1972: We part after the school year is done after having been attached at the hip since October 1971. I am awful at goodbyes. I know in my heart that I love this girl deeply; the thought of not being with her destroys me. I cannot stand saying goodbye so I bolt after I kiss her soulfully, jump into my car and drive back to NYC. To add insult to injury the song “Sealed with a Kiss” is playing on the radio as I drive down the highway; I am sobbing. I am a 20 year old guy. I have no tissues in the car to blow my nose into. I do what any 20 year old guy would do. I take off a sock and blow my nose in my sock, driving back to the city barefoot.
1973: We gather my family from NYC and bring them to a little country church in Vermont on a 99 degree day with 99% humidity to meet her rural Vermont family at our wedding. During the ceremony we leave the doors open to let air in the steaming church. There is no air to let in . . .the only thing that gets let in is a big old wet and muddy labrador retriever who sits patiently in the aisle during the ceremony and discretely leaves before we retreat down the aisle. We tour rural Quebec on our honeymoon. Our High School French doesn’t help us much. . I am 22 and she is 21... we are so young and the sex on the honeymoon was terrible. Thank god we liked to talk LOL. We return to college, she has her senior year to finish and I am in graduate school and working for the university. I am making $57 per week, we are poor but soooo happy.
1974: First anniversary …we decide to go away. We go to Lancaster Penna. to Amish country. We spend the weekend eating pickled everything. It isn’t a very romantic time as we are both were totally gassy from eating seven sweets and seven sours all weekend so we walk and hold hands, cuddle and talk a lot LOL.
1975: We go away again. This time we go to the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York. On the way we buy a Scrabble Game. We spend the weekend walking around during the day and playing scrabble at night. We are finally getting to know each others bodies well enough, she is relaxed enough and I am not so much of a bozo so that the sex is really nice. It was a turning point. J establishes a pattern of beating the pants off of me in scrabble. . . I like having my pants beaten off.
1976: We are both miserable. Four months earlier J has a mid pregnancy miscarriage. It is a dark time for both of us. There isn’t much celebration the anniversary is the worst one we don't ever celebrate.
1977: Upset at our situation with jobs and trying to heal from the loss of the baby, we move to Northern Maine. Up there, there are only two things to do: fish and make babies and in the winter you cant fish. Sounds like a great place to start again. We are fucking like crazy with a goal in mind … baby!!!! Many attempts yield minimal success, it stops being fun and becomes work.
1978: Baby success!!!!! We celebrate with company all summer . . . they all come up to see our adorable 2 month old K. She is born in June. It is a glorious anniversary. It is more it is an amazing anniversary; the best so far.
1979: We moved nearer to family in Vermont (to share baby) and buy our first house; we buy a cute little place in New Hampshire. It is a little cottage 3 miles from the nearest house. The house is on a class 3 gravel road, one step up from a logging road. I discover that I can walk around the yard naked in total privacy. Coming from NYC, I think this cool and I do it as many times as I can until J yells at me LOL. J is totally embarrassed at my hijinx but laughs. It is a wonderful summer . . . we have company all summer; I don't walk around naked when we have company though. We leave baby K with her Grammy and we spend our anniversary away for a quick over night in Portland, Maine. Life is good. We are amazed at our exquisite and smart baby and our wonderful marriage.
1980: I start a consulting business 5 months earlier. Money is very tight, we stay home that summer. For our anniversary I make my first attempt at gourmet cooking and we enjoy a sunset meal on our backyard picnic table with wine and candles. It is very romantic. I suggest that we make love in the yard after dinner. J says hell no we’ll get eaten alive by black flies. Life in the Northwoods . . . sheeesh.
1981: Money still tight. The second year of the consulting business is a little better that the first but we still can’t go away for our anniversary. A friend invites us over and makes an anniversary dinner for us. J still won’t make love in the back yard ( I keep trying). The sex is pretty good, but I still have a lot to learn.
1982: We are looking to add a sister for K; only girls of course!!!! We are in baby making mode. Unfortunately every time we get pregnant J has early misses . . . we have two very early losses she gets very anxious. Finally she gets pregnant and is pregnant on our anniversary. I am paranoid that something will happen. We cease having sex, or at least I refuse to have sex. I am afraid of hurting the baby and causing another miss. So it is celibacy from our anniversary until L is born in January 1983. J gets pissed at me but I am a worry wart. Can't help it I hate to see her in emotional pain.
1983: We have made it through 6 hellacious months with baby L and she is now fine; her thyroid medication is under control. As delicate and doll like as K was L is a tough little cookie, but adorable as hell. Our little cottage is getting too small and it is too isolated for two little kids. I want to work at home and I need an office. We begin looking at a bigger house. The consulting business is doing really - really well.
1984: We find the perfect house but it needs an addition to accommodate my office and two more bedrooms. We close on the house July 3 and start construction on July 5th. We put a 1,000 sf addition on a 2600 sf house. It is perfect. We do a lot of the construction on weekends ourselves with a contractor’s direction, in the hope of finishing by Sept 15 when construction financing runs out. Baby L likes to climb ladders and get into sheet rocking compound. What an imp!!! Our anniversary is spent sheet rocking.
1985: It has been a very good consulting year. We decide to celebrate our anniversary as a family. We take the two girls and spend 4 days at the Marriot Long Wharf in Boston. It is a blast. The girls are 2 and 7; as little as L was she was perfect in restaurants and in venues we go to. Amazing amazing anniversary with two adorable little girls. I am in heaven.
1986: Miracle of miracles …. ooops (read the previous blog) J gets pregnant. For the second time she is pregnant on our anniversary; she is 35 and she feels fine but it is harder to carry this time; she is hmmmm huge. My mom is diagnosed with cancer in June. I spend the summer traveling back and forth to NYC to be with her as surgeries and chemo consume her; I balance that with being there for J. I apologize to J but there is no anniversary celebration. She understands.
1987: Sir D is 7 months old on our anniversary. He is cute and docile and so undemanding. The week before our anniversary we have my entire family from across the country at our house for a family reunion. We have 38 people. As a thank you to us for hosting the event my aunts get together and have a huge anniversary cake made and give us a large check as a gift. They all sing to us. I am humbled. The older generation in my family is getting feeble. These people who were my rocks and my support growing up are now frail. I am very sad. My mom has advanced cancer but she holds on and makes it to our house.
1988: My Mom rallies; the lung cancer is in remission. She is weak but ambulatory and getting stronger. The summer is a good one. The kids are all getting bigger. K is 11, L is 5 and D is 1 at our anniversary. The girls mother their baby brother to death. They dress him in funny clothes and wheel him around the yard in a doll stroller. He tests the strength of the doll stroller and is oblivious to whatever they do to him. He loves being included. It is a low key anniversary. It is fatiguing to be parents to 3; there are more of them than there is of us. In January I bring D down to Florida to see his Grandma. We go down alone just the two of us … she is thrilled to see him. It is the last time she sees him. I don’t realize it but she does … it is very hard for her to say goodbye to him when we leave.
1989: We have been married for 16 years; this is our first anniversary that we don’t get an early morning call from my mom with her singing us happy anniversary. She dies the preceeding May. She is the first one of the older generation to go. That summer we celebrate our anniversary but the wind has been taken out of our sails. I sell the consulting business and we have a nice nest egg which gets hatched and put into the house.
1990: We begin to take summer vacations away. We have decided to do them around our anniversary so that we can turn our day into something the kids will appreciate. This first one is taken in a cute little cottage on Lake Champlain. The kids spend the entire week digging in the sand and swimming. It is wonderful and relaxing. J and I spend our anniversary sitting on the porch drinking coffee and watching the three of them each afternoon as the sun sets over the lake. It is a wonderful celebration. We have hot dogs for dinner; clearly it wasn’t about the food.
1991: We go back to the same place on Lake Champlain. K is 14; she offers to babysit so J and I can go out to dinner for our anniversary. We are so touched to think that that is her gift to us. What happened to our first kiddo …she is growing up? J and I have a lovely dinner the kids are angelic when we get back to the cottage.
1992: We go to a cottage in Maine this year. It is a rustic lodge owned by a family friend. There is no fancy celebration this year . . . we sit around a fire pit making s’mores. The girls are really into music they bring a boom box to listen to girl pop singers. We endure listening to teenage girl singers whining about lost loves. We have budding teenagers. They are quickly becoming young ladies . . . no more little girls. J and I pinch ourselves omg what happened to our babies?
1993: We stay home for our 20th. We have a favorite restaurant that we go to. The kids are old enough now that J and I go out to dinner and then go to a park overlooking a local reservoir and sit there watching the moonrise over the water. After all we have been with with the two girls, 20 years seems like a milestone. It is a very reflective anniversary.
1994: K is 16, she convinces us that she and L (at 11) can watch D (6) and that we can go away overnight. So with great trepidation J and I take a quick overnight get away at a little Inn 20 miles away. It is a very romantic night. . champagne, candles the whole works. I am fixed so the sex was carefree and wonderful. For the first time in 21 years I am successfully wrapping my head around this female sexuality mystery. The kids are all in school and J and I have time together to talk and explore each other …it is an awakening for me. Later in 94 I do my eye opening weekend in San Francisco. My life changes and J’s does by default.
1995: We do another get away weekend. This one is a few months after my San Francisco retreat. After a very nice dinner we have the use of one of my board members cottage on a lake for the weekend. It is a wonderful cottage … equipped as nice as most people’s homes. I blossom that first night. I unwrap everything I have learned in the women’s sexuality retreat for my lovely lady that night. Before we even have sex I bring j to two rapturous climaxes; she cums so hard that for the first time ever she screams as the orgasm thunders thru her like a freight train. For the first ime we connect spiritually as we make love . . . it is a moving experience. It has taken us 22 years to get to this point. We talk about what I have learned afterwards. She becomes a supporter of my quest.
1996: As a birthday present, April 1996 J buys me a long weekend in a Zen Retreat. It is focused on mind – body communication. Another dimension is added to my sexual discovery effort; my interest in mmo grows. K spends the summer in France as part of an exchange program. J and I are nervous about leaving L with D alone to go away and celebrate our anniversary … L is a little too much of a risk taker. I begin to seriously get into MMO’s by using Zen. I am marginally successful. J and I have a dinner at home prepared by me. We roast lobsters over an open fire in the fire pit in the back yard and splurge on a fine wine. J has the day off and spends the day relaxing.
1997: One month before our anniversary in June I get a phone call from J that her mother has had a massive heart attack. I rush home and we drive the two hours to the hospital. K is home with the kids, while we spend all night in the hospital. She doesn’t last the night. At 6 AM she is gone. We drove home later that morning to break the news to our kids. They are devastated; both of their grandmothers are gone. J and I are devastated.
One month after the funeral D and I were supposed to leave on out cross country camping trip. J insists that we go. D and I leave for the month of July. When I get back J is in no mood to celebrate our anniversary. It is a somber time. We exchange cards and a kiss.
1998: Our 25th anniversary. Where has the time gone? K is 20 years old, L is 15 and D is 10. Our first is on the threshold of adulthood. We leave them and we take a long week end in Rockport Massachusetts. It is romantic, relaxing and a wonderful escape from the angst of loss that seems to surrounding us; my aunts are passing one after the other and J 's only Aunt and grandmother die that year. I am really getting into my own sexuality and I am getting even deeper into the miracle of female sexual response; I am reading about Kundalini. We are enjoying true intimacy; our bond strengthens, emotionally and sexually. The sex that weekend curls J’s toes and tests the limits of her rational capacity to contain the orgasmic rsponse that I am able to coax from her.
1999: K goes thru her difficult gender id year … we are worried sick about her. That summer we lay low and have a cake and exchange cards. It is a hard summer.
2000: We leave NH where we have been since 1979. We return to where we met in college. We close on the house on July 14 and spend our anniversary continuing to get settled in. We have dinner at a local restaurant; it is a quiet anniversary. We are both tired. We are not as young as we used to be . . . this transition is the hardest one (physically) that we have ever done. My heart starts to make me notice it.
2001: I am in Washington DC for work. For nostalgia purposes I arrange to have J come down and spend a weekend as we did in 1986. We stay at the same hotel. We spend from 8 PM to 9:30 AM the next morning in bed. It is sexy, luxurious and very romantic time . . .thankfully no babies result this time.
2002: We are having serious medical issues with L. The entire summer is lost with hospital stays, myriad doctors and a sick girl. It is the summer from hell. We did not even acknowledge our anniversary.
2003: Another rugged summer dealing with L’s health. I cannot remember that year . . I am not sure what we did. L was in very rough shape again that summer. It is our thirtieth but neither J nor I have the gumption to do anything about it. I lose interest in my sexual discovery. I am heartsick over L’s problems.
2004: My heart condition worsens; it is diagnosed as heading in the wrong direction. It is another sobering summer. Our anniversary is spent celebrating what we have, but in tears with the hand we have been dealt. L is struggling to stay in college and deal with her health issues and I am tethered to the hospital where they watch me every three months waiting for the opportune time to repair me.
2005: Our anniversary is spent with me being admitted to the hospital to mitigate a problem that resulted from my major surgery of 6 months earlier. I am in the hospital for two days after and one day before. The nurses bring us a cupcake with a candle to celebrate. This years was all about heart surgery. At the end of the year L’s problem is diagnosed and she gets treatment which she responds to immediately. It is like the clouds have lifted.
2006: I am back to normal and I feel fine. J and I celebrate our anniverasrywitha weekend in NYC. We spend the time together walking around in New York City, going in galleries, visiting some old haunts of mine from before I met J and going in favorite museums etc. We stay in Midtown Manhattan and have a wonderful time. We go to some plays, we walk in Central Park, I take her to see my old neighborhood and we truly celebrate getting thru the last few years. It had been a rough road. K moves home after being gone since before we left NH. It is wonderful to have her home.
2007: Our anniversary that year is not about our wedding it is about L’s which will be that November. We do a wedding shower for them two weeks before our own anniversary. It is a hectic summer but a really fun one. We see family that year, all of the kids friends, old family friends. I find the whole thing moving to see all these people together.
2008: Thirty five years together. K is 30, L is 25, D is 20. It is staggering. I ask myself where has the time gone? The kids decide that we should all go out together and celebrate. L and her husband leave for Japan at the end of August so we celebrate early so that they have time to get ready. J and I are moved to tears to see all of them sitting around us at the celebration. It is just the 6 of us but J and I are so proud you would think that there were hundreds of people in the room. It goes on the record as a truly memorable day. L and C leave for Japan soon after.
2009: A quiet year. It would have been hard to best the previous one. J and I decide to spend this one alone. We take a short hike a few hours from here and finish in a lovely restaurant over looking a lake. After dinner we sit quietly and look out over the water without saying anything. We don’t have to. We kiss as we leave the restaurant and count our blessings in quiet all the way home.
2010: It is the 9th of August as I sit here writing this. My health issues are looming on the horizon again; and D is almost done with college, he has one more semester. They are 32,27 and 22; omg they have grown up before our eyes!!!!!! Tomorrow we get on a plane to go see our wonderful married pair in Washington. They have been back from Japan for 4 months. They have been married 3 years. Their bond is strong. They have been through a lot together. We see them growing and changing together just as we did; we see ourselves in them. I guess thats what it is all about. It will be a wonderful anniversary celebration for us because we will celebrate ours and theirs as well. It will be a first for us and a wonderful twist on this journey J and I have had together.
This 37 year journey has been a dance with a lovely partner; it has been a stirring and mysterious dance because there has been no choreography. We are guided only by a bond of deep affection, love and respect for each other. The music is just as sweet and moving now as it was so many years ago, when we first came to the dance floor as 20 year olds. But the steps are so much slower and easier now in our late 50’s than they used to be. I know her rhythm, I can read her signals. I know when to step aside and let her shine and when to step in and offer guidance and support so she can wow the crowd with her prowess and her grace. She is more beautiful to me now than she ever was. The older she gets the more elegant she looks and the prouder I am to be seen with her.
AS I think back over all these anniversarie I can't imagine having done this dance with anyone else. I pray that I will always hear the music as strongly as I do now and I hope that my timing is always up to the challenge.
A long time ago I promised that I would be here for her and I am with all the adoration I can muster.
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