A child born the day my husband Pete and I got married will turn 19 today.
At 19, that “child” can now vote, join the military and run for local office. He or she could be working at Target or on a construction site, or heading to a college class. The child might own a car and maybe even a house. The child might even be a parent.
And yet, 19 as an anniversary appears to be nothing special. We all tend to save that for next year, the big 2-0. Here’s what one of the wedding sites says about the 20th anniversary: “Twenty years of marriage is a major milestone worthy of celebration and remembrances. It marks a lifetime within a lifetime of shared experiences.” As a result, the traditional gift for the 20th anniversary is China.
What about the 19th anniversary? “With no traditional gift association for the 19th wedding anniversary, bronze tops the list of contemporary gift suggestions.” In other words, we get a consolation prize — third place. Perhaps we should be looking at this “Abstract Love” sculpture or a New Orleans Saints Snack Helmet, which isn’t made of bronze but is spray-painted the color bronze, I guess. I’m not entirely sure why it came up in my Google search for “19th anniversary gifts.”
Yet if we stick it out another year, oh the gifts! The traditional anniversary present will be made of china and the modern, platinum. We’re talking $3,000 rings and fine china at $283.20 a place setting. But wait! There’s more! One site suggests: “Take a trip to China for the two of you. If you have the time and can splurge, make it a two-week trip for two decades of marriage.”
I wonder who will get the kids to soccer and saxophone practice while we spend 14 days walking the Great Wall of China in our platinum rings? Oh well.
So the 19th is no big deal to everyone else, but it is to me, especially considering I was bald and in a headscarf for our 16th. Want a lifetime inside a lifetime? Spend your anniversary staring at a radiation machine.
Every year and every anniversary, they matter to us.
Here’s how we’ve celebrated our 19th so far: Pete texted me to wish me a happy anniversary. I texted him back the same. Then he reminded me that the guy is coming to fix the roof today.
Didn’t see the romance in there? Why does it only count if it’s displayed with jewels and trips to far away lands? It seems to me that if you can make it to 19 years and still talk to each other, still love each other, still enjoy the mundaneness of fixing roofs and wondering if there’s enough milk for dinner tonight, you’ve done something right. That’s a luxury in itself, a regular, uneventful Tuesday as a married couple with kids in the suburbs. After all we’ve been through, it’s exactly what we need for the big 1-9.
So number 19 falls short, according to everyone else. To us, it’s another year together, another year here. And that’s plenty reason to celebrate however we want to, with or without the bronze.
Happy Anniversary, Pete. The roof guy is here.