Wednesday, October 8, 2014

An Anniversary

"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.


  1. My daughter asked me the same thing about a year ago.
    And I can also remember being a little embarrassed of my ringless finger, and yet, I have spent most of our ten years of marriage ringless. It clearly must just be the knowing.
    Happiest anniversary.

  2. When I was pregnant with my daughter, my swollen fingers forced me to not wear my band early on. I remember those same looks you received. A few times I felt the urge to explain my situation, but never did. My husband never wears his ring and no one looks at him with looks of pitty when he is out with one of the kids alone. Society is so hard on us gals.
    Happy anniversary to you two. We just celebrated 5 years of marriage and 10ish years together. Here's to many more!

  3. Happy Anniversary. I just celebrated my 12th and we're going on 19 yrs together. Fun stuff happens in that time of growing up and raising littles. Love your story and that last line is classic.

  4. Love this! Happy anniversary to you both and love that last line because as much as life is full of joy, it, too, is chock full of disappointment. I guess the key, in our 17 years together, is finding the humor, the perspective, and the grit to accept and move on from the disappointments or just plain embrace them. Funny, I was stung by a bee yesterday on my ring finger and the swelling was so bad, there was nothing I wanted more to do than cut that damn wedding ring off my finger! :) Perspective, I guess. Love your writing, Jessica. :)

  5. Vacation with kids should have it's own name because when I think of vacation I envision relaxation. As we know kids and relaxation do not go together :) I'm glad you guys went anyway and made the best of it. Sometimes that's the only choice. Happy Anniversary!

    I was pregnant with number 2 at our wedding :) People always looked to see if I a ring and as much as I tried to not let it bother me, it did. Of course, I was pregnant at 19 and probably looked younger than that so...I kinda understand :)

  6. "To new dreams and fresh disappointments..." lol
    Isn't that the truth! Bless you 4 saying it like it is :)

  7. I found out three weeks before my wedding that I was expecting. The looks I got being 21 and pregnant were ridiculous. I didn't start wearing my wedding ring until more recently because it was never about what anyone else thought.

    It's funny how the older you grow the ring of people whose opinions you care about grows smaller and smaller.

    Happy anniversary!

  8. My story is so similar! Andrew and I were together for 8 years before we finally got married (much to the relief of both of our families), I was 5 months pregnant with Milo and remember the same feeling, of people thinking I was alone and unwed, pregnant and doomed. So funny how obsolete the whole thing is, yet I still felt the sting. We often point out that Milo was growing within me when we said our vows, that I could feel him kicking during the whole reception. I love your explanation: I guess you were lucky.