Be wary. This will be long since said marriage has many high points.
9 years ago today the flower girl rolled backwards down the stairs while my beloved and I exchanged our wedding vows.
Anniversary 1: We celebrated in our Lilliputian Atlanta shoebox of an apartment. He fixed filet with cognac and mustard sauce and we ate year old, thawed wedding cake that was surprisingly delicious. My sister called us from Alabama in tears because her dog had suffered a critical spinal injury that ended up putting her in debt for quite some time. That boy I married was not one bit perturbed at having his delicious and romantic dinner interrupted by the crisis since he gets that our dogs enjoy a status damn near our actual genetic progeny, at least in my family.
After Year One I don't remember any specific anniversary, just that we always say "Happy Anniversary" to each other. I can't tell you how grateful I am for this. Neither one of us feels the pressure to make EVERY ONE just as special as our wedding day. We aren't always observant of birthdays or Mother's or Father's Day, either. I had the good fortune (or wisdom) to marry a man who thinks like I do. It's the sentiment and the occasional big gesture that count. You can't pull off the big gestures with regularity. But there have been a couple of knockouts during our relationship and the momentum wave carries you a long way.
First Christmas (dating, not married): Now Dear Hubby wrangled a series of three hardbacks by a man named Ferrol Sams (Run With the Horsemen, The Whisper of the River, and When All the World Was Young) for me. Autographed to me, complete with references to each book in the autograph, by the author. It were truly a fortuitous series of events that led to this coups but Damn! It was perfect. The books are universally loved by my family and left my sister's much wealthier lawyer boyfriend baffled at how nobody, including my sister, was impressed with his gift to her of half carat diamond earrings. That was the year she came up with the following axiom:
"You can spend a lot of money on a gift or a lot of thought. If you don't spend a lot of thought, you'd better spend a lot of money."
Eventually, she fired the lawyer boyfriend with lots of money and I married the student boyfriend without any. She was on to something with that observation.
After we'd been married a couple of years, That Boy and I took an amazing trip to Chicago for me to run the marathon there. Great food. One of the best trips I have ever taken. My mom went with us and since everybody loves my mom, including That Boy, it didn't cramp our style at all. In fact, it was even more fun.
He bought tickets to the Alabama vs. Tennessee game for my birthday that same year. Home game for my cherished Crimson Tide. The outcome was mixed. It was two weeks after the trip to Chicago and you know what they say about distance running and fertility. Well, I took a chance that weekend. The football game had four overtimes with the forces of evil finally taking the edge to give Tennessee the win.
Shortly after that trip, I fixed rack of lamb and bought a weensy bottle of champagne for us to tell him we were expecting for the first time. He was thrilled, I was terrified.
One two year old boy and some crazy medical complications later, I miscarried twins. We were disappointed but okay.
A couple of months later I bought a nice Pinot and fixed rack of lamb again, but I had to kick his mother out of the house after dinner to achieve the same state of expectancy the second time. That one stuck.
Shortly after the night I had to kick my mother-in-law out, my now husband turned 40. He celebrated his birthday surrounded by friends and family at the most ridiculously deluxe lakehouse to grace the southeastern US. It had an elevator. In addition to the heated pool (late November birthday), hot tub, fire pit, full size keg refrigerator, pool table, pinball machine, piano, and two kitchens, everyone had their own bathroom. A couple of people bought plane tickets to attend.
Each guest received their own copy of the cookbook to which they had all contributed recipes, stories, and photos. (My husband is a bang-up cook.) There were commemorative cooking aprons, as well. The keg refrigerator housed an actual keg and many, including the birthday boy, awoke on Saturday with substantial hangovers from any of a number of liquors including single malt scotch that populated the full bar. We had Italian one night and friggin' awesome barbeque the next, although I was too nauseated to enjoy either since I was pregnant with baby number two at the time. It was a surprise party and that boy I married had no idea until I got him there on Friday night under false pretense. The entire shindig represented a nearly a year of planning and the ultimate pinnacle of my creative forces.
Tonight we had dinner with our five year old boy and two year old little girl who both agree their dad is the fun one. Mom is kind of scary. We had chicken and dumplings. True to form, the Princess wore more than she ate. But That Boy I Married picked up a bottle of champagne on the way home so the chicken and dumplings seemed a little less Middle America boring than usual. And he also stopped at Target and bought me the softest blanket ever. EVER. I'm always cold.
I'm a lucky, lucky woman.