We have no set traditions for our anniversary. Sometimes we go out to dinner. Sometimes we go to a bed and breakfast. Once, when we lived in a house with an unfinished basement, I secretly hung blue tarps and made a room. I hauled down a mattress and decorated our makeshift get away. I called it the blue lagoon. In another part of the basement I made a restaurant and movie theatre.
This year we invited the kids. After a candlelight dinner for six, we pulled out the video of our wedding. The audio was bad, but looking a little younger, there we were.
Tigger was relaxed, grinning from ear to ear. The priest was back from retirement and extremely nervous. It didn’t matter. He could have passed out and Tigger would have held him up and given him his lines until it was over.
I was in a different state. One step onto the carpet and I started crying. Except when I was speaking or singing the hymns, I couldn’t stop. I have never been so scared in my life. The video proves that I was there and that everything was beautiful. I’m glad of that. I cried again the next day because I truly couldn’t remember any of it except for the music and my smiling groom.
“Twenty years,” I told my beloved in advance of the wedding. “I can’t say forever. I’ll give you twenty of the best years of my life. After that, if it’s hell I’m out of there.”
He said he would take twenty.
“You’re only saying that because you have no idea what you’re getting into,” I said.
My goal when we were dating was to find a good father for my children. It seemed easier to stay objective and what was true love anyway? I hated the idea of becoming one. It sounded like you got married and ended up only half a person. A real prize in the world of the romantic I was.
The wedding was perfect, even if I can’t remember it. We had stunning taste in music and despite the crying bride, that groom’s joy is still contagious, even on low quality video sixteen years later. I sat in my living room with Tigger and the four greatest gifts of our marriage, overwhelmed at the mystery and miracle of it all.
Here we are. Together like it was always meant to be. Surrounded, pushed down, filled up, and overflowing with the blessings of love bigger than the sum of us.
“I’m good for forever now,” I said some years ago. “I’m glad you stuck with me.”
“It’s been worth it. I’m glad you said yes,” he said. “And by the way, I’ve got no regrets, but you were right. I had no idea what I was getting into.”