What’s it all about?

Today is our 35th wedding anniversary! It is a great day, and I am so, so happy. After so many years, I love him more than I ever thought possible, and I know that makes me a very lucky woman indeed.

But here’s what makes it so sweet…things weren’t always great.Steve worked hard to build his optometry practice–six and seven days a week for many years–and he missed a lot of family stuff, both good and bad. I had some very serious emotional issues, and he never left my side, holding me in this world when my state of mind was very fragile indeed. Sometimes he expected more of me than I had the strength to give, and sometimes I asked more of him than he had the energy and brain power to spare. He “let” me stay home with our children when I actually never offered him the choice, and our money got very tight.  He worked seven days a week, leaving me to pack one house and supervise the building of another, with a brand new baby and a four-year-old who didn’t want to move. Etc, and so on.

That is one way to look at it.

There is also a very different truth. We walked into our first house together, taking deep breaths and looking at each other in disbelief. We pulled down the horrible wallpaper together, me holding the ladder on the stairs so he could reach the unreachable parts of the walls.  We were together at the moments our boys entered this world and took their first breaths. We took turns–in the delivery room–kissing their precious heads, and letting their little fists grip our fingers. Together we searched two years for a golf community that felt like home, and together we picked out brick and carpet and paint colors. He let me have glass cabinet doors in the kitchen, and I made do with a driveway too steep for a basketball goal. We’ve shared weddings and funerals, family joys and troubles, and now the care of aging parents.

That’s the past. What about the future? It is still all about sweet and sour. We are traveling to places I had never hoped to see, and having experiences I never knew I wanted to have. Already we both groan a bit getting out of bed in the morning, and, after working all day, we often fall asleep watching TV. We can afford the most amazing meals in the coolest restaurants, but it takes us twice as long to loose the weight we gain. Our boys have picked wonderful girls whom we already love, but their lives have hardships we never could have foreseen and can’t do anything about. We have wonderful friends with whom we have great times–including the upcoming trip to Ireland–but, as retirement looms, we know that our weekly meetings for trivia will go the way of kids’ baseball and superhero birthday parties. The hard thing is how much we’ll miss them; the great thing is the vacations we will spend at each others’ houses.

And, that as they say, is that. A wedding marks the moment that a couple commits to their journey together, and ours began on this day 35 years ago. We have had joy and sorrow, success and failure, hard work and good times. I can say with absolutely certainty, Steve Warstadt, that I can’t imagine doing any of it with anyone but you.

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