It seems fitting that as leaves fall and kids settle in to school routine that I can take a breath and ponder at my world of change. Sending one off to college and two to Homecoming dances seems surreal. I can still conjure up the smell of baby powder with only a thought of how the two in formal dresses were in diapers only a few breaths earlier.
If I force myself I can admit that time has passed. A lot of it, fleeting as it seems. Last summer I celebrated twenty years with Ted, my life partner. I have been contemplating this post since our anniversary in July but even though the thoughts of what I would say crossed my brain I never jotted them down or began to write. Finally last night I was inspired by none other than the great visionary John Tesh himself, who on a cheesy radio show told me that life partners stay together because they see each other as life partners. Hmph. Deep.
With a bit more depth, I think I can suggest that there is more to it than that. It is my opinion but I credit those long term marriages to spouses that can weather significant changes.
We were engaged on the day he graduated from college and married a year later. We then went on to exist together in our world full of stories and surprises, fears and finales. Together we lost a baby and a parent. We spent sleepless nights worrying about the sadness of one of our children and then celebrated that same child's triumphs with joy only a parent can comprehend. We celebrated first days of school, Easter egg hunts, and sacred summers on Madeline Island. The diagnosis of cancer in 2009 only brought us closer as I was reminded again and again of his dedication. We loved and we fought, we dreamed and we suffered, we were vulnerable and humbled. But through it all, we were in it together. Our marriage feels like a life built on set backs, interdependencies, and countless blessings. Loyal as a lab, silly as a child, and deep kindness for people in his world that he loves, I am continuously drawn back into this messy but sustainable marriage.
I wonder what our future experience will be. A quieter home, marriages of our kids, and the thrill of the possibility of grandparentdom are what I assume the next twenty years will bring. Giving credit to John Tesh where it is due, I see myself holding the same hand of the man whose hand I hold now, my husband and friend despite the uncertainty of changes.