Yesterday in Maryland was a lovely (and unseasonal) 60 degrees. A playful wind swirled the two stacked skirts I wore as I hiked up the hill behind the library.
Very unlike today was 20 years ago in Chicagoland. There was snow on the ground, and it was sharply cold. But we couldn’t wait any longer to be together: Spouse and I married each other, in my parents’ house, that morning.
One of my favorite photos of that day shows my mother’s dog, wearing a green ribbon around her neck, watching from the stairs. In another favorite photo, my grandmother looked beautiful in an aqua plisse dress.
We had a lunch reception; he and I were on our own by late afternoon, which was rather surreal. We shopped for a bathing suit for him since our hotel had a pool, but we never used it. [Spouse says we went to] Denny’s or maybe Bakers Square for dinner. I think we watched some TV, then went to sleep early.
It was the most stressful day of my life. (I woke up the next morning with 5 fever blisters on my lips, a personal record I hope will never be repeated.)
We were married all the same, though, and it was the best decision I ever made.
We’ve lived in 4 US states together. One of his grandmothers died a week after our wedding, so I met most of his kin at her funeral. My beloved grandmother died 5 years later. We’ve weathered my father’s life-threatening illness, at the same time Spouse’s best buddy (and cousin) from his youth was ailing, and then died. We worked on our bachelor degrees at the same time, even took a class (on the history of US Catholicism) together, and graduated from the same school, the same year. We survived the 2 years I attended grad school full-time while working full-time, only to realize a master’s degree wasn’t going to help me live the life I wanted. He’s currently navigating the shoals of management, the first thing he’s done in a long time where he’s not already an expert. We’ve travelled extensively, mostly throughout the US, but we’ve also seen a bit of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. We’ve each taken thousands of photographs. We’ve each started businesses. I became an artist and a writer.
For a self-professed hermit, somehow he’s always met and befriended greater numbers of interesting people than I have, even though I’m more social. I’ve loved some of his friends, but he hasn’t loved mine. (Well, he doesn’t love as readily.)
Spouse has mellowed; I’ve gotten more organized. He experiments more with food and travel; I’m developing a thicker skin. We still surprise and delight each other; we still make each other laugh.
It’s been a long, strange trip. Full of marvels and wonders.