I struggle so much with these Hallmark holidays.
The messages you get in the ads, the commercials and shows on TV, can set you up for one of two things … either depression, because your relationship is so unlike the Shmoopie couples (obscure Seinfeld reference) whose fairytale love bombards you from every commercial angle, or fraud, as you try to emulate the Shmoopies on this day of mandatory romance.
I fall for both.
There comes a time when you look around and realize you have been with the same person for so long, you can barely remember The Before. It has been 25 years of marriage and – before that – 10 years of prolonged courtship. (The courtship dance wasn’t a smooth, graceful waltz either. It was more like a mosh pit.) And yes, it’s a bit daunting to acknowledge that 35 years of a 55-year life has been spent with one partner.
Twenty-five years of marriage can include a lot of emotional blunt force trauma. Some of it is bad luck. Some of it is self-inflicted. Much of it revolves around the uncertain art of parenting. So much of it is being too busy, too tired, and sometimes too self-absorbed to tend to the regular gardening a relationship needs to keep growing. (Yes, fans … We’re back to lawn care!) You forget to fertilize. The weeds get so high they block out the sun. And on those rare occasions when you remember to water, it just flows over the hardened earth and right out to the gutter.
I’m guilty in this. I’ll admit that much.
But one thing is crystal-clear despite all the disappointments, the brown spots on our weathered relationship, and those annoying Shmoopies. I would not have of THIS without HER.
She was the one who convinced me we could make it, when many who knew us in The Before probably thought otherwise. She was the one who pushed me to be someone of whom I could be proud. She was one who gave me the gifts of three sons I can not see myself without. When I faltered, she forgave me (once the smoke cleared). Whenever I needed her, she was there for me.
I can only hope she thinks the same of me.
Thank you, Carol, for EVERYTHING!
And I hope you aren’t angry with me once you see this, because …
I still love you!
(And if you see a Shmoopie today, please give ’em a smack for me!)