Yesterday marked twenty years of wedded bliss for myself and my bib overall wearing wonder buns. Last week we planned out our special day. We planned to have breakfast at Krouse’s Café, go kayaking, come home to nap and shower, then go out to dinner and spend the evening on the porch drinking our favorite wine and enjoying a deluxe charcuterie board. The Bean would go to the beach with her BFF, and we would have some very rare alone time. It was a great plan.
However, the reality was I got the stomach flu on Sunday. To say it was highly unpleasant is an understatement. I had active symptoms for three days. Three days that included our twenty-year anniversary. The Bean’s trip to the beach was canceled. And the icing on the cake, the piece de resistance, The Bibbed Wonder is quitting smoking. It was not the day I imagined.
When I am sick, The Bibbed Wonder and The Bean avoid me. Mostly they avoid me because they don’t want to get sick, but they also give me my space because I am prone to cry or not be very nice while under the weather. I spent three days alone on the couch with my dog. When The Bibbed Wonder came down from the soap studio and stole the house WiFi to improve the signal in the garage (don’t ask, WiFi is an issue I don’t even want to begin explaining), I was left with nothing to entertain myself. I didn’t feel well enough to concentrate on reading, and regular T.V. is annoying. So, I took my quilts, pillow, and Coke outside to sit under a tree near the front yard. We have an oak tree with branches hanging down like a little cave. I spread out my quilts, lay down my pillow, put my Coke near the edge of my blanket, and took a nap. Buster came over long enough to mess up my quilt, spill my Coke, pee on the tree branches, and wake me up. That is how I spent my twenty-year anniversary.
As if the stomach flu on one’s anniversary is not bad enough, my bib overall wearing prince charming is MEAN when he is coming off nicotine. I’m not talking mildly irritated; I am talking when I look at him, the word jackass comes to mind. We ended up arguing over my failure to write down the Netflix password, the appropriate spot to hang his bibs on the clothesline, and his general attitude on our twenty-year anniversary. The fact that we rarely argue but ended up arguing on our anniversary made me cry, which irritated him further. Sigh. It was not the anniversary celebration I had anticipated.
We spent most of the day avoiding eye contact, each other, and any interactions. The Bean made him apologize for over-reacting over the Netflix account. She also made him apologize for being short-tempered over the clothesline, and she reminded me that he was coming off nicotine because I asked him to quit smoking. She also reminded me that, ultimately, he is quitting for us and that I need to “give him a break.” She is absolutely correct. It’s pretty bad when a fourteen-year-old has to remind her parents how to treat each other on their anniversary or any given day.
The fact that he is trying to break an addiction because he loves us, and I asked him to do it, is a greater act of love than a meal, a romantic rendezvous, or a glass of wine. Although he was a huge meanie, I feel like an ass for being impatient with him. Twenty years ago, we said for better or worse. Unfortunately, we both displayed the worse part yesterday. However, at the end of the day, as he took our precious girl out to the woods to camp at their little campsite, he sent me a text that read, “I love you. Sleep well. I hope the next twenty years are as amazing as the last twenty. I wouldn't want to spend it with anyone else.” It doesn’t get any better than that, dear reader.
Our lives don’t always go the way we plan. Relationships are not always easy. With sacrifice come challenges, and with challenges come difficulties. The thing is, we choose how to react to challenges and difficulties. Sometimes, we make poor choices. Sometimes, it takes a wise and savvy fourteen-year-old girl to point out that the things we do, we do for love, and we need to remember that.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
This passage was shared at our wedding ceremony, and it is the most sound advice we have received. On this overcast day, stay safe, be smart, and remember to love with patience and kindness. Life is not always perfect, plans go awry, but you control your response. We are not expected to be perfect, but we need to appreciate those who walk with us and make our path better. Of course, dear reader, keep washing your hands. The stomach flu is highly contagious, don’t pass that sh** on…insert a wink and a smile.