Wednesday, April 24, 2019

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today…

That TW and I got married.  

The day before the wedding featured an afternoon monsoon, but the day itself was beautiful.  TW looked great, beaming in her dress. Before the ceremony, as I waited offstage with my brother, he commented that I was approaching it “like the big game.”  That seemed right.

A lot has changed in twenty years.  My dad did a reading at the ceremony in his deep, smooth, Southern-inflected way; by the time my brother’s wedding came along, ALS had warped his speech to the point that it could be difficult to understand.  He died ten years ago this month. The Boy turns 18 next month, and The Girl will be 15 in July; as hard as it is to imagine now, they weren’t a part of the world then. The world is better with them in it.

I had expected marriage to be a huge life change, but parenthood was the big one.  The day TB came home was the break in history. We learned quickly what parents know: you can read all the books you want, but nothing prepares you for the real thing.  I remember vividly the moment after we brought TB home from the hospital for the first time and put him in the bassinet; TW and I looked at each other and asked wordlessly, “now what?”  It’s a high-stakes exercise in extended improvisation. I’m guessing it always was. At least we share a philosophy of parenting, which is that the goal is to get the kids to the point where they don’t need you.  They’re well on their way.

She’s an amazing mom.  Kids as great as these are partly luck, and partly a lot of work.  We’ve been lucky, and we’ve worked.

Twenty years.  As a thoughtful gesture, I’ve done the aging for both of us.  

TW and I met in 1996, in a bar in New Brunswick.  The bar is gone now. Technologically speaking, it was the paleolithic era; our eventual marriage was one garbled answering machine tape away from not happening.  Something made me call again. I’m glad it did. She was able to look past the powder-blue 1989 Toyota Tercel hatchback and see someone worth seeing again. As smart as she is, though, she still hasn’t figured out that she’s out of my league.  (Nobody tell her!)

Happy anniversary, honey.  

Program note: We’ll be taking a few days for an anniversary trip, so the blog will be back on Monday.