Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Ties that Bind

There is an old belief that if it rains on your wedding day it is good luck because your marriage will be blessed with unity. After all, if you tie a knot and it gets wet, it is really difficult to untie.

Nineteen years ago the weather was very much like today. It was cloudy, cool, and rained off and on. I remember my mom and I glancing nervously around the tent my parents had rented as the caterer was setting things up. For some reason we thought April would be plenty warm enough for an outside wedding.
 
I was such a young bride, only twenty-two, that most of my friends were still single, yet I knew I was totally in love with Jerry Wheeler. We were so different in many ways, but in the ways that mattered we were identical. We both loved family and looked forward to creating our own.
 
In the 19 years that followed we have seen a lot of wonderful things. Our siblings had babies, our children were perfect little bundles of joy who have grown into amazing young people, we bought our home and I finally graduated from college which was a goal I had always wished to fulfill. It's amazing how many joyous things two people can share when committing their lives to each other.
 
With all of the beauty there has been moments of great sorrow as well. My sweet mom passed away too early in life, Bobby was a very sick baby with several scary medical issues, Miranda Elizabeth developed an autoimmune disorder that almost cost her her life, Jerry's job of 22 years was outsourced, and I was discovered to have Vascular Ehlers Danlos Syndrome when my aorta dissected - causing a domino effect of other medical traumas, like my iliac arteries rupturing, my splenic artery rupturing, and more.
 
With the good always comes some bad. Like my friend Donald L. Roarabaugh says - "you either just got over something bad, you are currently going through something bad, or you are about to go through something bad." Such is the way of life. But I think it's hard to appreciate a gorgeous morning when you haven't seen the darkness of night.
 
I don't know if it is just my generation or just many of the people I have met, but it seems so common to overhear men bashing their wives and women bashing their husbands. Divorce, although sometimes necessary, is far too common. So much so that one of my children had a friend that couldn't believe we all lived together under one roof. But, here we are: a dad, a mom, a sister, a big brother, and a little brother. All together and all making a point of telling each other how very much they're loved because life can be very good and very hard and in the end, it makes us closer, stronger, and able to appreciate the beautiful mornings.
 
Nineteen years ago I was a young bride in love with a wonderful young man who has grown into my best friend. How great is that? He knows me like no other. He has endless patience for my bad jokes. He offers to carry me when I cannot walk and has done so many times without complaint or shaming.

When my mom passed away, he held me. When Miranda and Bob were sick, he cried with me. When I graduated from college, he stood up and applauded me. When we looked at this old house, I know he didn't like it but let me have it anyway. And the last ten months, he has loved me through this. He can't fix me although I know that he would do anything to make that so. He has held onto me and I to him like the knot in the rain, only getting stronger as it gets wet - although for us it is often tears. Our marriage is blessed and I am so thankful.

Love is good. I highly recommend it.

Photo credit Jacek Dolata 2013
My husband and I.