Posted by: Kate | October 14, 2009

Happily and Gratefully Smug

I tend to doubt if, nine years ago, the majority of friends, family and acquaintances within our general sphere would have placed money on the “they’ll stick it out” side of things.   (Which makes me wish I’d started a betting pool then, because the odds were decidedly in the other direction so I’d have pulled in a decent take by now.)

I know that at least some of the well-wishes received on the wedding day were more along the  lines of wishful-thinking (or perhaps even, yeah-right) than wishes-come-true.  That people who knew us from the turbulent college days, knew that we’d had a hard time staying together for more than six or eight months in a row before we split up for a while, got back together, split up again… Even those who didn’t know us, as a couple, knew that we were 24 and 22, with a 6-month-old in tow, and by the Year 2000 standards, that was really young to be getting married.  How on earth could we be grown up enough to piece together a relationship and parenthood when we hadn’t lived those crazy, wild-oats-sowing 20s?

And there were some – a small minority, but a vocal and obvious contingent – who openly hoped that we would not work it out.  Who whispered to our daughter, when she began to fuss at the reception, “I know, baby… I’m sad, too.”  Or who whispered to their table-mates, over $8-a-plate dinners because we couldn’t afford better on our budget, some of the more sordid details of the prior relationship.  There will always be some who wish, in a distant and impersonal sort of way, for others to fail just for the sake of the gossip and stories.

Most, though, hoped – even if they didn’t truly believe – that we would work things out.  They saw something between us that was worth cultivating, something that could become strong and true and so dependable as to be boring.  Since he and I were in this particular camp (including the doubts), I’m awfully glad this is the group that turned out to be right.

It wasn’t just me that was right, though sometimes it’s easy to fall back into that holier-than-he sort of position.  After all, he had done some mightily unpleasant, hurtful things, and I needed to develop a healthy numbness and ability to distract myself from those topics.  Plus, I had a choice in suitors; not still on that particular day – no worries about an angst-filled Mrs. Robinson scene for us – but there was another road I could have taken.  I had to make some specific, deliberate choices that led me down that particular aisle on that particular day, and it was a long time before I could really be sure that I’d made the right ones.

But it wasn’t just me.  He could have chosen differently, as well.  Perhaps there wasn’t a single other contender for his affections in the same way, but he has never been a man who lacked for companionship.  There was a lifestyle, one that most – nearly all – of his friends chose, which was open to him; a lifestyle of bars and partying instead of diapers and monogamy.  He could have taken that choice, and no one would have thought the worse of him for it.  He chose, instead, to leap through the spiritual equivalent of decades, to stop being 17 overnight, to grow up and step up and be the intimidatingly responsible adult it took to stick it out through a stormy relationship and the vagaries of parenthood.

So we were both right.  And now – nine years later – we’re both smug about it.  Happily ensconced into our boring, predictable, responsible life, with children and debt and more of both on the way.  Grateful to know that we’re in this for the long haul, in no danger of having to dive back into the dating pool again.

It’s (still) good to be right.

Happy 9th anniversary, Willem. I love you.

In reading over past anniversary posts, I found this one, from 2007, to be kind of hilarious…



  1. Congratulations and happy anniversary.

  2. You’ve earned the right to be a bit smug 🙂 In this day and age, 9 years is the new 25 when it comes to anniversaries. Congrats 🙂

  3. Congrats and happy anniversary. Hope you have a lovely day/night!

  4. Mazel tov and happy anniversary!

  5. Happy anniversary!

  6. Awesome. Happy 9th!

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