Today, the beloved and I make 30 years of marriage. It seems like only yesterday we married and were still young and full of love. Well, we're still young at heart; and, still, full of love.
I met the man when he was a mere boy of 17; I, a timid girl of 16. Two happy-go-lucky kids who fell in love in high school and found their idealistic spirits suited each other's quite well. We both were artistic and looked at the world somewhat differently than most; kindred spirits who had found each other and never wanted to let go. The scope of our courtship consisted of long conversations well into the night where we began to learn of each other. Summers laying on lawns or sneaking off to rooftops to gaze up at the sky and stars and moon and dreaming, dreaming of all of the good things to come, sometimes weaving stories and hypothetical situations and laughing at the places our minds would take us. It was an innocent kind of love - one that was already building a solid foundation.
We had our first disagreement a year and a half into the relationship - if you could call it that. What we fought about, I no longer remember. What I do remember is that it lasted a mere few minutes before we laughed and realized how ridiculous it was. After that, I can't remember when we fought next. Discord has never been part of our MO.
He came from a very, quiet household and was initiated into a raucous one where peace of mind never reigned. He was instantly besotted. With me and with my crazy family. Many of our dates consisted of outings with my nephews and nieces - then 4, 5, 6 - in tow, not because my mother requested it; but because he did. He loved kids and he liked the little devils because they were just that....little devils. He thought them amusing and cute and just loved having them around. So, my family loved him. Of course.
We married four years later and became parents at the very young and unprepared age of 21 and 22. We grew up with our daughter and prayed constantly that we wouldn't muck it up. And he assumed the role of husband, father and provider immediately and with much seriousness. It was not in him to fail in either of the roles. I, in turn, assumed the role of stay-at-home mom and took my role as mother and wife quite seriously as well. It was not in me to fail either. We had brought a child into this world and determined to be the best parents possible; ones that would always be there for her and never fail her. We both came from loving and attentive homes so we already had a good, successful blueprint on which to follow.
We've walked some pretty rough paths together as a couple but not due to anything brought upon by either of us; it was fate that decided to deal the unfortunate hands. There has been much pain and sorrow where our hearts have been shattered but we've overcome, each time relying on each other's love, support and strength to help us through. Years of crying and asking why; years of quiet conversations, introspections, analyzing and deconstructing; years of learning of our strengths and looking for the light; and, years of counting on each other has not been for naught. Because each crisis gifted the knowledge of how unbreakable our bond was.
As the man who shares my life, he has had to share the crosses I've had to bear. And either because the fates favored me or saw me with eyes of compassion, they sent me a strong, caring and understanding man to share my life. And I have not been an easy ride - not because I am difficult - but because of the crises given. And, he, always confident and with no fear nor reservations, has never wavered. Not once. Not even flinched. This is his strength.
Slow to anger, quick to forgive, he dislikes discord but understands people make mistakes and hurt you as part and parcel of human nature. But, he likes to believe that, in the end, they might surprise you in a good way. And, if not, it makes no difference because the only thing of concern to him is his conduct in the scheme of things. If someone's hurt or disappointed him, that person will never know, for he continues treating all with the same amount of respect and kindness. He just hopes that in time they will inevitably learn of life's most sagest lessons: forgiveness and understanding. And, if he is the one who's hurt or disappointed you, then he hopes your heart will be able to forgive and understand as well. On the rare occasions he becomes angry with me, it is something that hurts me so that I become distant and my heart weeps like that of a wounded child. I cannot handle it and neither can he. And so our disagreements rarely last long. Neither of us having the will to go the distance.
Throughout our marriage he has been my one constant. I can scream and cry and curse the fates, yet he waits for me to exorcise the emotions to begin our talking sessions. He will not let these emotions be buried or passed by. He is tender in heart and my unhappiness is the one thing that disrupts his usual serene soul. Well aware that life sometimes throws curve balls where sorrow will be its byproduct, he at least wants me to know he will always be there. And he always is. And I always know.
So, yes, he has given me much. But what have I given in return? That you would have to ask him, but I can take a guess. I know I bring him peace and strength, the two things most important to him. I know this in the mere way he treats me. And I spoil him with much love and attention, a fact he will deny facetiously in front of others in his charming way of getting more and more of this crazy family's love and attention. Because we are a loving, attentive lot that spoils all that enter our circle of love. And I know, for in the privacy of our four walls, his heart still conducts itself like that of a young besotted boy.
And so 30 years today it is. And he still makes my heart skip a beat. His smile is still the thing that most melts my heart. His hands rubbing my skin when I am pensive is still the thing that brings me strength and peace of mind. With one single look, he knows where my heart is and whether it is happy or sad. And if it is sad, the talking sessions begin. He does not stop until I have exorcised what ails me and my heart sings again. For he said he fell in love with my laughter and happy spirit and it is the thing he says he still loves the most today. Without it he becomes somber, so me without these he cannot handle. He does not believe in saying I love you frequently or frivolously for he says it loses meaning; he believes in actions instead. And he shows his unconditional and sweet love every day: in the way he says amor and how that morphs into so many different meanings; in the way he calls to tell me he needs to hear my voice because he needs to talk to his "security blanket" and I hear the sadness in his voice and know he is missing me; in the way he handles my heart with such tender care and wishes never to make it weep. He is a private man who voices his love privately; he is not an ordinary man for he is full of attention and nurturing and wisdom; and, he is a trusting man who 34 years ago handed me his heart and trust that I would never hurt it. And, I never have.
Thirty-four years ago I saw a boy in school that made my heart skip a beat. Thirty-years ago I married him. And he has been my light, my heart, my strength, and my love ever since.
Happy 30th anniversary amor. And to you, my heart which you've always held in your hands and have taken good, tender care of. For this, my parents thank you; for this, our daughter learns; for this, I'll always love you.
Picture, courtesy of Deviant Art.