Thirty-five years ago the bridesmaids wore yellow.
A hot yellow sun oven-baked the Methodist church on September 9th, 1978. We sweltered. We sweated.
(OK, maybe it rained. Maybe the bridesmaids wore baby blue and maybe we married in the Presbyterian Church, which would seem more logical, as my family was Presbyterian. Maybe it wasn’t September 9th. Maybe it wasn’t even THAT hot. The truth is my memory of this day feels fuzzy, hazy, hovering almost out of reach. Someone like Christie, my maid-of-honor, would remember. My mom and Barry’s mom would remember. But it’s too early on a Monday morning to call them so you’re just going to get the version that could be the truth. I’m sure it’s the truth.)
I was a twenty-one year old baby. Wet behind the ears. Barry was a twenty-two year old baby. (Oh no, we’ll probably get divorced after he reads that sentence tonight!)
We met in journalism school at Ferris State College down in the Lower Peninsula in 1976 and he followed me to Michigan State University to round out our degree.
We were head-over-heels in love.
Today is our 35th wedding anniversary. Surely thirty-five years haven’t passed that quickly. Surely we’re not grownups now.
Surely time doesn’t fly as fast as “Sunrise, Sunset”, the song from Fiddler on the Roof that someone sang as our wedding.
Surely we don’t have two kids with kittens of their own.
Did these young faces once exist?
Still so innocent, not yet lived through pains of childbirth, through temper tantrums, through not enough money to buy an answering machine.
Still dreaming of moving somewhere north, north, way up there in the land of deep snows and frozen lakes, way up above the Arctic Circle maybe, what do you think, Kathy, let’s move to Alaska.
And Kathy, head-over-heels in love nodding, oh yes, Barry, let’s go north, north, north and live happily ever after in a cabin the woods like pioneers, shall we?
Are you imagining we lived happily ever after?
Without a fight? Without anger, negativity, frustration, confusion, indecision, regret, pain?
Relationships require work and commitment. Every human emotion will arise. Life will throw dirt on the prettiest of dreams.
The wise ones say: It’s all about communication. Do you both care enough to communicate, over and over again, attempting to make the other understand what often feels vague and confusing and not-knowing?
Thirty-five years pass and we’re still revealing secrets to one another, shades of gray, half-truths and full truths, ins and outs. He’s still rolling his eyes at my ridiculous habit of continually putting leftovers in smaller and smaller dishes. I’m still rolling my eyes at the way he can talk about fishing for hours, I swear hours.
Before finishing this little trip down Memory Aisle I would like to thank my parents–and Barry’s parents–for modeling the possibility of a good long-term relationship.
For supporting us in so many ways over the years as we lived out our pioneer dreams on the shores of Lake Superior, way, way up north (but not as far as Alaska, thank goodness.)
Life’s been a Hokey Pokey, a laugh and a cry, seriousness and silliness, all combined.
Who would have thought all those years ago that one day our wedding would feel like a distant memory, something that happened long long ago?
Thank you, Barry, for being you.
Thank you for building our Little House in the Big Woods.
Thank you for thirty-five years together.