Love is an untidy, unfolding story
"Happy Anniversary" flashed the message on my phone as it sat on a kitchen counter smudged with waffle batter and covered with grapes and cups of coffee and orange juice.
My body was aching, my back and feet screaming at me from a week of scheduling madness, keeping me and my big belly on the road and in late at night. I had one more thing that evening, one more thing and then next week would be calmer, I promised.
My husband was in the living room watching Edie twirl and sing "Twinkle, Twinkle," and I looked over at him, my eyebrows contorted toward the ceiling in surprise.
"It's our anniversary!" I said loudly, with a hint of despair in my voice as I set down the bowl of batter for a minute to collect my thoughts. "Oh my gosh, it's our anniversary."
"Yup. Yup, it is," he replied with a laugh, because clearly, the thought hadn't crossed his mind either.
Not this morning anyway. Not today. The day we were married.
So 11 years is apparently the threshold where we need to be reminded about a relationship milestone in a text message from my maid of honor. How long would we have gone before realizing it? All day? All month? Are we beyond celebrating these kinds of things now, too wrapped up in this messy life to take a moment to commemorate how we got ourselves into this whole thing in the first place?
A proper couple should be mortified, shouldn't they? And I don't know if this is good or bad, but it just seemed like we were both a bit relieved, like, "look at us, we're so in tune with one another that we forgot the same important milestone," or something like that.
Chad picked Edie up and gave her a little tickle, and she went giggling down the hallway and I finished making waffles.
And that was that. We were off the hook on gifts, on a fancy dinner, on changing out of my maternity yoga pants (me, not him).
Funny though, I didn't even feel like we needed to make up for it really, because, well, love is just...so...untidy.
I've known this for a long time, but sometimes I put too much pressure on it to look more like a glowing embrace under the twinkling stars than the leftover chicken supper he cooked for our daughter while I was away at a meeting last night.
But who would have thought that leftover chicken could feel like a hug under those twinkling stars, because it means you have someone, under your roof, who has you and has your back and supper and bedtime under control when you can't.
So I went to the grocery store the next day and picked him up some crab legs anyway, a meal that has become an anniversary tradition for us. We cracked them open sitting at the counter in our sweatpants listening to Edie sing herself to sleep before turning in ourselves, hunkering down on the middle chapters of our practical, imperfect little love story.