Yesterday was our 20th wedding anniversary. In this day and age, twenty years of marriage is just about recognised as a statistical achievement, and so, despite us being quite the unceremonial couple, I’ll take the opportunity to acknowlege the milestone. (“Getting all d & m on me?” he’ll say.)
Most of our anniversaries to date have been sidelined a bit by a certain person’s birthday; last night we said ‘bugger it’, and went out for dinner for the second night in a row. It’s nice to have reached the point in our lives with children where we can just head out for a few hours without worrying about babysitting issues. It was also nice to be able to spend a short amount of time together with no interruptions. That doesn’t seem to happen too much, and I suppose that’s the whole idea of ‘going out for dinner’ on these sort of occasions. (I try not to think about what else $100 could have bought!)
I was mentioning this auspicious occasion to my classmates at TAFE this week, along with the ‘day before’ timing of the sixteen year old’s arrival into this world. Bless their Generation Y hearts, they did some maths, and were interested in the fact that there was a four year lapse between us getting married and the arrival of the first kid. Unusual these days, it seems.
“We also went out for three and a half years before we got married,” I said. And added: “We didn’t live together beforehand either.”
“Wow! That’s really unusual!” one said. “How did you know you’d be able to, like, cope with living together and all that ?”
“Ah well, we always reckoned if we could cope with paddling 5 day canoe marathons together, marriage would be a walk in the park,” I joked. Half-joked, anyway.
Back then, living together wasn’t quite as prevalent as it is now. While we holidayed together, and spent more than one night together once we were out of home in share houses, it wouldn’t have been an easy road with our families, so we just.. didn’t. Also, after living in share accommodation, moving in together at last was comparative bliss, and not a bad way to start a marriage!
How long one would require this ‘living together’ experiment to go on for, anyway? The hardest years for us came well down the track, after kids, really. Maybe the canoe marathons did set us up, after all, to tackle the challenges, and to know that there would be difficult periods to be overcome, times when you would feel like giving up and saying ‘it’s all too hard’, but knowing that the rewards of sticking to something you’d committed to were all worth it in the end.
Unlike a canoe marathon, there is no particular finishing line to aim for once you hitch your lives together, except that, twenty years ago, when we were doing those marathons, I’d look at the ‘old’ couples – 60-70 years of age, giving us a run for our money in their double kayaks, and I’d think “I want us to be still doing that together at that age.”
After navigating a few of the harder sections of this river of married life, I’d like to think we are still on track.
But, milestone though it is, don’t go expecting such things as eternity rings, jeweller, flowers or the like to have exchanged hands between us. Hopelessly Unromantic R US.
Lately, rather than double kayaks, we like to spend time together on our tandem. There are certainly parallels to the double kayak in terms of working together, and communicating well, often through nothing more than intuition. You just don’t usually get as wet.
Anyway, in the next few weeks we’ll be purchasing front panniers for our tandem, so that we can take off on a 5-day tandem touring trip in July, just the two of us. So, we’ll consider the panniers our anniversary gift to each other, as will be the luxury of spending that time together.
And I’ll certainly be marketing it as our 20th anniversary getaway in negotiations when asking the grandparents to put up with the kids for a few nights.
Our ceremony was on a lookout in the Blue Mountains. It’s an interesting story I might get around to telling one day!