Today is my wedding anniversary. Johnny made an honest woman out of me two years ago today. Hard to believe it’s been two years already, although Johnny will probably disagree. I can’t imagine what it’s like being married to me. I bet you guys can’t either. One could say that the last two years have been the most challenging of my 42 years. One could also say they’ve been the best. I can say both.
To the boy that chased me until I caught him.
I’ve never really been married before. Sure, we can count the 9 months I was married and living in England when I eloped with a practical stranger, but I don’t. That wasn’t a real marriage, in any sense of the word. That was just youthful nonsense.
A real marriage takes work, commitment, patience and understanding. A real marriage is a partnership of equal responsibility. A real marriage makes you face the worst aspects of yourself and shows you who you really are. Marriage is forgiveness. Kevin Bacon once quipped that the secret to a happy marriage was “keep the fights clean and the sex dirty”. Then again, Kevin Bacon is married to the lovely Kyra Sedgewick, not to a wildly self-absorbed loon like myself.
I think there are a lot of advantages to marrying later in life, certainly. You have a better understanding of who you are as a person, and hopefully there’s a higher level of maturity as well. My oats had been sown and I was truly ready for this love when it found me. That doesn’t mean its been all windswept romance, however. At 40 years of age, I was set in my ways and somewhat new to the concept of compromise. Going from a one dog household to an instant family can be a daunting challenge. I wish I could boast that I’ve met each challenge holding a high head and with grace, but that’s simply not the truth.
Johnny was previously married and he’s got a better understanding of the institution, perhaps. He can maneuver around the pit-falls and the rookie mistakes. He’s already been there. I, on the other hand, have been somewhat surprised by my behavior. I’ve been amazed at how shallow and petty I can be. Conversely, I’ve also been surprised at my capability to love this deeply. For years I felt like my heart was surrounded by nervously pacing wolves. If threatened, the wolves would growl, snarl and snap to protect the fortress. It was about control, I suppose. Control of my heart, control in the relationship, control of my life, ultimately. I’ve never felt that way with Johnny. Upon our first reunion, you could say the wolves curled up and softly fell asleep at my heart’s door. Within a year we were married and I had given up almost all aspects of my previous life.
I rented out my home. I packed up and left my hometown and moved to a new city. I quit my job of 8 years. I said goodbye to friends and family and ventured off to the mountains to start a new life with Johnny and his two little girls. What a ride it’s been.
There have been more laughs than tears and I’m grateful. I can honestly say that even when things are an effort, I’ve never once regretted any of my choices. Marriage is hard and parenthood is even harder. The difference now is that I have someone on my team. Someone who loves me even when I’m not at my best. A best friend who supports me. A person who listens and comforts and always tries to help. Someone that will be by my side no matter what. In thick and thin. In sickness and in health. For better or for worse. In other words, no one is going anywhere and it’s something I’ve never experienced. There’s a quiet joy in knowing that you’re completely loved.
There’s a brilliant joy in knowing your capacity for love is far greater than you could have ever imagined.
I can say both.
Sometimes my feelings are too much for simple words so to end this little post, I’ll quote one of Johnny’s inexplicable musical favorites, the illustrious Taylor Swift. Johnny is simply “the best thing that’s ever been mine”.
I love you Johnny and I love our little family. Thanks for believing in me and making me yours. Happy Anniversary.