Please Pass the Calamine

This summer Charles and I celebrate 17 years of the married life. All together, we have been the best of friends for 20 years, and on most days, it seems like it was just ‘last week’ that we met.

We are a well paired team, one in which our individual skills, talents and qualities balance out the weaknesses or rough spots of the other. We have become so seamless in our relationship that one of us can easily anticipate the thoughts and actions of the other.
It wasn’t always that way; it did take a long time for us to develop this precious skill. I believe that Charles’s bottomless well of patience has had more to do with it than anything. Lord knows that with any other I would have been served my ass on a platter too many times to count.
There is a classic story that demonstrates the depths of Charles’s patience. It is a true indication of his character, and it is a story that my sister, were she alive, could attest to.
Our home is a tri-level and our living room has a large 2-story vaulted ceiling. The previous owners had ‘recently’ redecorated the home using a cappuccino brown paint on all the walls, save for the large wall at the end of the room. That one stretches from floor to ceiling with nary a window, architectural point of interest; nothing. Just a long blank looming wall.
In reflecting on it, I’m not sure what decade counted as ‘recently’ in the world of real estate, as the wallpaper on that mammoth structure was a white, beige, and gold flake portrayal of aspens and deer. It literally had white ‘textural’ strings that ran vertically down the wall, designed perhaps as a way to introduce interest.
After living in our home for nearly two years and after a number of conversations about redecorating that went no where, one night at dinner I calmly set my fork down, got up and walked over to the wall that had the longest section of wallpaper, bent down, teased a corner of the paper away from the wall, and calmly, but efficiently, pulled the entire strip down. After rolling it up and setting it on the floor, I silently returned to the table and began eating as though nothing occurred.
AunT stared at the two of us, her eyes bugging. Any normal man would have gone completely berserk and would have gotten ‘into it’ with me. But not Charles. No. Having witnessed all of this, he heavily sighed, and quietly said, “Well. I guess we are painting the house this weekend.”
And paint we did, over the course of several weeks. He naturally, chose the colors. But that’s what makes us such a good team. We each know what is most important to the other.
Over the course of our life together, we have climbed mountains together, slogged through valleys, each helping the other as it was needed. Now that our children have grown older, and we approach the point where the “seven year itch” becomes a reality for so many, it is easy to see how such a number of the couples that we know, love and respect have succumbed to the pressures and wanderlust of this point of their marriage. For many, it’s been a fork in the road of their marriage only to separate and move onto other lives.
I’m not what I would consider a romantic, at least when it comes to the cards that we exchange. I can never seem to find the right words that convey how special Charles is, or how much a part of me he has become. Unlike me, he always finds the right words, the right tone of card to give me, the right gift to go along with it, and the right moment in which to present them.
But I can say this. I would not be who I am nor where I am on this path of life were it not for his love and support, and even though I drive him crazy, I know that so long as we each draw breath, we will be together. I love you my darling, my heart is yours so long as it beats. I look forward to what life has in store for us, and knowing that you will be by my side is a greater comfort that you can ever know.
Happy anniversary love.

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