Monday, July 14, 2014

25 Things About 25 Years Ago

It's 9:17 pm as I start this, on Monday, July 14, 2014. In just under 3 hours it will be my 25th wedding anniversary. I'm in Lexington, Kentucky, with my daughter; my husband is in Scotland with our son. (Over there it's already our anniversary.) I'm wanting to write a real essay about how many things have surprised me in our marriage--most of them good--and about how grateful I am to have walked through the last quarter-century with the same good man beside me, but honestly, I've had a long day, and I'm beat. And my alarm clock is set for 5 am. So I'm going to make a list. Here are 25 things about my wedding, my marriage, and the love of my life:

1. On the morning of our wedding my husband-to-be played golf. My girlfriends and I went out to Bob Evans.

2. After scarfing down an omelet, I couldn't eat another thing all day. After the champagne toast at our reception, our best man made one of the waitresses bring me a cup of coffee.

3. We went to Paris on our honeymoon. We stayed at a tiny hotel on the west bank, and every morning as we left the proprietress would shout down the street after us, "Courage, children!"

4. We were children. The thought of my son or daughter getting married at just-barely-22 appalls me.

5. As my mother points out, it's not like she could have stopped me.

6. After marrying, we both started medical school. I lasted six weeks. The only person not surprised when I quit was my new husband; he wasn't sure I should have started.

7. I sometimes wonder if I would have had the courage to quit without him on my side.

8. I've never regretted quitting medical school, not once, not for the smallest amount of time.

9. The happiest I've ever seen my husband look was on the two mornings our children were born. The second happiest was when he shot par at Ballybunion.

10. I don't think he really shot par, I just can't remember the specific score. I do know that it was raining torrentially, that my daughter and I cancelled our outdoor plans and spent the morning playing cards in Ballybunion's women's locker room, and that I still wish I could have snapped a picture of the way my husband looked when he came in from his round.

11. I will never forget the way he looked that day.

12. I never thought we'd leave Indiana, until we went on vacation to the Smoky Mountains when our son was a baby.

13. My husband worked really really hard in medical school, and did really really well. He's an absolutely fantastic surgeon, and it irks me when people underestimate how good he is or how hard he worked to get there.

14. Most of the elderly women in Bristol do not underestimate him. I know, because they talk about him to me all the time.

15. Sometimes they tell me what he says about me, and it's all good.

16. One of the greatest joys in our life has been the travelling we've done with our children.

17. I can't tell you how much our travels have enriched my life, too. Eating lunch at a shabeen in Soweto, walking through Monet's garden, standing in a mosque in Cairo--all these things will make it into my books someday, but they've already made it into my life.

18. My husband is the most fun person to be around. He's curious and interesting and he loves to explore. Once I made him drive a crazy amount of miles across this little Irish island following hand-lettered signs that read "Tetrapod tracks." When we got to them, we found out that they were some of the oldest fossilized rock in the entire earth, and were actually the footprints of the first type of fish that began to live on land. It was incredibly cool, and I loved that he took the road because I asked him to, and I love that he thought the tracks were as fabulous as I did.

19. He puts up with all my obsessions: the books, the yarn, the sudden announcement that I am going to write a book about X and thus need to do a bunch of research that--surprise!--involves travel.

20. He also has put up with, to date: one insane mare we bought with his med school prize money, three more horses for me, two ponies, a couple horses for my daughter, two dogs, four cats, three sheep, and two goats.

21. The dogs were, oddly enough, the hardest for him to accept.

22. He drew the line at chickens, and I don't blame him.

23. When we were dating, he used to flip over the paper placemat when we went out to eat and draw a little house where we'd live someday, with trees and a basketball hoop. When I started riding, which was after we started dating, he added pasture fence with horses inside.

24. He would have added children, but I never would let him. It felt like tempting fate. He'd say, "I think we should have a boy, and then about three years later a girl," and it would make me angry, because while I thought it sounded perfect I also thought life didn't work that way.

25. Turns out it did.

Happy anniversary to the star in my sky. Michael Barton Bradley, I love you more now than on the day I said, "I do." I do.