Thursday, December 2, 2010


It's our fourth anniversary. According to Google and People Who Know Such Things, that makes it our fruit and flowers anniversary. I'm not sure we'll pull it off, even though it's just about the only one whose symbols are exactly the same things we might get anyway. My husband and I are the least rebellious people in the world, but we just don't do tradition. I think that part of our brains is missing.

Four years ago today, my husband and I got married outdoors. I walked through the winding walkway at a school amphitheater, which isn't really traditional but made a gorgeous aisle. Our pictures were taken by my sister's then-boyfriend (now husband), who was a great sport about taking the shots and and even better sport about me bossing him around about taking the shots. (We did end up with a disproportionally large amount of shots of my sister, but that was pretty cute.) Again, not terribly traditional, but they all had the kind of perfect imperfection you get with being comfortable around the camera. Before the ceremony, I came downstairs to find my ex-boyfriend's father ironing my wedding dress in the kitchen.

Nothing was traditional about the wedding, really, other than the general structure of it and the vows (the preacher had repeatedly scorned people "who think they're being all funny with their vows," so we figured we'd better not). My brother gave me away in the rehearsal, and my mom filled in at the wedding. My son was "married" to us during the ceremony as well. During various parts of the wedding, the musical flow was maintained only by shooting death glares to a rather clueless friend on a boombox, who was mostly clueless because Aaron and I had only that morning decided on the music.

My point is, we don't really do tradition. We don't avoid it, really, we just don't seem to get it. But the thing is, we're not what anyone would consider unconventional. We're boring.

I sometimes start telling parts of it with something like "It's a long story..." The ex-boyfriend's dad in my kitchen. My son in the ceremony. The school setting. Something else I just started typing, then figured it's someone else's deal and I'd better not tell the whole world, but it's a "long story" story, trust me. But truly? The stories are just odd, not really long or complicated. It's just the way it is. At least most couples who don't do tradition are exciting or exotic. We don't even hold to that tradition.

I've known Aaron since we were eleven. We were best friends for a summer, and he tried to flirt with me, though I didn't speak boy back then.

Then, we fell out of touch several years. We met again. I dated his best friend. Then Aaron and I dated, for four or five years. (See what I mean? I don't know even how long it was. I never kept track of our "dating anniversary.") We were engaged. Then we weren't.

I lived life. Made some good decisions, and a bunch of not-so-good ones. Worked with Aaron's mom, which was pretty darn awkward. I had a kid.

He dated my sister. I dated his best friend (the same one) again. I don't really remember the timing on all of that, but later, we just started being together all the time, and it was pretty nice. My son loved him, and I guess I figured out I did too. Finally on New Year's Eve in a parking lot, we admitted we were dating. My mom already knew. She was quite smug about it.

And then, four years ago, we married. Now we're really happy.

That's really the whole story. I've always wondered why it never feels quite as adventurous to me as people seem to think it must have been. Like I'm leaving out some hugely tumultuous time of wild indiscretion, hi-jinks, and hard-learned lessons. We have adventure stories along the way, but Our Story is really pretty boring, if unconventional.

We have fun talking about how he melodramatically pawned the first engagement ring (angrily fist-squashed into an oval), how he "dated both sisters" (a sure-fire way to gross out my brother), or how my growing illegitimate pregnancy alarmed the church ladies, but we never seem to get beyond that. We're not particularly good at avoiding it, but we're Teflon-coated or something when it comes to drama. It happens to us, but never seems to define us.

I sometimes think something's wrong with us -- shouldn't we have at least the occasional emotional-rage-turned-sweet-passion? He responds to this contention as though I've asked shouldn't we have the occasional unnecessary amputation, so I've quit voicing the concern. I think I've even quit feeling it. It's not really about settling for comfort over excitement. Really feeling comfortable with someone, enough to be wholly oneself. Freedom. Security. Release. Isn't that what people are really after when they're doing all the exciting stuff? Drunken philosophizing, spectacularly bad relationships, elaborately planned adventures that turn sour. It's all done in pursuit of the prize I already have.

I'm the most boring rebel in the world. I married the runner up.

I'm pretty damn lucky.