Twenty-Nine and Holding

I woke this morning to a hot cup of coffee presented to me in bed. It was a nice way to start my anniversary. My husband is a good man. He isn’t romantic, doesn’t sing or recite poetry, rarely tells me he loves me, but brings me coffee, changes the oil in my car, plows the path for me to explore, and sometimes cooks. He goes about life quietly doing. A hug from him wraps me in security I can count on. I hadn’t had much of that before he came along. I take him for granted.

Few of my friends have been married twenty-nine years. One asked, “How have you tolerated the same man for so long, doesn’t he get on your nerves?”

“Sure he does,” I said. “I’ve finally learned that his workday begins at daylight and ends at dark, “evening” means anytime after the noon hour, and “Ask your Mama” is his way of being supportive in raising children. Oh, and he snores.”

My friend shakes her head. She doesn’t understand my marriage. She never will. She thinks I should be bored. She exhales excitement about her third marriage. The latest man is tall, has hair on his head, and his chest, drives a BMW and sky dives.

Then, she complains about the blending of her family. “His cell rings. It’s his ex. Every other weekend is his son’s soccer followed by his daughter’s ballet.”

My friend doesn’t like receiving children in development. They don’t love her on contact. They wear shoes on her carpet and leave water rings on her coffee table. Vacations are not relaxing. Her hair needs color and her nails are chipped.

The equations that make up her life take me back. I come from a long line of complications. Multiple relationships flung themselves at me when I was growing up. I spun around, trying to catch all the strings that tied me to parents, step-parents, step-siblings, and sets of grandparents.

“I just want to find that simple love I missed out on—the first time,” my friend laments.

I want to tell her, but don’t, that nothing about relationships is simple, and they get more complicated with endings, new beginnings, additions, subtractions, divisions and multiplications. There is no simple love. 1+1 rarely equals 2. Love takes sweaty effort, a good sense of humor, and some luck.

As I leaned back against the headboard this morning, holding my cup, I decided I’m happy. The payment I receive for the toil in this marriage is measured in my son’s excitement at hitting a baseball, in the comfortable quiet as I sit next to my husband watching the sun set behind the Blue Ridge, and in tablespoons of fresh ground coffee. No words are needed. I don’t want a man with a fancy car or one who jumps out of planes. I want one who plows a path for me to grow, and brings me a cup of coffee in the morning.

Share
Comments
2 Responses to “Twenty-Nine and Holding”
  1. Virginia Phillips-Smith says:

    Margaret, how wonderful. I love it! This is all so true, and I can relate…. Happy anniversary. You have accomplished so much, just by being happy. You also have sense enough to know how to live and love.

    Jen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *