a happy anniversary

16th anniversary gift is traditionally prison stripe shirts and snowman socks and arm farts for the wee ones.

I half-noticed her slink off after I said I just wanted a picture of me and her dad first. It was our wedding anniversary and normally she doesn’t want to be in pictures even when I ask her. Then it was her turn and we found her curled up on the couch, her cheeks wet with tears. Anyway, that’s why she’s doing an arm fart in the picture. Her dad scooped her up and blew on her arm and it made a funny sound, which made her laugh and then she made her own arm fart and we were golden again. Arm farts for the win!

Her dad is Joe, who is my husband of 16 years. We’ve been together 2 years longer than that and still have the cat and ficus tree we got when we moved in together, though the cat is rickety with kidney failure and the ficus is so big we need two people to move it. Our relationship is 18 years old, so it just graduated high school, which is maybe why I had a dream last night about trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grow up. “I guess I’ll be a teacher,” I said reluctantly in the dream because I like talking about other people’s ideas but I’m terrified of public speaking. This fear, like most, is irrational because when I’ve had to speak and I’ve felt prepared, it has gone fine. Better than fine, occasionally.

Our marriage is better than fine, also. This was the first anniversary in awhile that I felt this and it makes my throat catch with gratitude. We went through a real rough patch and because there is a fine line between openness and over sharing and because I don’t have a handle on it, I will leave it at that. Every relationship has or will see its share of challenges. It’s the way the universe operates, and the only good news is that adversity builds muscle.

Our rough patch wasn’t because of the children, though it’s probably no coincidence that it started when our youngest was still a baby. We’re wired to make babies, but babies sure are hard on a marriage. I’m glad they don’t teach this in health class because while everyone would still want to mate, no one would want to actually make babies and soon there’d be only 200 people left on the planet and none of them would know how to make light bulbs or Oreos or a pair of shoes that are good looking and comfortable.

Our rough patch wasn’t even because of my drinking, though that sure didn’t help. I’ve found that sobriety is indeed like a pair of glasses that helps the world come into focus when I choose to put them on. Drinking was like a pair of blinders that blocked not only the hard stuff so I never worked through any of it, but it also kept me from noticing a lot of the good stuff right in front of me. I interpreted a lot of what my husband did or said in a fearful or negative light. In sobriety, I’ve learned it’s easier to view others with love.

Things are better than I could’ve imagined, but I still don’t know how they will turn out. He’s been the one who never gave up on us. Maybe one day he’ll change his mind. Who knows. Lately I worry he’ll lose interest because I don’t drink anymore and sometimes I feel dull or smug or both. It is one of my newer weak spots, though I’ve also worked hard to improve myself in other areas, like uh, not drinking too much. Hmm.

Letting go of unnecessary worry (ie, things I cannot possibly change no matter how badly I fucking want to) is something that seems to get easier with time. It happens when I choose to focus on the good in my life and in the people I love. I am rewarded with more good, which makes it easier to see the good next time, even when it’s not all good. Okay, let’s just close with an arm fart because I’m not sure what that means either.

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23 thoughts on “a happy anniversary

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  1. BBB, That was a beautiful post! I can really relate to the part about wondering if your husband will lose interest cause you are dull or not interesting sober. I have felt that too in my marriage. I’m glad to hear you writing about your marriage…it’s a tough subject…but one that I am trying to figure out also. My husband admitted that he thinks he was part of the reason why I drank. Drink was available to listen to me when I was upset and he wasn’t. We have been working on that. I have learned in the last 9+ months that it is up to ME to take care of ME and do kind things for myself, rather than rely on hubby for everything and of course to not abuse myself with wine! Can you or anyone reading relate to this?
    p.s. Happy Anniversary!

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    1. I sure can relate. It felt everything from escape hatch to confidant, though it was never truly either. Thank you for your comment; it helps to know I am not alone.

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  2. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! We’ve gone through a rough patch and then some, and then some more! You are not alone! Love to hear it’s ‘better than fine’! That’s so great to hear! Our marriage is better than ever right now. But not to say a storm isn’t ahead at some point, again. We’re still learning to navigate the seas, one day at a time. Whoa, it’s TOUGH. I love when you say ‘adversity builds muscle.’ Well then, I should be a body builder by now 🙂 LOL. LOVE the pic! 🙂 That’s just like OUR kids- when heaven forbid we pull out a camera and want to take a family pic! 🙂 ‘Arm farts’- LOVE it! 🙂

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    1. I’m glad to hear your marriage is better than ever. I wonder if that’s a standard side effect of sobriety or we’re just lucky or who knows. Just really glad to hear it.

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  3. Like you I am very grateful. Grateful, just looked it up and the word seems to come up short. Need a better word. A word my wife can look to and understand how she has become part of me, the worthwhile part meant to continue. Her all is finally becoming more and more of my purpose. There is relief in that realization. Freedom to love, never dreamed that would be a benefit of laying down beer.

    Excellent post. Thank you. Happy anniversary with hopes for many more.

    My dad got my mom a shot gun for their anniversary once. No, she is not now nor has she ever been a hunter. In memory of my dad and for misguided spouses everywhere …

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    1. Hilarious video. Topsy Turvy and “I love you. Also you’re fat.” were my favorites. Incidentally, my husband sent me a lovely bouquet at work this year. This was after we’d agreed not to get each other anything. I got him a card. Yep.

      I love what you said about gratitude and your wife and the freedom to love. All just touching, beautiful sentiments. It is nice to hear others going through this rebirth or whatever it is.

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  4. Beautiful post, BBB. I really have been digging what you’ve been writing lately even more than normal – there seems to be a shift or something in you that has come out in your blog. Can’t put my finger on it, though. Regardless, I can relate on many levels. Been married 18 years, and yeah, lots of ups and downs. More downs, really. Drinking in the first 16 years didn’t help. But it’s a whole new thing now. Doesn’t mean that I get clueless still (I do), but I don’t remember the last real big argument or blowout. I haven’t raised my voice since finding recovery and hadn’t felt the need to. As for the bored / smug thing. I get that feeling too, and I too am working on it. Trying to expand my horizons, getting more humility. But we’re on the path, aren’t we?

    Happy Anniversary and I love the picture. Awesome 🙂

    Blessings,
    Paul

    P.S I am surprised they didn’t ask me to be in that video. I am pretty clueless and have never, ever, ever,ever known what to get anything for anyone, even my wife. Clueless. No knack for it. Oh well…progress, not perfection LOL

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    1. That’s nice to hear you haven’t raised your voice in recovery and that you can’t remember your last argument. That seems huge. Also, I could be in that video too.

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  5. Happy anniversary!
    Lovely post, as always! I remember my son alwyas squeezing his way into pics of us, an early photobomber! Or we’d be dancing, or kissing, and in he’d come, like he had an affection homing device! So sweet,those memories now….

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  6. Happy Anniversary! The picture is great. I love getting to know you. (And apparently a picture helps.) I’m filled with thoughts on your anniversary post. I see a lot of parallels in our recovery journeys.Why is it we heal when we know someone has walked the same path? Good, good stuff. And I mustn’t forget to comment on the arm farts. A very, very important part of being a kid.

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    1. I remember armpit farts, but not arm farts? Otherwise, I had a nice childhood.

      So true there is healing in sharing and learning from others. It is good good stuff.

      Hope your week is going well, Lisa. Thinking of you.

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  7. Happy anniversary ! This was a beautiful post. You are trying to be the best ‘self’ you can be, and I think that kind of clarity is so important in relationships – like you said, no blinders. Here’s to many more years.

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  8. What a great post, as beautiful as the post. I’s nice to read that you’re so happy in your marriage! Baby’s and sobriety can make big waves and it takes a team to navigate those stormy waters. Myself and others that i know weren’t so lucky, whatever the cause, but that doesn’t mean i’ve given up hope.

    And look at you, proof that dreams come true! You dreamed of being a teacher, and here you are one!

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  9. terrific post, and huge congrats. I did push the envelope on our marriage but some how we’re still here together, 28 years this year! 32 already as a couple… where will it end?

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  10. Happy 16 years! Prison stripes, huh? ROFL! I love the photo–great of you all! You and hubby look genuinely relaxed and happy.

    Quitting drinking was the best thing I ever did for my marriage. Things are a thousand times better, and even the hard times aren’t *as* bad as they were when I drank. I too blew every little thing out of proportion and made mountains from molehills. (WTF are molehills anyway? Are they like little gopher hills? I remember seeing those in Caddyshack, though I guess they were more like gopher tunnels. God I loved that gopher. Almost as much as monkeys riding hogs. But I digress. Again.)

    So happy for you hun, C

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  11. Wheee!! Congrats on your anniversary 🙂 You are an inspiration to me with your 18-year-old relationship and your ficus tree. I aim to have both one day. Isn’t it great to feel blessed in a relationship? You’re a lucky lady!

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  12. Thank you for sharing your story. I think it’s great you are being so open and honest about your recovery journey. It’s so inspiring to others. It’s time we leave the shame behind and let people know this is a common illness and can affect anyone.

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