“I spent an hour and a half cleaning out the fireplace,” I say to my husband of 29 years so he would know that I cared about our anniversary dinner. I want his memories of me to be slathered with the scent of my perfume and the smoke of the many fires we’ve sat around.
We are beginning again. We date with skis on our feet and beneath a blanket of quiet, deep snow that descends when all the holiday parades are over.
A clear vision emerges when all the fires have burned themselves out.
This is marriage to me.
The perfect time to have an anniversary.
To say, “I do…”
I do want to spend my life with you.
I do want to learn what intimacy means.
I do want to figure out how to share a refrigerator with you.
I do want sleep in a bed where you untuck and I tuck.
I do want to learn how to accept the quiet love you offer even though I understand love with words.
Because I have memories of pink lemonade bubble gum in your blue pick up truck and I remember singing sunshine on my shoulders when the sky reached down to touch the mountains that still held snow in July. I got on a plane with you carrying our son because we thought we were going to say goodbye to your brother at Hennepin County Hospital after you called me at work to say, “There’s been an accident.”
This is how the quiet blanket of years replaces the dramatic stalk of youth. Why butterflies are wonderful when you’re young, but why they lose their allure when intimacy deepens like the white snow that fills the summer reservoirs. This kind of love comes quietly. And deeply.
What has deepened your love? An accident? A move? A tangle? This Ronald McDonald House, in Minnesota, helped my family greatly in a time of true need. What has helped you?
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