.....and that presupposes that it is a rather tiny thing at that.

With a divorcee and a lapsed Catholic (had they continued to dip the Nilla wafers that they passed out at snack time at Sunday Mass in the wine perhaps I would have continued to attend) joining forces, we eschewed the church service. We were married, instead, outside at the Bridgewater Manor in a ceremony performed by a judge. Go figure - I was still in law school, not yet even practicing law and I walked headlong into a lifetime sentence. My sister Jill served as Margaret's Maid of Honor. My long-time friend Dave Joy was my Best Man (and by far the tallest too). Margaret's brother Frank sang. It was really a very nice affair albeit one conducted at 12:00 noon on a day when the temperature was ominously close to 100 degrees. An outdoor wedding at 12:00 noon in June in New Jersey. While I hope it is true that with age comes wisdom, I acknowledge that back in the day I set the bar at "step over easily" height. I know not at this point whether any apparent uptick in mental acuity represents in me intellectual growth or inevitability.

There are times when it seems to me as if the seventeen years of road we have traveled from that day to this one have passed at an infuriatingly brisk pace. I closed my eyes but for a moment and the two mighty mites who were but children when we wed are now both full-grown people making their way in the adult world. I closed them again and the clean-shaven youngish-looking man of twenty-six who Margaret married has ceded the stage to a graying, bearded, showing every second of every day on his face man of forty-three. My bride, as beautiful today as she was the day we married, has aged gracefully and is already counting the days (with anticipation I might add) to her 50th birthday.........which is still more than two years away.

We have made our way in this world together, joined at the heart through better and through worse. I wonder sometimes whether Margaret wonders at what point with me the latter starts to catch up with the former. I would like to say, "Soon" in order to assuage her concerns but the truth is I do not know myself. I would like to tell her that I am looking forward to it as much as she is but I am not sure whether that is quite the elixir to her ear as it sounds like exiting my mouth.

Over the course of the past seventeen years we have been kicked hard in the teeth by life on countless occasions and faced down more than one or two seemingly endless days. Once upon a time I practiced law at a firm whose payroll practices were so sketchy that we - the employees - used to refer to payday as "theoretical payday" - because there was no guarantee that the check given to us was actually worth the paper on which it was printed. Margaret and I have enough distance and space between our present and our past that we can laugh about those epic misadventures now. I assure you that it was not humorous at all at the time it was happening. And as anyone who reads this silliness I write here on a regular basis knows, having landed at a place that was my first employer's polar opposite way back at the end of the last century I up and bolted from it at the beginning of Aught-Nine seduced by the allure of "something more". Luckily - and I have long suspected that Margaret somehow had her hand in it - after only a few months of realizing that "more" was indeed less, I somehow managed to find my way back to home base.

In addition to the residual scars from my self-inflicted wounds we have suffered our share of blows from the outside world as well, the worst of which to date occurred about a year ago when Margaret's mom died after battling hard against breast cancer for five years. As one-half of a couple you do all you can to try to keep your partner safe from the blows of the world at large and protected from all of those things that lurk in the darkness. The failure to do so hurts both of you. But you do what you do and keep on keeping on.

I do not pretend to know how other folks' marriages work. I live only inside of the four walls of my own home. I know though what works for the Missus and me even if I cannot attach a name to it or put my finger on it precisely. We are who we are. I have enjoyed immensely the first seventeen years of this grand experiment. If the remaining 80% or 90% of the journey is as much fun, then I will have nary a complaint. Again, one day I may be brave enough to ask the Missus whether she concurs but that day is not today. And tomorrow seems pretty full already as well.

While it could without saying that I love her completely, it probably does already go without saying more than it should. We are who we are. Margaret and me. This is us.

.....And I would not trade it for anything.

Happy Anniversary Honey.


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