Serendipity introduced me to my first husband at age 17. A week after our meeting he promised that we would marry some day. I laughed out loud. At age 27 I was his widow with two children.
I lacked a life-plan. And on that late summer day when my children’s father unexpectedly died, helter-skelter reintroduced itself.
I involuntarily joined the Hapless Young Widows Club (HYWC). HYWC isn’t a chartered nonprofit organization. But HYWC does chart a rugged path of misjudgment and denial, and allows helter-skelter domination.
Ten years later, on this date April 12, I declined further helter-skelter. As the desert sun began its daytime journey, I stood in a poppy field with another man who had serendipitously entered my life and promised that we would marry some day. Of course, I laughed out loud.
Twenty-four years later, I woke up this morning to a beautiful piece of jewelry he bought for me–an unexpected surprise. But while I spent a weekend in San Francisco learning about gray whales, he shopped and planned for this special day.
I frequently write about him. Others have joined my reference to him as spouse. Last week while he wandered the local grocer’s aisle, a man’s voice greeted, “Hey, Spouse!”
Why is he “spouse” instead of “my husband?” First, he isn’t mine. Secondly he’d rather not see his name in a New Times Roman 12 pt font or any font. When I say spouse, it simply says we’re partners.
And at 24 years of marriage—which isn’t that long, but we were nearly 40-years-old when we swapped promises and vows in a poppy field—today is significant.
We survived raising teenagers, moving to another state, and starting two new businesses—and that was before that pesky 7-year itch thing. Fortunately we were too busy to notice any itching. I read about crumbled marriages after the kids leave. We bought an apple farm instead. Then breast cancer for me–another benchmark for marriage dissolution. The opposite happened. I discovered spouse to be the most dedicated husband on the planet. He lived to make me well.
And now retirement age. We thought we’d buy a motor home and travel two-lane roads. I’d write a blog and maybe a book. But the new economy got in the way. Rethink. Reboot. Reinvent. The 3-Rs.
We’re back in California, right back where we started from. The 3-Rs operate as I write. This partnership spouse and I agreed to works and remains my happy surprise.
I’m lousy for marriage. A mountain of baggage weighs me down. There’s also that Irish-temper that can pulse through my blood and explode like a volcano full of insane leprechauns. My habits are imperfect, and sometimes I’m contrary just for the sake of being contrary. But spouse accepts me for who and what I am.
Happy Anniversary, Spouse. Here’s to another magical 24-years together.