June 26th, 1991. I was 28, in a black velvet dress given to me by an acquaintance who had lost weight. He was 31, in a second-hand tuxedo which had been purchased for his fledgling magic business (the man was a wiz at performing card and coin illusions). Not able to afford gold rings, we exchanged silver bands. We took vows before our children and a small group of family and friends and giggled when Pastor Jones said the words “if anyone objects to this marriage, let him speak now or forever hold his peace” and our 3-year-old son, Jason, yelled out “Noooooooo!” (he was fidgeting and wanted to get away from whoever was keeping him from running around the church… looking back I think it might have been an omen). The reception was held in our tiny apartment with a lopsided cake that I baked, cheap champagne and finger foods that his mother helped me make. Every picture a friend took and pasted in a home-made wedding album featured us making goofy faces, not all of them intentional. Our honeymoon took place in one of those “hourly rate” motels… our best friends at the time booked us a room with a Jacuzzi and waterfall running down one of the walls for 5 hours. The room number was 13 (another omen?). Our wedding was certainly not the one I dreamed about when my friend, Denise, and I pored over issues of Bride but it was unique, it was US and, at the time, it was wonderful.
If this were a fairy tale, we’d be at a surprise party thrown by our children, celebrating 20 years of marriage which followed 10 years of living together (I’ll save you the math, we started shacking up when I was 18 and he was 21). But this is reality…
About 10 years ago we divorced. It wasn’t pretty nor amicable. Now we’re living different lives on opposite ends of the country. He’s remarried and I’m pretty sure he’s happy. I know I’m happy, in love and living with my best friend who makes me smile, laugh and feel cherished each and every day.
So why am I writing about this? It’s not about rehashing the negative… there’s no point in digging up dirt except to get dirty and muddy. I think it’s because I need to acknowledge that it wasn’t all bad and that those years together helped shape the woman I am today… and it’s a damned terrific woman if I do say so myself.
This is a “thank you”… Richard, we may not have been the best partners for each other but there were lots of fun times we had, rough spots we somehow managed to get through and, most importantly, two beautiful children who recently embarked on their own marriages with the faith and assurance that they will weather their storms better than we did.
I guess what I’m trying to say is… Happy Anniversary. Weird huh?