19

Today is our wedding anniversary, which really and truly snuck up on me this year. Wait, what month is it? My brain has socially distanced itself from calendars.

John and I have been married for 19 years, which alternately seems crazy (nineteen??) and like a giant no duh because I feel like I have known him forever. I mean, I obviously haven’t, because I am not — checks jowls, chin hairs, wrinkled belly, bottomless well of cynicism — nineteen years old, but we have been part of each other’s lives for a real stretch of time now. Through the young carefree years, through the terror/ecstasy/boredom of early parenting, through career gains and losses, through sickness and health, through smooth easy stretches and the rockiest terrain imaginable.

We were at the cabin last weekend and I caught sight of John outside, standing there talking to Dylan. He was smiling — that great smile, the way his hazel eyes crinkle at the corners — and I was just struck by how dear he is to me. Wearing the same red flannel shirt I’ve seen a million times, his beard and hair now shot through with silver.

He can be unfamiliar in some ways now, a man whose passions and politics have evolved over time in directions that are utterly foreign to me. Then again, I too have changed, I have followed my own paths and addiction has led me in the same dumb damaging circles over and over through the years.

There are times when the space between us feels insurmountable. But they do not last. We always seem to find our way back. To me, it feels like coming home, when the ice melts and we go back to our silly pet phrases and eight trillion shared habits and memories.

I can’t know what the future holds, whether we will make it another nineteen years, past the children leaving home and into whatever that life looks like. But my god, we’ve made it this far, nearly two decades of being intertwined, falling apart and coming back together. So many unpredictable twists and turns — here we are living in a global pandemic, for crying out loud — and he is still so dear to me. I love him fiercely, I love him grudgingly, I love him when it’s easy to love him and when it’s hard. It has and always will be worth it, this great and complicated love I am so lucky to have found.

Comments

15 Responses to “19”

  1. Ginger on May 5th, 2020 8:56 am

    Lovely! Happy Anniversary to you…

  2. Jeanette on May 5th, 2020 9:14 am

    Happy Anniversary! I speak from experience when I say that when your boys leave home you will come together in a totally different way! A nice job-well-done kind of way!

  3. Belle on May 5th, 2020 10:03 am

    Congrats! It really is amazing to have been together for so very long. We hit 48 years last month and even though I think I know him like the back of my hand, there are days when I have no idea who he is. But he still makes my heart jump when he walks in the door, and to me, that says everything. May you have many more years together!

  4. Kelly on May 5th, 2020 10:43 am

    <3 Sneaking up on 10 years married here and hope to have that sort of sentiment at 19, 29, 39…Congratulations on 19 years of the easies, the hards, the WTFs. May all the love continue to grow and change and spill over for decades to come.

  5. Sally on May 5th, 2020 10:57 am

    👏🏻

  6. Kim on May 5th, 2020 11:28 am

    Those last couple of sentences punched me right in the gut – congrats to you guys!

  7. Sande on May 5th, 2020 11:49 am

    Congrats and Happy Anniversary!

  8. Lauren on May 5th, 2020 1:06 pm

    I feel like this is exactly what I would write about my own marriage. Ben and I are celebrating 19 years this October, and while it hasn’t always been cupcakes and sprinkles, it has always been worth it.

    Happy Anniversary!

  9. Laura on May 5th, 2020 1:38 pm

    Congrats! Aren’t the swings between “hate your guts” and “you’re so dear” a wild ride? It’s been a big ol roller coaster ride!

  10. Trish on May 5th, 2020 1:58 pm

    19 years is an accomplishment and worthy of a celebration! Happy Anniversary!

  11. Gigi on May 5th, 2020 3:15 pm

    Happy, happy anniversary. Marriage is one wild ride, isn’t it?

  12. Jules on May 5th, 2020 5:46 pm

    Beautiful. Happy Anniversary

  13. sara favoright on May 6th, 2020 6:58 am

    happy anniversary! thanks for making me cry!

  14. Rachel on May 6th, 2020 9:28 am

    Oh I love that moment, that moment when I look at him and I’m like, “YOU! YOU!” It’s a gift.

  15. Annie on May 6th, 2020 11:03 am

    So well said (as per usual). This is the best:
    that great smile, the way his hazel eyes crinkle at the corners — and I was just struck by how dear he is to me.
    Happy Anniversary, 19 for us in August. Impossible it is that long-and-didn’t we just meet, all at the same time.

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