7,305 Days

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On August 17th, 1996, the wedding videographer pulls me aside, asks if I’d like to record a few words to my future husband. An English teacher and aspiring writer, I am confident; but I overdo it, trying hard to win at romance. I gush some flowery lines I no longer remember. Watching the video for the first time, I await his message to me. He appears on screen wearing a tuxedo and an uncomfortable grin.

His laughter’s an apology.

“See you at the church,” he says.

The Monday after our wedding, he leaves for two weeks to train for a new job. There will be no honeymoon. Instead we use what money we’ve scraped together for a down payment on a house. We’ll take a trip on our one-year anniversary, we say. Three months later, two lines appear on the EPT stick and we spend our first anniversary at home with our son.

We decide it’s a worthy trade.

Enter the rollercoaster. A baby girl. One new house. Several job changes. We get a dog. There are illnesses, births, deaths. Friendships ebb and flow. Couples we love get divorced. We seek joy and have fights. Extend grace to each other in a thousand small ways and a few ways so big they could’ve been impossible.

The masks are down then, our bad habits unearthed. But the people we’re becoming remain okay with each other. I try to stop nagging him for leaving the television and lights on but I don’t stop nagging and he puts up with it. He puts up with my constant talking, too. talktalktalk. And my anxieties. The fact that I’d like to be spontaneous but I’m not.

We enjoy HGTV and wine tasting. We’re a cliche. We are unique.

We get another dog.

We persevere.

For our 15th anniversary we consider Hawaii. Maybe we’ll renew our vows. Maybe we’ll take the kids. But we don’t fly to Hawaii and so it goes. There is always some other thing demanding our time and money. And as it turns out, we don’t need jewelry, vacations or grand gestures. We do need a new washing machine. We want another dog. We hope to send our kids to college.

A glass of wine together in the backyard is good.

This silver lining emerges alongside the truth that we’ll never be any younger than we are: the quiet certainty we are it for each other. Against all odds and statistics warning otherwise, I’m sure in a way I couldn’t be when I was 27. I’ll take the encroaching grays and wrinkles in exchange for such great comfort. It is everything. I wish everyone were this lucky to have a love so sure.

I know some aren’t.

Our 20th anniversary approaches and we choose (again) not to spend money on gifts. On a sunny Saturday morning, with no plan in place, we drive to Santa Ynez. Los Olivos. Solvang. In these lovely places we wine taste and laugh. We talk about the future and about our past, marveling at our great fortune. Later, we find the last available hotel room in nearby Buellton.

The window overlooks a freeway entrance and exit. It’s not fancy. I am glad.

Finally, after 7,305 days, we arrive here. August 17th, 2016. As of this morning, I’ve been waking up beside this good man for twenty years. And on the last morning—on my last morning—I plan to wake up this way too.

To Bill who is my favorite:

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

See you at the church.

Thank you.

Thank you.

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16 thoughts on “7,305 Days

  1. This is perfect, just perfect. Happy anniversary!

  2. This is so, so beautiful, Julie. It brings tears – the happy kind. You truly are so lucky – in life and in love and I couldn’t be more glad. Happy anniversary.

    xoxo

  3. Bailey

    Happy anniversary to you and your husband! This is great. My husband and I are approaching 9 years and we still haven’t went on a honeymoon and probably won’t anytime soon. We were married on Labor Day weekend so we at least had 4 days off school. Stuff always comes up but we also have some pretty marvelous reasons why we haven’t taken that big vacation yet.

  4. Diane

    Happy anniversary to two of our most favorite people. I read it once through silently and then aloud to Phil, tears were in both our eyes. We love you both truly, madly, deeply!

  5. nannyk

    I love you both SO much and am fiercely proud of the small & big ways you love each other….the sacrifices you’ve made and never really viewed as sacrifices, but compromises. The certainty with which you love on another is priceless. <3

  6. Kay Moir

    Many congratulations on the first twenty years of marriage!!

  7. Absolutely, gorgeously sublime.

    OOOOOO, I love how you write so damn much.

    And the dude’s cute, too.

    Keep him! x

  8. Wishing you the happiest of days, and years … filled with so many beautiful memories dear friend. Your life has been a rollercoaster these last few years giving perspective to what truly matters. I am glad, so very glad for your lovely milestone – enjoy each and every moment.

  9. This is so beautiful. Happy Anniversary to you, lovely Julie, and your favorite.
    xo

  10. Okay I am surrounded by family right now and trying unsuccessfully not to bawl my eyes out. Love the non-fancy you so very very much.

  11. Love Love Love this tribute! I chuckle at you being the talktalktalk side of the relationship, while your husband, strong and silent, simply says “See you at the Church.” That’s so great. You complement each other beautifully. My husband and I celebrated our 20th last October. Now that I think about it, I don’t even remember what we did to celebrate it! Isn’t that awful? I guess we’re waiting until our 25th to do something “Big.” Right now, we’re still in the trenches. Happy Happy Anniversary!

  12. Awwwwwwwwwwww

    Somehow, Duffy & I managed a honeymoon. And even an anniversary trip. But I get how life gets in the way. And how those little bumps in the road are always worth the trade.

  13. Maureen

    Felt as though I was reading a beautiful love story. You are both so very lucky to have each other.
    Happy Anniversary with wishes for many more amazing years together in your love story.

    Love,
    Mo

  14. Hi Julie! I loved this so much! Your words flow so perfectly together. Wishing you a very Happy Anniversary! Xoxos

  15. This is so lovely in its understatement and so powerful in its subtlety. You have a gift and it’s not just your husband. The inner comfort you share isn’t something that anyone can buy or take a vacation to see. You’ve earned that through your good deeds and perseverance. Happy anniversary and I wish you 200 more!

  16. That last line made me teary. What a great post and a great couple. Happy 20th!

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