In just under two weeks, my husband and I will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary.
I can't believe a whole year has passed—with its full four seasons, various holidays, birthdays, family gatherings, ups, downs, and all the days in between—since the day our officiant declared, “By the power vested in me by the province of Ontario, and by the Power of Grayskull, I now pronounce you man and wife. Live long and prosper, May the force be with you, so say we all.”
Time flies when you're nerdy in love.
John and I met while we worked together in the magazine section at an Indigo Bookstore. I asked him out after about a year of getting to know him. We went steady almost instantly, and I introduced him to my parents within a week.
Despite the relationship-at-lightspeed beginning, it was almost nine years before he popped the question. It was on one of those summer days that can't decide whether it should rain or shine, and the sky was a sickly green-gray. We were at the Canadian National Exhibition, and I'd just trounced him at Whack-A-Mole. He bent to retrieve something in his backpack, and while I wasn’t looking, he got down on one knee and proposed to me with a shiny engagement ring right there in front of the Food Building. A double rainbow appeared in the sky that day. It was as rare and beautiful and amazing as that proposal. (No joke. It really happened.)
Our wedding day was gorgeous, with the most perfect weather, and everything (from my perspective) went off without a hitch. I had it all—friends, family, surprise Stormtroopers (my older sister’s gift to me), and a lightsaber duel with the newly minted hubby. After all, a wedding's not complete without sci-fi violence.
I imagine John and I will look back fondly upon that day for the rest of our lives. But deep down, I worry those memories will fade, or that life will get in the way of celebrating this event or other milestones. It’s already happened on a personal level: the older I get, the less birthdays mean. Each year just adds another wrinkle, another gray hair, until I realize I am subtracting more than I am adding to my life.
Riding this melancholy train of thought, I realized people celebrate sad events annually, too—it’s hard not watch the news without learning it’s the anniversary of some tragic event. Often, those headlines are marked with lingering questions, sadness, resentment and anger. People gather to remember what happened that day with heavy hearts, bearing tragedy with the same stoic pride one would a battle scar.
Whatever the occasion, the passage of another year seems to warrant some kind of fete, and the size and scale of that celebration is often in direct correlation to the depth of emotion experienced that day. It seems to be the reason why tragedy gets so much more attention. Not to say that such events don’t deserve fanfare: Never Forget applies to so many things: war, shootings, disasters…the what, why and how or tragedy are the building blocks of history.
Such maudlin thoughts make a girl flanked by Stormtroopers feel a little sheepish about celebrating something as trivial as the most expensive party in your life. It’s almost…crass. After all, what does my wedding day mean next to all the other things that happened in history on that same day?
“Well,” my inner husband tells me, because my outer husband is playing Civilization V, “it IS the day you and I declared our undying devotion to each other for the rest of the world to hear.”
And we did it with a healthy dose of awesome.
Then I realized something: An anniversary is just one day out of 365. There are still 364 more days to account for.
And so every day, I tell my husband how much I love him, how much he means to me. There are days we’re too busy for even the briefest of conversations, but we always touch, always hug and kiss to let the other know we’re there for each other. Through good and bad, we are each other’s constants. We’ve pledged to be together for the rest of our lives. And we’ll celebrate it not just on one awesome day, but every day.
For John: May we cherish many more days, months and years. Happy anniversary, my love.
Her Son's Hero will be released July 2011 from Harlequin Superromance.