25.

Twenty-five years.  A quarter century.  A quarter century of living with the same human being.  Sharing the same house, the same dreams.  Some dreams became realized, others gave way to crippling reality.  And some went away when they knew they were no longer wanted.

Twenty-five years of watching you laugh.  Watching you cry.  Watching you chew.  Watching you grow.  Watching you bend.  Watching you come damn near breaking.  Watching you blow the leaves off the driveway.  Watching you hold our new baby boy.  Watching you fall in love with our new baby girl.

Twenty-five years of struggling, twenty-five years of succeeding, twenty-five years of feeling incredibly overwhelmed at times, twenty-five years of knowing we were overwhelmingly blessed.

Twenty-five years of wondering why you have to hang your clothes a certain way.  Twenty-five years of being thankful you hang up your clothes.

Twenty-five years ago, I wasn’t checking the mirror for gray hair and wondering if I could go another week without a color retouch.  I fit into single-digit sizes.  I read Brides Magazine and Southern Living and planned out my life with you.   I cooked beef bourguignon only to find you hated wine in your food.  I learned that a simple yellow cake with chocolate icing would put a smile on your face that rivaled that of a child.  I learned what a soft spot you have for children and animals.  I learned how handy you were and thanked the mechanical gods above that I’d never have to fret over fixing the car or rewiring a lamp.

Twenty-five years ago, you held me as I cried when my dad, at 47, was suddenly taken from me without warning.  Younger than you are now.  Twenty-five years ago I knew you’d be there to hold me every time my heart broke.

Twenty-five years ago today, I married you.

Happy anniversary.

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