A Second First

Kim and I celebrated our first anniversary with her parents and my parents.

We’d wanted to spend it alone together but both knew that we’d not only married each other, each other’s family was part of the bargain.

So we all went out to dinner on the west side and finished by sharing a piece of our wedding cake that my mother had stored in the freezer for the first year.

Apparently, it’s a tradition.

A year ago if you’d asked me how long I’d been married I would have said what I always said – “23 years. 22 happy years and one not-so-happy year.”

People always assumed I meant the year after Elena died. That was a not-so-happy year but our marriage was a big part of what got Kim and me through that year.

Another big part was the families we’d gained when we got married.

The third big piece was, of course, the wonderful friend network that had woven itself around us and cocooned us as best it could. (I don’t know if cocooned is a word, but I’m pretty sure you can’t say it on the radio.)

No, as I’ve always said, our “not-so-happy” year was our first year together.

Most of it was great but there were moments when two, stubborn, eldest children who hadn’t married until they were in their thirties couldn’t step back and see how great our life was together.

We would get caught up on things that just didn’t matter.

So often the things that get in our way, just don’t matter.

We don’t have the sense to step over them and keep going.

It’s not enough that we’re right or that everybody is happy, we need to make sure the other person knows they’re wrong.

Why?

The other night we were over at Kim’s parents’ house for an early celebration of Maggie’s 21st birthday. My sister drove home. It’s a long drive and I like her to text me that she’s gotten home safely.

About an hour later I was in the basement with Kim’s brother and sister. Carolyn had just cut my hair and I was hanging out while she cut Tommy’s hair.

My watch tapped me. I glanced down and Jill had texted me that she was home safe. I texted back “Thanks.”

On my watch – magic.

A moment later Kim’s mom called down the stairs, “Your sister just texted me. She got home safely.”

In that first year of marriage I would have called back up, “I know. She already texted me.”

Why? Why would I do that? Why is it important to let her know that I got texted first? Why is it important to let her know I was texted at all?

It isn’t.

So I called up the stairs, “thank you.”

And meant it.

Kim’s mom had cared enough to ask my sister to text her. My sister had texted her. Kim’s mom had cared enough to tell me. Those are all things worth being thankful for.

So often we get caught up in credit. Things that just don’t matter.

Even though I say that our first year was rough – it mostly wasn’t. And besides we’d fixed it well before we got to the end of our first year.

We’d had “the talk” and knew we wanted to stay married to each other. We knew that we meant forever.

And so last year if I’d said “22 happy years and one not-so-happy year”, I was mostly joking. I might have said “22 good years and one not-so-good year”. I was still mostly joking.

I did know that each of the last five years had been better than the last.

So we spent that anniversary surrounded by family.

Now that Kim’s gone, I am thankful for my family and for hers. I’m thankful for that web of friends we have.

The only thing missing is Kim.

Really. I’m not lonely. I’m just Kim-less.

Today is our 24th wedding anniversary.

My first without Kim.

 

 

Published in: on August 8, 2017 at 12:37 pm  Comments (1)