we are golden
I went shopping earlier this week, hoping to find a card to give my husband. Today is our 15th wedding anniversary. Fifteen years ago this afternoon, my father flung the sanctuary doors open, revealing me to friends, family, and my soon-to-be husband, and even now, when I think about the way he looked at me in that moment, I tear up.
I've never been a great fan of mass produced greeting cards meant to mark off birthdays, sympathies, or anniversaries. Often I'll stand before the colorful, typically haphazard displays, and become overwhelmed. Other times I'll read each one in a desired category, sometimes more than once, hoping to find the card to best describe what my heart wishes to say to the intended recipient. Very rarely, though, does that seem to happen. Such was the case this week. How do you wrap 15 years of marriage up succinctly in four or five lines of flowery prose when there's so much I want to say to him? I could add my own words to Hallmark's efforts, but when I've done that, I fill the pleasing white space with my charms, causing my husband to twist and turn the card in an acrobatic attempt to read my writing, while I'll have long finished reading the one handed to me moments before. The one signed simply Love, Your Husband.
My husband is a man of few words and I am a woman of many. There are countless nights I lay my head down at the end of the day and wonder why it aches before I remember that it's filled with all the things I wanted to say that day but never got - or took - the chance to, whereas my husband barely gets the words "good night" out before plunging into a deep sleep. I see it as frustrating. He probably sees it as a gift.
This has not been the easiest year of our marriage. We've spent far more days and nights away from each other than I care to tally. For the first time in its (amazing, impressive) 15 year tenure, we raised our voices to each other, and word(s) we've never said to the other were lobbed like grenades across the length of our living room and left to lie there, waiting to see how the other might react. I'm not at all proud of that. I thank God every day the man who made me well up with tears of happiness 15 years ago today may have ducked and looked for cover, but never once ran away. I pray that he's happy I didn't either.
I can't imagine life without him, the same way I can't fathom how it is 15 years with him have sped by. When I joined him at the altar on our wedding day, I only saw that day in my mind. I knew we'd have many together. I simply couldn't picture them in that moment. I didn't see our two amazing sons in our future, or the daughter we'll one day reunite with on another realm. I couldn't envision how we'd lift each other out of the depths of depression each of us would go through, or how we'd celebrate that which we have (thankfully, far more often than we've had to mourn for that which we do not). There's not a greeting card for that.
As I write this, my husband is downstairs with our boys, each of them skimming their game pieces across the Sorry board. The man of few words tackles the things I don't particularly care to do while I, the woman with (too) many words, spills a few. I hope he's never been sorry of any of the time we've had together during this rapid-fire 15 years. I'm not. Even though I never truly pictured our life together beyond the moment we married, I'd rush through our courtship and engagement the same way we did then to marry him again today if we were granted a do-over.
I have too many words, and the greeting cards I looked at (and ultimately left without) while on my shopping excursion didn't have the ideal ones, but in this particular moment, I can think of only single words that best convey what I feel today on our anniversary and every day after.