On the 8th of August it will be 22 years since the day my wife and I stood with family and friends under a tent in her parent's backyard. It was a beautiful New England day, my mom made the cake, her dad made sure that his gardens were in full bloom.
We had a Quaker ceremony. We sat in silence. At times, when they felt moved to do so, some of our guests stood and spoke. Some briefly with shaking voices, others confidently and with more volume. Some of what was said was about us, some was reflections on marriage and love in general. To be honest I don't remember most of what was said. I do remember being deeply moved at the time. I felt supported, loved and cared for.
What more could one ask for on their wedding day?
When Anna's grandmother Wilda stood I wasn't sure what I expected. This woman was the matriarch of a large family and a long-standing pillar of her Quaker community. She took a breath, turned to face the two of us and said "you must always remember, and never forget, that the plural of spouse is spice". Then she sat, refolding her hands in her lap.
We've reflected on these words many times over the years. At different points in our lives they have taken on different meanings, though the common current running beneath has remained the same. Anna and I figured out long ago that the more time we spend together, the better it is for our relationship. This isn't the case for everyone, and every couple needs to discover what the recipe is for their own success. For us, we like each other's company. I think Wilda had a sense of this. It's the things we do together that flavor the years. Sometimes it's the big adventures that we save and plan for, but more often it's the unexpected moments. It's the shared experiences that add depth and color to our life together. It's a planned week in the mountains that turned into an unplanned weekend at the beach. It's the countless triumphs and challenges of being parents together. It's the 6 states we've lived in. It's all the animals we've loved and lost. It's the perfect meal, the quiet walk, the phone call that a loved one has died, the phone call that a loved one has been born, it's an ambulance ride, a sunrise, the breaking of a heart, a great bottle of wine. It's 22 years of shared moments, each one a gift in it's own way.
Wilda may have just meant to be funny that day 22 years ago, witty to be sure, and it was both of those things. It also turned out to be the only clear quote that anyone can recall from that day. I've always been grateful for those words, they have served us well. Thanks Wilda, and happy anniversary My Love.