"So why am I in your wedding pictures? None of the kids in my class were in their parent's wedding?"
" I don't know. I guess you were just lucky."
- A recent conversation between Arlo and me on the drive home from school. Once he finally inquired about our wedding. An event he, as a ten month old, was there to witness. Dressed to the nines in his little linen romper and stiff white baby shoes. A fact I was never the least bit ashamed of. But found it funny that at nearly nine years old he might finally wonder about it.
Truth is, Mike and I dated for nine years before marrying. It was not a shotgun wedding by any means. Actually, I had never been dead set on being married in the first place. But I can remember clearly when that all changed. I was about five months pregnant, and showing. Working the morning shift at Starbucks where I recall how awful it was seeing a very nice man staring pitifully down at my bare ring finger, in such a state. I didn't like the feeling. Not at all. I was 25 and well loved but that bare finger seemed to suggest another story. I decided then that maybe it did bother me. To be pregnant and unwed. Shortly after Mike proposed, crouched in a seaside cave holding a little black box.
And yet ironically, all these years later, my legal name remains unchanged, and the ring that came tucked in that little box, that I love so dearly I have actually never worn on a regular basis. My bare fingers just as confident without it. But I still smile, to this day, remembering the sad look on that poor man's face. And my heart sinking at the sight of his pity, thinking I was unspoken for or neglected in that snug green apron. Blooming belly, black grinds in my finger nails, Making coffee for strangers at 5am.
Last month (how is it October already?) we celebrated our anniversary. 8 years married. 16 as a couple.
We spent one night in Palm Springs, where we showed up on the wrong night, after failing to pawn off three of the four boys, so It wasn't exactly the romantic getaway he had hoped for. Or quiet, or even mildly relaxing taking into account the expected amounts of fits, and frustration that accompany such a thing. But, there WAS all day swimming, and 108 degree dry desert temps, and good food, and a few drinks and a long night's rest. As well as one frightful accident on a bike newly stripped of it's training wheels that ended with a bloody hand and a near (pre breakfast) trip to the local ER.
Another year, another story. Another close call.
To which we've learned to laugh about at the end of the day. Toasting everything that's come and gone between us these past several years as husband and wife. And to all that still stands ahead.
To new dreams and fresh disappointments.