Yesterday marked 12 years of being married to Ben.
This summer has made me think about what I truly love the most about this life with Ben.
For a few weeks before my birthday in July, I daydreamed about what kind of fantastic birthday date Ben and I would go on. I thought about what kind of restaurant I most wanted to eat at, and what we might do after.
But then life happened, and on my birthday, Ben and I went to his grandma’s funeral.
It was a hard week. Ben was very close to his grandparents when he was younger, and even though I didn’t know his grandma very well, I didn’t need to, in order to know she was amazing.
So we made it through the week, and even though it’s hard to deal with death, I was glad to be there with Ben. I wanted to be there, working through all the emotions and layers of stuff that reveals itself during times like that.
A week later, we finally had the chance to go on my belated birthday date.
We did a little bit of shopping first, and then we went out for sushi. Ben wouldn’t tell me what else we were doing, which I found very strange. We drove downtown, and got there earlier than Ben had expected, so we meandered into different stores, with Ben trying to be all casual about why we weren’t just getting on with whatever the surprise was.
Turns out the surprise was Cirque du Soleil. His parents bought us tickets, and it was an unforgettable experience. I kept catching myself with my jaw hanging open in amazement. It was insane. (In the best way possible.)
We had such a great evening together.
It was slightly strange and very interesting to go through those two experiences so close together – grieving the end of a life, and then going to the circus to marvel at the capabilities of the human body at its height of strength and achievement.
Those two experiences reminded me of what my favorite thing is about being with Ben. We have gone through many highs and lows together in the last 12 years. We’ve been face with many challenges, and we figure things out. We are together in whatever is happening.
Life is happy, and Ben is there. Life is hard, and Ben’s there.
This sharing of life is so much better than I ever thought it would be, no matter what it is we are going through.
So how do you do to celebrate 12 years of life together?
It seems to require something big and extravagant, but right now our budget is not allowing loads of extravagance. No trip to Europe for this anniversary!
In the end, we went out for supper at a favorite restaurant, and then went to the park, like we always used to do when we were dating.
It was a golden evening. The sun was just right, and the geese were out in great numbers to provide entertainment. We walked and talked, and sat and talked, and we celebrated life by simply living it.
We will continue to have highs and lows, and what else is there to do, other than ride them together, accepting this life for what it is? Getting through the lows, knowing they won’t last forever, and celebrating the highs, recognizing them as little tastes of heaven.
Twelve years ago, I thought it was a pretty good idea to get married to Ben.
Now I know it was one of the very best decisions I’ll ever make in this life!
(If you feel like reading about how we met, I shared that story here and here!)