This column is scheduled to come out on Saturday, Jan. 9th. While that may just be another day in January to you, to Don and me it’s special.
You see, 38 years ago, on another Jan. 9th, Don and I stood in front of God, family and friends and promised to love and cherish each other “‘til death do you part.” An easy promise to make at the time, without knowing what was ahead. And a promise kept, despite the bumps in the road we’ve experienced along the way.
In 38 years we raised two sons, moved so many times I still have bad dreams about having to relocate, and survived the stresses that come with two people living together for an extended period of time. We’ve had our ups and our downs, and enjoyed the former while dealing with the latter.
While I’ve been known to occasionally poke fun at Don in this space, I need you to know he’s a good man. This is a man who doesn’t drink coffee (don’t ask me how he got through med school without it) but knows how I like mine. Who cheerfully helps feed my dark chocolate habit. Who has a geeky side, even if he’s been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
One of the things I love about Don? He’s seen me at my best and at my worst and hasn’t run away screaming in 38 years. He puts up with my occasional moods when even with medication my depression rears its ugly head and threatens to overwhelm me. He endures my craziness when I’m excited about a new bright shiny.
Don is one of the reasons I continue to work on my writing. He doesn’t read a lot of fiction, but if I put something I wrote in front of him he does read it. He’s been generous about sending me to workshops to hone my craft. And he always reminds me that the writing career is a marathon, not a sprint. While I haven’t hit income goals I’d like to yet, he tells me it’s a long-term investment. He’s always positive and supportive about my career, and I know I’m blessed to have that.
I’m not saying it’s only been sunshine and roses. There have been times of sharp disagreements and hard times to get through.
We’ve fought each other, but decided a long time ago that ending the marriage was never an option. That decision has forced us to work through sticky situations, and is one of many reasons we’re still married.
We’ve been there for each other. Over the years we’ve buried three parents, said goodbye to some beloved pets, and faced tough times. Don keeps me steady during those times. In turn I’ve been able to be a sounding board and comfort when he’s needed it. Those aren’t small things.
Don likes to say we make a good team. Together we’ve helped out stray young men who’ve wound up under our roof for a variety of reasons (I joke I have yet to experience empty nest syndrome because God keeps putting birds in my nest). We’ve done mission work in Guyana together. Together, using our different gifts, I like to think we’ve had a positive impact on those around us.
We want to be like a couple we knew in their 90’s who’d been married for decades. We’re at 38 now; I hope there’s a lot more to go. It’s a reason Don nags me about my weight – he wants to have those years.
For now, I celebrate what we have now. Happy 38 years, Don, my love. May we have many more to look forward to.