Twenty-seven years ago I met a guy at a dance in Texas. Five years, a city (New York) and two countries (Germany, Korea) later, I married him on a cold, clear New Year’s Eve in Pennsylvania.
The next 22 years have been a completely different experience for which traveling around the world never prepared me. Who needs fluency in French and Arabic when you’re juggling small children? Authentic Japanese kimonos, Bali masks, Moroccan brass, Chinese cloisonné, 22K Arabian gold jewelry, Turkish handknotted rugs have no place in central Pennsylvania. Even my preference for city life on my own doesn’t offer much in the way of life skills for being married in a small university town.
Twenty-two years of suburban existence, most of them working opposite hours meant living our lives and raising a family in shifts. Juggling kids needs, work needs, others’ needs, and occasionally our own needs. For as many people who know me, none can be more surprised than I am to find myself still married–and to the same man–after all these years. It might be a sign of the apocalypse, or the end of days, but at the end of *this* day, it is what it is: a testament to hard work, determination, negotiation, capitulation, love, respect, sacrifice, stubbornness, patience, values, integrity and, if nothing else, laughter.
My mother was taken aback by the news of my engagement, and clearly unimpressed with the man with whom I’d chosen to spend my life. She’d expected me to snag someone on the fast track in NYC; someone tall, dark, and handsome; someone who would be able to support me in the manner to which I’d become accustomed and clearly deserved. To this day she awaits the phone call that admits she was right and I was wrong. To that I say, don’t hold your breath. Apparently, I chose…. wisely.
Hell, I might even make it to 25.