Friday, January 3, 2014

Ten Years

It started as a day that seemed foiled by minor irritations and then indecision and ended fabulously and memorably. I was glad; celebrating how I feel about Charles and ten years of marriage is a worthy endeavor.

Ten years ago, I never could have imagined how much difficulty we would experience; if I had, I would likely have made different choices - not about marrying Charles, but about other matters. I took risks with finances and career that did not anticipate the failing economy or the irrelevance of conventional wisdom about real estate. The resulting stresses were foreign territory to me, as I have always avoided such strain by being boringly cautious and frugal. Still, such knowledge would have cost me, for the decisions I would have made with more information would have been grounded in fear and ultimately would have been grave mistakes.

Our miscarriages and the loss of our first baby took its toll on my physical health and on our emotions. My plans to return to work were foiled first by my own attachment to my beautiful girl and then by a fairly drastic penalty imposed for even suggesting an alternative work schedule. (I created a detailed job sharing proposal. The liberal female SF politician to whom I reported told me in response, "since you want to work part time, we found your replacement.) The choice to homeschool has brought home anxiety that might have otherwise been dissipated to a broader community.

We've failed each other in many ways. Living through these stresses has meant that I am too often not the understanding and patient person I want to be. I am too easily irritated, too aware of my wounds, too inclined to complain. (Ack! I hate that about myself!)

And yet. Ten years after that marvelous day when we made our first vows, I love Charles even more than I knew I could then. We've learned more about each other and weathered challenges together. It is easier to commit to love when you feel secure and healthy and can't imagine any other outcome. The daily reality of trauma and loss is much harder. I think of our beautiful wedding pictures juxtaposed against images of me passing out in a pool of blood, of sleepless nights, of tears and arguments and unkindnesses. Thus the marriage that we celebrate is much more than I anticipated: stronger, more meaningful, more full of authentic love, deeper.

As I look back on that marvelous day, I grieve for the family and friends whom we have lost in these past ten years. Mary, Sharon, Isaiah and Rochelle all figure prominently in the photos and yet - unexpectedly, tragically - they are no longer here to celebrate with us, though I feel their prayers from heaven, as Mary promised.

I am deeply appreciative that our wedding was so fully immersed in prayer and that we have remembered to invite God to be part of our marriage. I have felt the sustaining power of those prayers many times when the chaos of everyday life precludes attendance at daily mass, which sustained my joy in the month prior to our wedding. I feel it too when I observe the many blessings that have emerged out of unanticipated health, career, and financial traumas. I have a new and more fabulous career. We have what we need to make ends meet and we enjoy many adventures together. Our health is now good. And out of those many pregnancies came two blessings too fabulous for words. The joy of our daughters brings us joy beyond expression and makes me giddy with delight. Nearly every single day, I have a moment of blissful happiness with them in which I can honestly say, "THIS is the best moment of my life." Every day! Most importantly, I appreciate that I have been wise enough to do just that, to remain alert and appreciative of and for those moments of bliss that encompass the daily elements of our life.

I love you, Charles. Thank you for this marvelous family, for the gift of your love, and for the many gifts that you've given me in our life together. I love you today even more than I did ten years ago and I look forward to the next ten, and then more...


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