Twenty-five years ago this week, Swenny and I were married. For months, I have felt this anniversary looming, like an unwelcome guest. Would we celebrate together or wonder alone why we’re still married? Would we reminisce to revisit our earliest days as a couple, or dream about the future? How should a couple with challenges that continually interrupt their happiness spend their 25th wedding anniversary?
By exchanging gifts? Sharing dinner? No. Instead, at separate addresses celebrating silver linings.
When Swenny left home, we said goodbye bravely. After filling the day with the busyness of life, at 8:00 p.m. we found ourselves standing together making small talk, his packed bags at our feet. After a long goodbye, we released one another, the door clicked shut behind him and away he went. Immediately, though, our house felt empty. And not only of his physical presence, but of the way he helps fill every room and complete every moment.
While our encounters now have an edge of formality, they also have a layer of appreciation I would not have expected – and will not take for granted – as we embark upon our second quarter century together. We make time to talk every day, we linger on visits, and when my phone sits silent, I watch for the screen to illuminate with a message or call from him. When it doesn’t, I am reminded of all that is at stake.
I miss him. And I find it heartbreaking when he asks permission to visit me, our children, our home. Always following the question, “Can I come over?” with a second question: “Do you want me to come over?” Each time, my answer is yes, quickly followed by, “Of course I do.”
Because 25 years later, I still do.