The Story of Us

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Most of you have already moved on from Memorial Day weekend, but I’m still recovering. My husband and I spent hours upon hours in the garden–planting, moving, watering, lamenting the fact that one of us believes holiday weekends are for work and the other of us has the gall to believe they’re for fun and relaxation.

As you may have guessed, the lamenting belonged to me. My husband believes lamenting, much like relaxation, is a waste of time and effort. Time and effort should be spent in the pursuit of a diy project that will inevitably require 23 trips to Home Depot. And at least as many to the local garden center.

I assure you, I never expected this to become the story of my life. I never expected to find myself in dirt up to my elbows, never expected the sore back created by the constant curve of my body towards the soil, head bowed against the sun. I didn’t anticipate the long conversations regarding the merits of begonias vs impatiens. Or my well versed plant knowledge for deer resistance. For watering strategies. For the release of ladybugs to control the aphids.

Next week, we will celebrate nineteen years of marriage, and the story of our life together continues to lay open pages full of surprises. The chapters we spent living in Europe? Never saw those coming. The three kids with their father’s sense of humor and my flair for the dramatic? Longed for, planned for, but the arc of their story is a wild ride to some unknown finish. The home with the never-ending birdsong and the horse farm behind and the knock-out roses that go on for ages? The loveliest, most unexpected surprise of all.

It feels like a dream sometimes, like it isn’t possible to squeeze this much happiness into one married life. And then the kids forget everything we taught them, and the flies rise up in the garden like a plague out of Egypt, and we see nothing eye to eye, and I lose my mind, and he goes through a funk, and the dreams we counted on and planned for never write themselves into paragraphs and pages.

That’s when real life gets Real. And the joy returns as we revisit the surprises, the unexpected, the dreams we never knew we had that somehow found their way into the story of our nineteen years. Because even when it’s hard, any story, even a bumpy one, is better than a book without the two of us holding hands across the pages.


  • Jill Clem

    My husband and I are celebrating our 30th anniversary this June and for the life of me I cannot understand how that much time has gone by. Ups & downs, arguments & making up, consoling & celebrating, hard work & lazy vacations, old jobs & new jobs, 3 kids, 4 grandkids, 2 dogs, 2 cats, a turtle, numerous fish and hermit crabs. Life has been full and blessed! Thank you for sharing this!!

  • Such a good take on marriage and how the bumpy road seems to be chaotic highs and lows. I think I have pretty much figured out that I will never be one of those truly chill peaceful people, which exhausts Tim because the pursuit of that is his main life goal. But you are right, a life shared brings out good surprises once we have learned to rub off each other long enough.