Hubs and I are very busy over here at our house, celebrating our forty-eight hours of anniversary. I know that it’s rather unfair for the rest of the married world, but Hubs and I actually have TWO anniversaries, on back-to-back days.
It’s because on July 1st, nineteen entire years ago, we set up rented, white chairs outside on the lawn, invited some folks to sit in those chairs, and asked a pastor and a caterer to show up. And then I wore a white gown that wasn’t so much a DRESS as it was SLEEVES. My dad escorted my sleeves and me down the aisle… Hubs and his fancy, black tux tails met us at the end of that aisle, beneath the arch… we promised to love one another and NEVER, EVER FIGHT ABOUT HOW THE BATH TOWELS ARE FOLDED… and then we drove off into the sunset.
And then, Hubs and I have July 2nd, because Sister and Brother (dressed in their black cocktail dress and black tux, respectively), signed their names as intelligent witnesses to a document on which the pastor had written the WRONG DATE, missing it by a single day. And because that document was signed and filed, it became a legal part of history. This means that in all things related to the Social Security Office and the DMV and All Things Adoption Related When It Comes To Filling Out Legal Paperwork to Acquire a Baby, the world believes that we were married a day later than we really were.
Honestly, it’s a gift that Sister and Brother gave to us, because FORTY-EIGHT HOURS OF ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS, PEOPLE! And why would we want to spend countless hours explaining to people behind desks that we weren’t really married on the second, but my sister and Hubs’ brother were too enamored by the grandeur of the sleeves on my dress and the chicken salad on their plates, and they completely missed the fact that… WRONG DATE, Y’ALL… so that we could pay some refiling fees and LEGALLY join the rest of the married people who only have one anniversary day in the course of a year?
We prefer to keep the celebration going.
You should also note that his fresh haircut was a whole new style for him, because he’d completely cut off the permed mullet he’d been wearing the week before. I think Hubs just had this vision show up on the front doorstep of his mind that said, “I’m getting married on Saturday; I think it’s time to let the mullet and the Big Johnson T-shirts go.”
I’m sure y’all can understand why I was so enamored with him. Hubs has always had, from a very early age, a fantastic sense of style when it comes to his hair. He’d even go so far as to primp it up a little for a good Instamatic camera shot.
Of course, to be fair, I have to show you that my own sense of style wasn’t just limited to sleeves the size of Buicks. I could rock the I SLEPT IN BRAIDS LAST NIGHT look better than even Olivia Newton John could have done.
Not to mention very high-waisted, acid-washed jeans.
Clearly, we were meant to be together.
But I think it takes more than just looking good to make a marriage work. Oh, the acid-washed jeans that come clear above your belly button might have been something worth grinning about in 1995, but eventually the styles change and you realize that your husband has evolved into a man who will only wear Carhartt jeans, period, period, and another BIG FAT BLACK PERIOD TO END THE SENTENCE.
I watched Hubs the other morning, hiding beneath the quilt on our bed with Thing 2. They were laughing outrageously together, and I’m fairly certain that crackers were being eaten in the bed.
And that isn’t something I ever really thought about back in 1995, when I held Hubs’ hand and whispered, “I like your mullet.” Because when you’re busy admiring the handsomeness of a fellow, you sometimes don’t stop to think about the questions that you should be thinking about.
Will he hide under a quilt and eat crackers with our two-year-old at the end of a long day of work?
Will he lay on the hardwood floor for countless hours and build enormous structures out of Lego bricks with our firstborn son?
Will he work hard for us?
Will he kill big spiders for us?
Will he take us to church and teach our children to pray before we eat?
Will he squeeze my hand when the spinal doesn’t work during a C-section and beg the anesthesiologist to PLEASE DO SOMETHING FOR HER, when I let him know that I can FEEL ALL THE CUTTING, and also I DON’T WANT TO HAVE THIS BABY NOW, BECAUSE IT HURTS TOO BADLY!!
Will he hold my hand when a doctor tells us in a hospital room that I really do need to be flown to a bigger and better hospital, seeing as how I have a two-foot-long blood clot running down my leg?
And will he sit up with me in the ICU room of the next hospital we entered that night, via the small, expensive, private flight-for-life jet, and stay awake all night long, when I whisper to him that I’m scared, and I don’t want to be alone really?
Will he whisper into a baby’s ear in the middle of the night, while he’s rocking him, how much he loves him?
And will he also whisper to that baby how VERY MUCH WANTED he was?
Will he eat Hamburger Helper without complaining?
Will he fold the bath towels properly?
Honestly, all of those questions can be answered with a big YES, except for that last one.
The biggest fight Hubs and I have ever had happened over bath towels that had been folded wrong, while I was seven months pregnant. It’s because if our bath towels were folded into thirds, I could fit two stacks of them, side-by-side, in our linen closet. If they were folded in half… in one giant square… they wouldn’t fit nicely beside one another at all. I had very specific rules for how towels should be folded, because I think somewhere in the middle of the book of Proverbs it says, “Better to be a wise man and fold the bath linens in thirds, than in halves, like the foolish man does.” While I was on bed rest with my pregnancy with the boy, Hubs, BLESS HIS HEART, made giant squares out of our freshly-laundered towels. The pregnant hormones in my body, and the fact that I looked like I was about to birth a baby blue whale, instead of a seven-and-a-half-pound baby boy, and the fact that I was so swollen and distorted that I no longer had cheekbones that could be either felt or seen, worked as The Devil’s Trifecta for a Good Fight.
We survived that fight, people. We didn’t wind up in divorce court, claiming IRRECONCILABLE TOWEL-FOLDING DIFFERENCES. But we learned that when you’re young and newly-married, you come into a marriage with preconceived notions about how it’s going to be. Sometimes young married couples think that marriage will be nothing but rainbows and fat paychecks and grilled fillets every evening for dinner, and that they’ll simply kiss every day and never disagree over anything, especially FULL-SIZED BATH TOWELS, AND THEIR SHAPE ON THE CLOSET SHELF. The truth is, you don’t ever really know how it’s going to be when you first kiss under the arch and begin to share a last name, but I guarantee you that marriage is going to come with a few cloudy days, and days when you eat pancakes for supper, even though one of you doesn’t really care for pancakes, and one of you will cry over how the towels look. You have to be willing to change… to cut the mullet… to grow up… and to realize that when you shut the door to your linen closet, no one will ever seen how your towels are folded.
To this day, nineteen years after we said, “I do,” one of us folds towels in thirds… and one of us does not.
And that’s okay.
Happy nineteen years, Hubs. And happy forty-eight entire hours of celebrating it. I can honestly say that I would STILL choose you all over again, but I would probably question those high-waisted, acid-washed jeans and actually interview you on critical life questions — especially what your final grade was in Towel Folding 101 — before I considered seeing that first movie with you.
I love you.