The Twenty-Five Year Old Tree Trunk
This past August marked a huge milestone for me …I celebrated 25 years of marriage. You may have noticed that I said ‘huge milestone for me’, and that ‘I celebrated’. Believe me, it’s not that I’m unaware that there is another key person included in this celebration. It’s just that I went into a little bit of shock at the fact that I’d actually made it. Besides, after 25 years, I’m allowed just a little bit of self-centeredness.
On my anniversary I posted pictures of my wedding day on social media, marveling at the innocent looks of love and promise on our faces. But when all the congratulatory remarks began pouring in about us being the ‘perfect couple’ and ‘role models’, I felt like a fraud. Truth is, we are far from the perfect couple. 25 years have not been easy. 25 years have not provided the smooth, romantic road that the couple in those pictures expected. If anything, we went completely off-road, into the crags and ditches of undiscovered territory. There were times that we did find our way back onto the smooth roads, and we relaxed into the comfort of easy cruising for a while….and then suddenly, out from left field, something lodged into our spokes and off we went again, hanging on for dear life as we careened down bumpy, treacherous slopes.
Makes you think, right? If it’s worth it - all those bumps and scrapes. Well, let me just say this - my youngest daughter asked me on our anniversary when the moment was that I had felt the most ‘in love with Daddy’. I thought for a while, searching for an honest answer, and I came up with this…
that moment I began walking up the aisle and spotted him at the altar looking as nervous as I was
that moment I saw him staring down at our first child with wonder and deep, deep love
those mornings when he bathed our first baby every day before he went to work because I was too afraid to
those days when he had to drive across the island for work and he took me along, seeing us contentedly together in the car for hours and hours
those times when money was tight and he had to work extra hard and he never once complained
at every PTA meeting and school concert he attends
when he hugs our children as if he’s going to burst with love
when he makes me think I’m the most beautiful woman in the world
the times he makes me laugh till I can’t catch my breath
every morning that he brings me coffee without me having to ask
those days that he invites me for lunch for no special reason
when he laughs and the corners of his eyes crinkle in the most beautiful way
when we look at each other in public and crack up at something without either of us having to speak
when I am too meek in dealing with a situation and he shows me how to toughen up
when he is too rough in dealing with a situation and he listens when I show him how to soften his approach
on those family vacations when we enjoy our children’s company and realize that we are all really and truly best friends
After a while, I noticed that my daughter had gotten bored with my list. I understood – she is young, and her view of marriage is the fairytale one that I had, that most of us have, at a young age. My list was just not in keeping with her dream of love exploding like fireworks at a significant, single moment in time. But this is one time that I hoped I’d broken her bubble. I want my children to understand that being ‘in love’ is not about one special moment in time. Unfortunately, being ‘in love’ sometimes means being ‘out love’. They need to understand that when it is time to make that commitment of marriage, the ‘in love’ feeling may come and go, but ‘love’ ...‘love’ does not fade. Love is like the rope tied around the young tree, and as the trunk matures, it grows over the rope, the bark enveloping it as part of its core. That is marriage – the ups and downs, the smooth rides, the bumpy roads …they are all part of that trunk becoming tough and hard and sealing that rope deep inside.
Many times we post the happy, laughing, loving pictures on social media, and we truly celebrate those blessed moments. But it is important to know that between those moments sometimes come the sadness, the frustration, the hard work. Between those moments we tighten our ropes and allow the bark to toughen around it. It is then that we can sit back on the smooth roads, look at each other and say, ‘Wow! Did we really just make it through all of that?!’
And when you see those years wracking up, why not be like me and give yourself a nice big pat on the back?
YOU MAY LIKE THESE