This year Hubby and I passed our 17th anniversary Test of Marital Bliss, more or less devoted, mostly minus the bliss.
While at first blush this post might read like something of a roast of us both, I mean it actually to be a tribute to us both, to our loving growth, as well as a bit of advice to newlyweds, who will most certainly ignore it, bless their young hearts.
“Never go to bed angry,” was my grandfather’s advice, at my first wedding. That marriage lasted just shy of five years. While I did learn some great life lessons from Grandpa, that particular one proved pretty useless.
I’d rewrite it now as something close to the exact opposite: Never try to resolve any issue while angry. What better way to overcome your anger? A good night’s sleep.
My second attempt at marital bliss showed far more potential immediately. I’ve told this story of Hubby and I many times before, because it’s a great story. When he first proposed to me, in a tent at Exit Glacier in Alaska, we had just high-tailed it out of a precarious and perhaps even dangerous situation in the wee hours of the morning from the tourist boat where he’d been working for nearly a decade previously and had invited me to join him that summer season.
My presence there and his devotion to me was apparently causing a serious rift between him and his good friend/employer.
We found ourselves sneaking off the boat pre-dawn, strategically, while everyone else was out, because Hubby had lost all confidence in his boss’ professionalism and maybe even his sanity after an extremely inappropriate altercation the night before.
It reads more like fiction than real life, I do realize. But, isn’t that often how life goes? As we pulled out of Prince William Sound in the compact rental car stuffed with the duffel bags of all his possessions, we drove straight into a glorious and totally unexpected rainbow. Cross my heart, no exaggeration at all, across the valley as the sun rose above the mountain pass was the most gorgeous rainbow I’d ever witnessed.
I barked and awed and carried on enthusiastically to a mostly apprehensive man trying to hold it together during this incredibly bold and unprecedented move.
How could it not be auspicious, a wonderful omen, I raved, on and on?! After all, it was the most exquisite rainbow I’d ever seen. How could that be totally by chance?!
That is, until a few days ago.
On my birthday, as Hubby was flying offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, as he’s been doing for about a decade now, he took this shot from his helicopter.
Gorgeous, auspicious, but, he didn’t even think to send it to me at the time. That’s the real point of this post.
He took this shot because he knew I’d love it, that’s for sure. He’s not the synchronicity believer that I am, he thinks celebrating birthdays is for kids and he’s not nearly as impressed with rainbows as I am, clearly. I doubt he shared this shot with his offshore crew, because I doubt there are any among them who are so eager to gush over rainbows in the Gulf.
I requested ages ago he take more photos while offshore, but I get it, he’s got a job to do out there, he’s not a tourist, and no one’s paying him to take photos.
But a couple of days ago when I asked if he had more good photos, he sent this one. I laughed out loud! I said, REAL photos please! NOT fake unicorn CGI gonna-fool-my-wife type photos! How dare you make fun of my rainbow love!
He swore up and down it’s real and totally un-retouched. And I gazed at it, truly amazed, stunned, in true AWE for at least a solid minute.
Then I said: “Oh My God! How on earth could you have not sent me this photo on my birthday, since it says right there that’s when you took it?!”
He looked at me like a deer in highlights for an extended moment, until I laughed. I shook my head, rolled my eyes, and laughed some more.
This was exactly the sort of thing, early in our marriage, that would’ve set me off. Proof, right there, front and center, of his thoughtlessness and insensitivity! Oh and how I felt that enticing tug of self-righteousness, don’t get me wrong!
But the wisdom of 19 years of loving this man, 17 years in wedlock-down, threw me, suddenly and unequivocally, into what I think is a State of Atlas Shrugs. She said, “So you got it a week late, and in a totally off-hand manner, but still, you got it. You really gonna cause a stink about that?”
And the still small voice of Wisdom replied, “No, ma’am!”
And the Reason of the middle-aged woman, now a Devoted Gardener for a decade, well accustomed to planting seeds three times before the right time strikes, realized the greater truth in that moment, beyond the banal ‘perfect’ timing desires of us mere mortals: Nature has a timetable that doesn’t match your Personal or Man-made calendar.
And, better late than never!