Today marks the day that 22 years ago we looked into each other’s sort of innocent eyes, hearts filled with hope and love, and our minds filled with thoughts of all the sanctified sex we were going to be able to have, and said “I do”. For better or for worse, for rich or for poor, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. We enthusiastically promised to celebrate the good times together, and to hang in there through the cage fight blood sport times too. In other words: It was a pretty awesome day.
So let me break it down for you, this marriage thing, as I reflect on the years my husband and I have been through. I feel we possess a kind of wisdom since we’ve managed to bless the world with five of the most kickassed human-beings ever dreamed of. You’re welcome, by the way.
For better of for worse. Well, there’s definitely plenty of both that pepper your years together. There’s the birth of your minions, the exciting firsts, the things you build together, and the things you tear apart together. Like your house.
A couple that can endure an ice storm of biblical proportions, destruction induced “remodel” of their home with out burying eachother in the debris can definitely hang tough with the best of them. Our children are sincerely the best of us. They are amazing and wonderful with individual gifts that enrich, inspire, and humble us. They have blessed us with a lifetime of second chances to view the world through fresh eyes. Your child’s “firsts” become your own second chance at that first too. I have learned to take my first steps 5 more times than I thought I would. I’ve had 5 more first tastes of icecream, five more first merry go round rides, five more first snows, and five more first kisses. These moments aren’t just the “better” part of “for better”, they are the BEST parts.
In sickness and in health. This part tests your mettle, and your intestinal fortitude since up until you share a living space together day in and day out, the magic and mystery of bodily functions and bathroom etiquette remain a hazy and unspecific theory that, like quantum physics, most people refuse to really think about when it comes to their partner. This is not possible when you live in an 1,100 square foot home with your five children. Yes. That’s the size of our ONE bathroom home. And YES, the fantasy is dead. The illusions that I fought so desperately to cling to, like that we each never get gassy, we only poop roses and sunshine, and we miraculously look like celebrities at 3 am when we are woken to hose vomit out of a child’s comforter in the driveway in November. True story. Nope. In sickness and in health pretty much covers it all. If you sign on that dotted line, read the fine print and toughen up. And learn to love peeing while someone brushes their teeth two feet away and someone else is showering at your elbow. If you can’t love it, learn to make peace with it because my several bathroomed house friends tell me that they still dream of peeing alone, and never ever ever hearing some one yell at you that they need to be wiped. Ever. Ever again.
Now circling back to that for rich or for poor part, and tying it neatly to the until the death do you part part, and the events of today. I’ll never forget my dad telling me that buying a house is like buying a boat with a sizable hole somewhere you can’t find. You will be hemorrhaging money for the life of the loan. That means FOREVER. In 2008 north central Massachusetts (where we happen to live in our hemorrhaging house) a devastating ice storm hit, wiping out power lines and trees and plunging us into darkness for 13 days, with power being restored only the day before Christmas. Have you heard of ice dams? Well, we hadn’t. And we got them, or rather, our house did, splitting the roof and causing us to lose a room and a small corner of the house. Did I mention that this also caused our built in 1900 home to expose toxic levels of led that required HUD to come in and remove it before we could return? No? Good times. That was the first time we exhausted our home equity line repairing our little castle.
In the interest of time I will speed up our little story to this very day. As I’ve mentioned, we have five phenomenal children who have enriched our lives immeasurably. They are the song in my heart, they are the spring in my step, and the apples of my eyes. However, unlike the ones that grow on trees, these apples aren’t free…they’re definitely worth every penny, but they aren’t free. We are proud to announce that our oldest son, David, is about to graduate from Boston College and is eagerly looking at Ph.D. Programs. Isaiah, our second born, is entering his junior year at Boston College in the fall, and our third born, Liam, is graduating from high school and starting college at Stonehill in the Fall as well. We still have two more children coming up through these ranks and are as brilliant and ambitious as their older siblings. We are spectacularly rich in all the ways that matter the most, (if at all) and wildly poor in the way that doesn’t count at all. Except when you have to pay your mortgage and tuition. Then, it matters a WHOLE lot because they won’t take coupons for back rubs, and washing dishes in trade. Nope. Theirs is a business that deals strictly in cash. Which we have none of. Hubby and I woke up this morning, wished each other a happy anniversary and then made our plan for the day: a bank robbery. At this stage of our “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” marriage, the most romantic gesture you can make is to pull a pair of pantyhose over your heads together, arm yourselves with the weapons in hand (in our case we had only nerf swords, a light saber, a handgrenade filed with those tiny twosie Lego pieces known to cripple the strongest of souls when stepped on in the dark, and a small army of chickens), and go rob a bank to pay the bills.
Things, as you may have surmised, did not turn out exactly as we planned. It was all very confusing, feathers flying everywhere, people pointing and laughing at us, instead of the fear and admiration we had hoped for. The police, however, and the FBI, took us seriously. I can still taste metal from the thousand watt tasers, but Dale and I look great in our matching caution cone orange jumpsuits. We are currently awaiting sentencing but our court appointed lawyer has indicated that if we are willing to cooperate with the authorities we will only get 22 to life. With a small chance of parole. Happy anniversary honey.