Johnny and I recently celebrated ONE WHOLE YEAR of marriage. That might not sound like much, but for this corrupted girl, it’s worthy of a ticker-tape parade.
Holy Toledo, and what a year it’s been.
Let me first acknowledge that I cannot even begin to believe it’s been one whole calendar year since I stood in that chilly cove amongst friends and family. I faced Johnny, our hands entwined, and vowed to love him and his daughters for the rest of my life.
Ya’ll, that part was easy.
This last year has held many treasures, triumphs and tribulations. There has been laughter, tears, and laughter through tears. Our first married Christmas together was a disaster. I moved to the mountains five days before Christmas. I hadn’t even begun to unpack and caught a terrible cold. I felt out of place, lousy and confused. Pass the eggnog! As we entered the new year it was a frustrating challenge for me to find a job. So naturally, I started working for my Mother-in-Law. At a PRE-SCHOOL. The girl who doesn’t really dig children is now working with around 80 of the beguiling little rascals. Livin’ the dream, people.
God either has a sense of humor or Jesus totally hates my style. Not sure which.
Spring came and with it, a sense of re-birth and a breath of fresh air. I started to find my groove with my new location, my new stepdaughters, my new job, and my new life.
We worked on the house. We bought new furniture. We cleaned. We planted a garden. We purged. And then we purged again. And again. We are still purging. The sad little farmhouse where love once died is becoming the house that love re-built. I enjoy our current results, but they come with a price. On more than one occasion I’ve almost cried “uncle” and headed for the Hilton. We still have so far to go.
In the beginning I would escape around once a month – either back to my hometown for a night with friends or a well-planned camping trip here and there. I needed space…glorious space. Going from living alone with your co-dependent dog to becoming an actual family is a big transition. To Johnny’s credit, he always encouraged my little departures. He knew I was struggling and I needed my support group.
We traveled as well as a couple. We went to Michigan, Tybee Island, and Atlanta on more than a few occasions. We went to Hilton Head for our first “family” vacation and it was magical. Swimming, seafood and sunshine are good for the soul.
We stood in the rain and held hands for three hours and witnessed an amazing Paul McCartney concert for Johnny’s birthday. We’ve sat side by side night after night “playing” the newlywed game along with Carnie Wilson* and those clueless contestants. We’ve watched “Millionaire” and “Jeopardy” and applauded our acumen and equally chuckled at our stupidity.
I’ve learned so much in this new role of mine. I’ve always heard that the key to a successful marriage is communication. Agreed. It’s also learning when just to shut the hell up. It’s knowing when to let things go and how to pick your battles. It’s about what really and truly matters. Marriage has brutally pointed out every single one of my terrible flaws and more importantly, my selfish and immature nature.
In fact, I’ve been somewhat embarrassed at some of my ridiculous douchery in the last marital year. I’ve also been somewhat proud of the progress I’ve made.
You wanna hear progress? Progress is tolerating the game show “Lingo” on a nightly basis because the man you love thinks hearing Chuck Woolery say “reach in there and grab you a coupla Lingo balls” is HILARIOUS. It never gets old, folks. I mean, it NEVER gets old. **
Everyone always talks about the beauty of love. They talk of its power and of its simplicity. Sure, in many ways it IS very simple. Sometimes though, it’s simply not pretty. Sometimes love is waiting for your wife as she goes to the bathroom in Lowe’s for the third time because she has explosive diarrhea.
Sometimes it’s saving the last bite of your brownie without her knowledge because you know she’d enjoy it. Other times it’s having two little girls tip-toe down the stairs and you help get breakfast so that their Daddy can sleep in and rest, even though you’d rather be curled up next to him. It’s pretending not to smell what you just smelled. It’s not always glamorous. It’s the good, the bad and the ugly and laughing through it all, together.
It’s being connected physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Well, usually two outta three. Or thereabouts.
It’s also been the best year of my entire life. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our little precious family.
Happy Anniversary, honey! I love you more than I thought possible.
*Carnie Wilson: Say what you want – she’s big again but she’s just so damn cute and chipper! I mean chipper! She’s all squinty and has perfect teeth and she loves all those zany newlyweds! Don’t you judge me.
** Okay, I think the whole “grab some balls” thing is pretty funny too. Just not every single time. Well, mostly, I suppose, but I’ll deny it to my grave.