“Happy Anniversary” he said to me when he got up, coffee in hand, joining Plum and I on the porch. My reply got lost in the dog’s delighted greeting of their master, as though they hadn’t slept by his side all night. Plum had the keys to Chef’s new car, ready to explore and take a ride. Our day began, as usual, with our relationship, 16 years of marriage, 4 years together before that, struggling to find a moment alone.
A quick kiss, a hug, then I headed to the shower, to get ready for work, finishing payroll then off to a meeting at church. I made it home in time for my Chef to race out the door for his day at work. Another quick kiss, a hug, amidst the dogs and boy who clamored for my attention this time.
While Chef was working, in between snacks, water and mud play, spilled milk in the refrigerator, swinging my Plum up to the moon on his new playset, building ultimate Lego blaster machines, washing dogs and the boy, I worked on my gift to Chef. Several months ago, when we had a rough talk, he mentioned that there were no pictures of us anymore around the house. Pictures of our adventures, pictures celebrating our times together. Among all the other things I took away that day, this comment really hit me. When had I removed all those? Why? Certainly I had pictures of our Plum up, and I knew I had removed pictures of our Stella, finally just unable to see her smiling face daily and still look forward. Somewhere along the way, I had stopped rejoicing in us, in our shared history, our relationship. Those pictures are reminders of how far we have come, of better days, of who we are. My gift to Chef for our anniversary was fixing this, amidst the chaos of our home.
I had great plans originally, Pinterest lured me in, plastering one whole wall with photos. It looks amazing on my boards, I have saved several images. I contacted Janet just to check some execution issues, given my history with Pinterest. She said no. There were longer pauses, some evaluative questions, a bit of thoughtful wondering. Really she was saying, you are crazy, get rid of Pinterest, you know this will end in disaster. Her gentle prodding in another direction led to my new plan, one way better suited to my talents and household. I dream big, she keeps my feet a bit closer to the ground, yet helps me reach out. The reworked idea turned out awesome.
After much battling with iPhoto, a trip to the Mac helper guys, I was able to access old pics, so many memories. I sent pictures off to be printed, worried I wouldn’t have enough to fill the huge poster frames I had purchased. So many times together, stored away, forgotten. I could have filled an entire wall. My Chef was so right. As I tried to pare down what to include, I relived those times, my joy meter rising amidst the third change of clothes, the muddy tracks through my kitchen.
I am usually asleep when Chef gets home, this night I willed myself to stay up, in spite of disrupted sleep the night before with Plum who needed milk and comforting and wanted to chat at midnight. I met him at the door, got my greeting in after the pups and then led him through the gallery of our happy days. He drank in each picture, he laughed, he delighted. It was good.
Our hard talk brought me to a new place, a trusting place of listening to my Chef, to what he needs. On this day of our anniversary, we looked back together. We lived out our crazy schedule together. Fortunately we had a weekend away just a few days ago and another coming up. This day, the actual day, didn’t need to have a special dinner out. It was filled with our real life, in pictures and hurried kisses. Thank you Chef for reminding me to look at where we have been, who we are together. Happy Everyday Together, here’s to so many more.