Tomorrow we’ll celebrate our 30th anniversary. I don’t know where all those years have gone, but I am pretty sure my husband Vince will find them for me.
He has been collecting my lost things since we met in 1985, in the basement of Marquette’s Johnston Hall. He has retrieved remote controls I’ve made into the bed, silent cellphones I’ve left on the outside window sill, wallets wedged into the car seat, and glasses I can never find because I take my contacts out before I should.
He even finds my dignity for me when I’m sure I’ve lost it. “You’re over thinking this,” he says and “It really wasn’t a big deal.”
We are not given to grand romantic gestures and I’m pretty sure this post will embarrass both of us in retrospect. But, it is also my gift to us, an acknowledgement of a genuine love that has aged, just like its lucky recipients, in the course of our ordinary lives.
He brings me tea in the morning when our schedules allow it. I habitually run reconnaissance missions through recipes and menus to weed out green and red peppers, vegetables I find harmless, but he finds so offensive his parents named an entire club after them.
I match his confounding collection of black socks; he vacuums the stairs, a job I loathe.
We don’t agree on everything. What fun would that be? We’re so competitive in things like Jeopardy and driveway basketball that people look away. But, when I think about our 30+ years, I mostly remember the times we didn’t fight.
I woke him up once on a cold winter morning to help me dig my car out of a snow bank, and he agreeably and without comment yanked on his boots and came to assist. He once walked into our kitchen and said, “Wow, that looks good, what’s the occasion?” I laughed when I told him it was our anniversary. (If your anniversary is Jan 3, you’re a little celebrated out when the big day rolls around.)
I love exotic travel, he prefers long, bladder-challenging car trips with obligatory high fives about how we’re “making good time.”
We’ve learned to enjoy them both.
We spent the first 29 years of our marriage deep in the happy trenches of active parenthood. We coached, refereed, chauffeured, consoled, cheered, winced, worried, marveled and sometimes disagreed. We’ve wondered every day how we got lucky enough to raise the four people we get to call our own. They’ve been the blessing of our lives and we weren’t sure how we’d handle life with just the two of us rambling around our previously chaotic house.
But, to everyone’s surprise, including our own, we’re enjoying our empty nest. We like the freedom it invites. It’s nice to lock the doors at a reasonable hour, and not have to wait up for young people, worrying about when they’ll amble through.
Like the roller coasters I love, and Vince only sits in because he thinks if he doesn’t we’ll all fall out, our life together has been a swift and joyous ride.
I can’t wait to see what the next 30 years will bring.