WARNING: This is not particularly funny. More schmaltzy, with a touch of melodrama.
Yesterday Jay and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary on the 13th of the month. Traditionally, 13 has had a somewhat sordid past. Hotels avoid a 13th floor and Friday the 13th can apparently cause the mass murders of stupid teenagers. I think this bad image has something to do with there having been 13 people at the Last Supper before Jesus was crucified, but there’s probably some pagan ritual from the Celts in there as well. I don’t really care, honestly.
What I do care about is that we’ve made it this far. I have lived a lot of my life waiting for the other shoe to drop. My childhood, and Jay’s as well, taught us early on that life can turn on a dime. Each milestone, each year that we make it without disaster amazes and humbles me.
Both sets of our parents got kicked in the teeth in their 30s. Jay’s mom and dad went out on a date one Friday night in February and his father died in the movie theater. Suddenly. We’ll never really know why. Jay was 8.
My father began his overt fight with mental illness while my mother was pregnant with my brother. No one knew what to say, his illness wasn’t considered a medical disability at the time, and we spent a lot of time with Daddy in hospitals on floors we were too young to visit. My mother had to drag 4-year-old me screaming from the hospital that Daddy is NOT sick, I can see him right there.
But nothing has happened to us so far. We’ve had three children without incident. We’re older than both my mom and dad were when my dad got sick. We are older than Jay’s mom was when she became a widow. And yesterday, we were married longer than Jay’s parents were before his father died.
Jay is still younger than his father was when he died and I am still younger than my mother was when she developed her own near-fatal illness, but we’ve passed a lot of the milestones I really didn’t think I’d see without some sort of disaster. I wish I could say that I now live without the fear and I just enjoy every day as it comes, but I am not that peaceful.
I am so grateful for what I have and I am stunned that it has all gone so well so far, but I still get afraid of what is around the corner. I’m hopeful for our future, whatever that may hold. I am excited that I get to share my life with my best friend and I am glad I made such a good choice when I was still more kid than adult.
That other shoe could totally fall and beat me about the head and shoulders, but for right now, 13 feels lucky.