It’s a special day at the ranch and as I shuffle around the house, picking up dishes, folding socks, sending out emails and generally getting things accomplished, I thought I would stop for a second to remember something.
Because on a day much like today, exactly four years ago, just down the road under a 100 year old oak tree, I married the man who belongs to the socks folded up on the couch. And we made plans to stay together as long as that oak tree has lived.
And this anniversary, I decided, is a little more special than the rest. I know four years is lame to most…I don’t even think there is a special traditional gift for it (like paper or plastic or mud even), but I like it. I like four years.
Because here we sit, all married and unsettled with our things and ideas and love scattered every which way around us, but we are right down the road. We are breathing the air and scrubbing the dishes and mowing (or not mowing) the lawn right down the road from where I said “I guess so” when he proposed and we said, “Well, I guess we do!” in our fancy clothes. And we just went from there.
Little does anyone know the whirlwind that ensues after that blessed day, but here we are, right back where we started, in the first house we came home to as a married couple. So I can’t help but think of that first year of marriage–when husband was working crazy shifts at the top of an oil derrick and I was on the road in my Chevy Lumina for weeks at a time, singing for my supper. Our paths crossed only to kiss one another goodbye and the two newest newlyweds lived out marital bliss hundreds of miles apart.
So I wanted to share this piece I wrote during that first year because I feel like it sums up the decision to grab our bags and make a new path. It reminds me of being so far away from him, off into my own adventure, and hearing his calm voice over the phone. I reminds me of missing him and closing my eyes and trying to recreate the man I knew—the laugh lines around his eyes, the ruffled hair, the scruffy face and faded t-shirt.
It reminds me of the separation that ebbed and flowed throughout the following couple years as our grand plans to make it to our destination continued to create physical space between us.
So yes, four is a celebration for us—a celebration of waking up to the same alarm clock and sharing a pot of coffee, of cooking meals in the same kitchen and enduring his vampire movies. It’s a celebration of blaming the empty toilet paper roll on each other and tripping over someone else’s shoes in the entry way. It’s knowing I have someone to clean out my hair ball from the drain with no complaints and a willing partner who will enthusiastically slide down a mud hill with me in the pitch black, pouring rain and then climb up again to retrieve my shoes. It is a day of putting an extra slice of cheese on his sandwich and smiling because you have someone pretty dang great to make it for.
Today is a celebration of tangled, messy, loud, annoying, wonderful, blissful togetherness as we stand proudly, hand in hand, back at the place where it all began ready and willing to hold on tight for 100 years under the branches of the solid oak–so we don’t have to miss one another so much anymore.
I can see him there.
Standing, phone pressed to his cheek,
laughing at how lonesome I’ve become on these three long weeks on the road.
I can see him.
Standing 900 miles away.
Tool belt slung low across his hip,
dust on his knees,
back arched, leaning away from his work
while assuring me it’s only five more days.
(who had this dream, this plan before it all began)
900 miles away…
with a man like this
how could I ever wish
to do anything but stay?