I wonder who came up with the traditional wedding vows?  Those are pretty serious promises.  When you’re young, as I was 46 years ago today when I said mine, they make you feel pretty grown up to be saying serious things to someone you love.  We meant them with all our hearts and understood them as best we could at 21 years of age.  We abstractly understood that richer or poorer, sickness and health, until death do us part could happen to us, the last two probably when we were old and gray.  In the meantime, we would have a family and grow old together.

What happened to us was a marriage…as opposed to a wedding.  Weddings are where you are surrounded by friends and family wishing you well, parties, presents, and serious, we thought, conversations about the future.  Marriages are the reality of that future.  We had a good one for 31 years, ups and downs and all.  I learned from watching my grandparents and parents and their friends that long marriages aren’t always achieved while traveling a smooth road.  There are challenges in the very best of marriages, some caused by people within them, some caused by the world around us.  My paternal grandparents were married over 50 years, but they lost a son in the war.  My maternal grandmother was widowed at 29 and left with three children in the depression.  My parents were married over 50 years and were very much in love.  Was it always easy?  Not at all, but they worked at it.

My marriage was great fun, passionate in all ways.  We made each other laugh, we adored our children, we worked hard.  It was a lot of work…a lot…to raise four children.  We really succeeded at that.  But we had to deal with all those pesky vows.  We never wavered in those promises…richer or poorer, sickness and health, ’til death do us part.  We didn’t expect to have to deal with all of them and we didn’t expect it to end so early.  I never thought I’d be a widow at 52.  Wow.

But, today, December 23, I pay tribute to those kids that we were who never quit trying.  It was quite an adventure with that special guy.  Knowing what I know now, would I go back and do it again?  You bet!  I’d say “I Do!” without batting an eye.  What an amazing life we had together.  We packed a lot of living and a lot of loving into the time we had.  And, that adventure led to my next one and my next one and I keep heading to the next one.  Yes, I do.

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