Yesterday Bill and I celebrated the 39th anniversary of our marriage. “Celebrated” may not be the appropriate word because we didn’t do anything special. We have been lucky enough to share so many special trips and meals that it would be difficult to come up with a unique celebration. (What was worth celebrating is that we both remembered it was our anniversary.) I look back to our wedding day all those years ago and hardly know who those two people were. We looked good, we felt good but we didn’t have a clue about what a lasting marriage involves.
The New York Times recently carried a column by Ada Calhoun entitled “To Stay Married, Embrace Change.” The illustration alone is worth the price of the newspaper. Artist Brian Rea depicts a wife in bed and her husband, sitting in his underwear on the edge of the other side, clipping his toenails. There are bits of toenails all over the rug. With that title and that cartoon, you just know the writer and illustrator have been married to someone, sometime. Calhoun’s point can be summed up by one of her quotes: “I’ve had at least three marriages. They’ve just all been with the same person.” Time changes all of us.
There used to be a column in the Ladies’ Home Journal: “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” that I read when my mother wasn’t paying attention. I don’t remember what the marital problems were but the stories gave me plenty to think about when my parents argued. What I didn’t understand was that their arguments were only one of the many ways that they were smoothing the rough edges we all have in order to accommodate to the challenges of kids, jobs, finances and everything else that daily life brings.
You may wonder what the photo above has to do with any of this. These two young osprey are setting up their first nest together, one that they will return to every spring if all goes well. So far, they have a mess of a nest and an interloper who tries to oust them every couple of hours. They are holding firm. I am counting on them to join us next year for our big Four-O.