Mom arrived at 8:30 on a recent, bright Monday morning to collect two happy campers. They were looking forward to their vacation at her house as much as we were looking forward to ours at the beach. The emotional hugs I'd received from Annabeth the night before had been spent. Everything was breezy and smiley. "We'll miss you, but it will be a happy miss!" I told the kids in the front yard. That was how my parents used to say it. Their marriage is 35 years old now - 9 months and two weeks older than yours truly.
Curtis and I loaded our small bags (I swear this was the first time I've ever packed light) into the Park and Fly bus and exhaled. Businessmen crowded around us and I felt a teensy bit guilty that we were traveling for fun. We got off the bus at E Terminal, where the international travelers go.
After seven years Mexico had finally called us back. Back then it was for our fifth anniversary. I had taken on an editing project with one of my mom's publishers in order to pay for the whole thing myself. I wanted it to be awesome and I didn't want to feel guilty about how much things cost. It was a great strategy. I haven't made an income in a few years so nowadays I have to rely on my man's generosity.
There was a young couple checking in ahead of us. I knew the second I saw them that they were leaving for their honeymoon. She was impeccably groomed - gorgeous hair, nails done, even tan, no body fat except in the desired places, and a flattering sundress. She was a vision. This is the kind of perfection that takes months to accomplish. If I had any sliver of doubt it was put to rest when she held up her left hand and wiggled her ring finger just so.
I wished I could be that fresh and beautiful for my husband again. I wanted us, once more, to be intoxicated by the newness and by the beginning of everything. But time only works to stretch us farther from that moment when everything was carefully planned and groomed and fashioned and placed and photographed and celebrated wildly.
We spent five days at a gorgeous resort. We saw honeymooners, anniversary celebrators, and wedding parties everywhere we turned. I had a few more of those wishful moments when I saw young brides with perfect bodies, but then my perspective changed. Sometimes that happens when you take a few steps - or a plane ride - back from your life.
The joy of our twelve years together poured out of our hearts, out of our memories. We have built a life, by the grace of God, that is good. We have an endless supply of adventures (and misadventures) to reminisce about. We have a million inside jokes. Most importantly, we have two incredible kids who make us laugh and who make us prouder than we ever knew we could feel.
This is the purpose of that.
I had to trade in my white gown and my honeymoon figure, but what we enjoy now is more fun and even more meaningful than we could have imagined.