He couldn’t just stand by and watch me attempt to kill another washing machine. So, my husband Pete took the sheets and blankets out of my hands and redistributed them in the washer before pouring in the detergent and pushing the start button.
“Happy anniversary,” Pete said and kissed me on the cheek.
“Happy anniversary,” I replied before wandering off to make the bed while he left for work.
This is where I’m supposed to wonder where the passion went. I’m supposed to complain about how after 18 years of marriage, my husband and I have fallen into a rut because we’re lost under the laundry and the kids’ activities, blah, blah, blah, whine, whine, whine. But I won’t. I just can’t.
When my alarm clock went off 18 years ago this morning, my maid of honor, Diane, who’d been sleeping in the other bed, mumbled, “Holy S%#@.” And so began my Big Day, which included being escorted down the aisle by my father at 11 a.m., dancing with friends and family at a reception that had to end by 5 so the dinner crowd could come in, and hanging out in a club with friends that evening after ditching the dress for casual clothes.
Was it the best day of my life? No. Though it was a wonderful day indeed, the best was yet to come, as the song says. So, too, was the worst. That’s why my heart aches for the young couple in my wedding photos. They have no idea what’s coming in another 16 years. Cancer was our mid-life crisis, and we are forever changed for it. Like Diane said, “Holy S%#@.”
One day two years ago, I was in my hospital room undergoing a second five-day infusion of chemotherapy and talking to my friend, Jenna. Suddenly, Pete showed up unannounced, having left work in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week, and proceeded to sit in a chair by the window and read a newspaper he’d brought along for my roommate and me. He didn’t say much, but he didn’t have to.
“It’s like you’re his source of energy. You’re his Sun,” Jenna later said. Yes, and he is mine.
Cancer could have ruined my marriage. It could have driven us apart, but instead, it brought us closer. I can’t tell you why, because I really don’t know what the secret is. I just know that when Pete held my hand as we drove home Saturday night after celebrating our 18th anniversary that this is, indeed, a Happy Anniversary. I like to believe that the best is still yet to come, and that I’ll be around for many, many more anniversaries — certainly long enough to kill yet another washing machine or two.
P.S. I’ll be appearing tonight at 9 p.m. ET on The Stupid Cancer Show to talk about parenting with cancer.