seven years and then some

Yesterday Mike and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary.  I listened to our wedding song ("By my Side" by Ben Harper, the version with the organ, of course) several times and smiled, eyes closed, as it brought back the feelings, sights, and sounds of our wedding day.  I could hear the cello and violin playing "Can't Help Falling in Love with You" as I walked down the aisle (the grass in Mike's parent's back yard) and I could feel the hot sun on my face.

We met our freshman year in college (we lived across the hall from each other in our freshman dorm) and we made pretty short work of getting together.  I remember finals week being the time we decided that yep, we were both pretty much in it.  Not the most convenient time to start a new romance, really.  Papers were typed way into the wee hours of the morning and handed in in the nick of time.  Studying wasn't as much fun as kissing.  You know.  Young love and all that jazz.

That puts us at almost fourteen years together, minus a brief stint during our senior year.  I'm 31 years old and so that feels like a pretty darn long time.  It has been, of course, full of ups and downs like anyone else's fourteen year period of anything might be.  But standing out most in my mind are the ups.  The joys and adventures and laughing and knowing and loving and learning.  Together.  And apart when necessary.

The weekend before last we went up to West Virginia for a wedding.  Mike actually officiated the wedding, what with the "power vested in him by the state of West Virginia" via the, um, internet.  The wedding was, probably obviously, one of a good friend.  Friends.  They pretty much left the ceremony up to Mike.  I dug out the sample vows and ceremonies that we used to create ours, along with copies of the poem a friend of mine read and the Traditional Irish Blessing that Mike's father read, and he brought it all along in a neat little folder.

Their ceremony, it turned out, was basically ours with different names.  Same poem read, and a friend of theirs sang part of the Irish Blessing.  I wasn't bothered by that at all.  After all, we hadn't come up with the things we used, not most of it anyway.  We made it our own, and I loved it.  I love it.  But I was honored, if anything, by their decision to just kind of use what was at hand with very little amending.  Add to that the fact that it was Mike up there, officiating, and only a week plus a few days shy of our own anniversary, and it was pretty moving for me.  I had my eyes closed for part of it, trying to actually hear the words he spoke as they sang themselves right into my ears....  Claire noticed and asked "what's wrong, mama?"  "Nothing's wrong, baby.  Nothing at all."

We made eye contact once or twice during the ceremony and I could feel this wonderful, grand thing moving between us.  An acknowledgement of sorts.  A respectful nod to all that was stirred up by such a small act.

Yesterday we (the three of us) ate lunch out in Asheville.  The food was great and after we got back home we spent most of the day as we would any other.  Mike was tired after having undergone a small medical procedure and so he napped while Claire and I played outside and went grocery shopping.  Boring everyday stuff.  I woke him up to help me get out the big ladder so that I could rescue a tiny (as in only a couple days old) baby phoebe who somehow ended up dangling by one tiny little birdy toe (claw?) from a piece of moss in the nest more than 20 feet up, at the eave of our roof.  I am not a fan of ladders, not that high, but this little thing was crying so loud and the sound was awful.  I climbed up and carefully pulled it's foot loose and placed it back in the nest.  All is well.  I made dinner, a recipe I'd pulled from a magazine forever ago and had saved for an 'occasion'.  Peppered pork and pears, made with local pork, leeks, pears, white wine and a bit of this and that.  Egg noodles.  A slightly fancier than usual salad.  Flowers (a gorgeous bouquet from our yard, I'll have you know).  A candle.

The candle (along with the small gift and card I'd set out on his chair) lead Claire to believe that it must have been Mike's birthday.  And so she sang to him, for quite some time, loud and proud, and she handed him a 'cake' (an empty wooden brie wheel).  It was quite cute.  He got it on video.  Handy little iphone.

And that was that.  It was a lovely day because it was ours, and it was lovely because it was simple.  I've learned of course that marriage is not always easy, but I do believe if two people can make it seven years and then some (or fourteen years and then some, depending on how you look at it), they can probably make it to forever.

Ben Harper's "By My Side":

Don't you get ahead of me

And I won't leave you behind
If you get unhappy
Show me a sign

There's no love like lost love

No pain like a broken heart
There's no love like you and me
And no loss like us apart

Promises promise is
Only a word
And when softly spoken
Is never heard

And a heart

Is not a stone
And is fragile
When alone

By my side

By my side
Won't you be by my side
By my side
By my side
Won't you be by my side

My care for you

Is from the ground up to the sky
It's over under up above
Down below and to the side
No use in pretending
No use in saving face
My love is never ending
You are my saving grace

By my side

By my side
Won't you be by my side
By my side
By my side
Won't you be by my side


  1. aw...i'm sitting here, it's way too late, i should be in bed, but now i'm sniffling and grinning, thinking about the two of you - whoever you are out there! :) your stories - your story is lovely. it ain't always easy. there's a lot of mundane and boring and there's a lot of determination and will and hopefully a lot of laughter and joy. thanks for sharing.

    and also, i should add, just because i always do: byron and i met our first year in college too. we've been together for 17 years (married for 12) which means we are just a few years older than you!

    1. thanks for your sweet comment, Nichole. It's such a balancing act, isn't it? Your own personal needs, the needs of your partner, of the partnership, and now the needs of a child..... I think we (most people that is) are so spoiled these days in so many ways in regards to instant gratification and being used to the idea of being able to farm things out to be fixed if anything goes wrong. Ever. With most anything. Obviously, most marriages are full of neither constant instant gratification or a warranty that allows us to have things easily fixed when something goes wrong. It's damn hard work sometimes!

      I thought we were probably right around the same age. I'm telling you, one of these days..... one of us will find ourselves in the other's neck of the woods.

  2. beautiful beautiful! enjoyed reading your story.

    happy many more years ahead to you both!


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