Early in the morning, twenty-one years ago, I couldn't sleep. My children were on every pull-out or hide-a-bed that was in my parents' condo, all sleeping. I got up, pulled out a spiral notebook, went into the guest bathroom and sat down on the floor and began to write what I was thinking. I wrote and wrote about finding someone to love, someone to love us--our little family--and the miracles that preceded this day. I wrote about the scars of the divorce, the wondering if we'd ever heal, and how Dave had come into our lives to help us along that journey. I wrote about him. I wrote about me. I wrote about the children.
The door cracked open. It was Matthew, my second son. He came in and sat down beside me.
"You're up early." he said.
"Yes. I couldn't sleep," I answered.
"I know why," he said. He reached out a tweaked my cheek--a kindly, little old man gesture. "You can't sleep," he continued, "because you're getting married today."
We--all five of us--were getting married, in a way. I was marrying Dave in the traditional sense, and he, me. But these children, my little satellites, were bound up in that agreement as well.
At the ceremony, Dave looked a bit pale. I was giddy. He worried enough for both of us, I think, but I just knew it was the right thing to do, so I figured that whatever came our way, we'd handle. And we have.
Today, we're celebrating this day in an old-married-couple way. "What do you want to do?" What do you want to do?" "Anywhere you want to go for lunch--or dinner?" "I already pulled out the salmon, but I could save it for tomorrow." We aren't exchanging gifts, figuring the bathroom faucets to be a nice sort of sparkly present that will have to do.
But twenty-one years ago we did exchange gifts: he gave the gift of his heart, his pledge, his allegiance, his money, his time, his patience, his silly jokes, his kindness and acceptance. I gave him the gift of my money, my time, my spontaneity, my laughter, my children, and my heart. Together we've received the gifts of grandchildren, of working together, of time, of years, of experiences.
Happy Twenty-one years.