I can distinctly remember laying on a beach in Jamaica discussing with The Husband how we would return to that resort in ten years, this time with our friends to celebrate our anniversary.
That never happened. If I remember correctly, we spent our tenth anniversary in much the same way we spent all the others, working our asses off, raising kids and hoping for at least 2 hours alone together for actual adult conversation where we would inevitably discuss our 20th anniversary and how THAT would be the time to vacation with our grownup friends at some exotic locale.
Here we are at twenty years, sitting in a hotel near Walt Disney World with three quickly growing kids. There is nary a grown up friend or exotic locale in sight. (No, I don’t consider the countries of Epcot exotic.)
The thing is, nothing looks like we planned and we wouldn’t change a thing.
20 years ago, I married my best frien
d. I’ve been lucky in life, blessed with good friends and family. But I never really understood the concept of a ride or die until June 27, 1998.
Marriage isn’t easy. In fact, it may be the hardest job I’ve ever had. There is the work of compromise and communication and sometimes painful humility. There are problems and questions. Life throws curves, like sickness and job-loss and money worries and all the stress that comes from having kids and being part of two larger families. There is sadness and rage and times where you just don’t feel a thing, except bone-achingly tired.
There is also tenderness, and safety and a peace that comes from feeling really, deeply known. And, and this is a big and, there is eye-watering, belly-aching laughter, often when you need it most.
The trick of twenty years, is to focus on that last part. We’re here, The Husband and I, and we could choose to focus on all the ways we inadvertently wreck each other. We could focus on the fact that we were children when we met and almost children when we married. We could focus on all the ways we’ve changed and how that can make things hard and bad.
Or, we can choose to focus on the joy.
So that’s what we do, time and time again, for twenty years.
Because it’s there, hidden amidst the dust of the everyday; deep, soul-renewing joy.
Happy 20th Mr. King. Here’s to our 25th in a Mediterranean Villa surrounded by our friends and family.
For now, I’ll take my ride or die in a theme park in Florida… for the win.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.