I remember May 23 of 1992 fairly well.
It was a Saturday. I woke up at my parents’ house around 7 that morning, having moved out of my Back Bay studio apartment three days earlier. I did a four-mile run down Brook and Maple Streets, the same route I still do once in a while these days. We were having a late-spring heat wave that year; temperatures were already approaching 80 when I went running, and reached 90 before the day ended.
Later there was an appointment at a hair salon – a rare occurrence, for me – and a private Mass, arranged by Rick’s parents and hosted by mine on their screen porch, celebrated by a priest who was one of Rick’s grandparents’ best friends. Non-Catholics that we are, no one in my family knew that we should have bread ready when the Communion part came; my mother dashed into the kitchen at the last minute and rounded up a few pita pockets to get the job done. The priest looked bemused.
And then my sisters and I put on our dresses and headed to the Concord Academy chapel.
Yesterday, May 23 of 2013, was a lot different from that day. Instead of unseasonably hot and sunny, it was mild, cloudy and humid. I woke up at 5:10 for a stationary bike workout and then made breakfast. I administered antibiotics and ointment to the dog, who is recovering from eye surgery. Rick and I together attended an event in Holly’s fifth grade classroom, and then he went off to study for a certification exam while I loaded the car for a trip to the transfer station. Later I worked on some articles until it was time to head to my afternoon office job.
May 23 is our wedding anniversary; yesterday it was 21 years to the day since Rick and I became a legal entity. Comparing the two days, the one 21 years ago sounds a lot lovelier. Sleeping late instead of attending to pets’ medical needs; churches and salon visits instead of trash collection and office time. And yet as most married people soon discover, it’s the days of absolute normalcy that end up seeming to spell happiness far more than the big flashy occasions. Our wedding day was joyful….but so was yesterday. It was fun getting to be princess for a day back then….but it’s also fun getting to be mom every day now.
Our wedding day culminated in dinner and dancing and lots of well-wishing before we headed into the city to stay at an airport hotel for the night; we were boarding an early flight to Venezuela the next morning. Yesterday after work, Rick and the kids met me at Legal Sea Foods, where the four of us have made it a tradition over the past several years to celebrate our anniversary. We got home from dinner in plenty of time for Rick to conduct a business call, the kids to finish their homework, and me to return some emails.
Wedding days can and should be fabulous, but anniversaries are often about celebrating the ordinary. I was more comfortable in my everyday clothes yesterday than I was in my wedding dress, even if I probably looked a little better at age 25 than 46. Still, yesterday was a fine day. We’ve been very lucky, blessed with a beautiful wedding day and 21 anniversaries since then. I hope there are many more to come, though that may be a lot to ask for when we’ve been so fortunate already. But last night we all had seafood and clam chowder and came home happy. It was a fine way to celebrate a wonderful occasion, many years after the fact.