Our hands joined on our wedding day, Bunny, Bearli (with one eye, shy like his Poppy), Bianca, and Biancina witness our union.
Nine years ago, on the ninth of January 2010, Claudio and I were married. In a tiny ceremony whipped up in three days with Dizee (of the Irish coffee), my dress was borrowed, and it was the coldest day on record for decades in Mississippi where we fled the Swiss bureaucracy to have our simple wedding. While next year is what is traditionally a “big” anniversary, for me 9 on the 9th is big too. Helk, for me, any wedding anniversary is big. For two wandering souls who never imagined to be married, even boycotted it with all of our might, it is a miracle we did so in the first place, and a miracle every day we face together.
One of the extraordinary gifts of living in our little pocket of Switzerland, for me of living anywhere for more than two years consecutively, is continuity. Over these years I have had the chance to experience myself and others in a new way, from the standpoint of staying. As will soon be chronicled for children, going, moving, leaving, has always been easy, I am Houdini. Staying is a stretch. Since I was 17 years old, I have been on the move. My wanderlust has led me to live in five countries and explore dozens of far flung places, marriage never entered my picture. Possibly the models around me as a child influenced my ideas, there did not seem much success or happiness in the institution of marriage. Perhaps, my willful insistence on total freedom inhibited me. Whatever the case, there was no one more surprised than me by my choice to marry, and it was a choice. While Claudio will say, “we had to” - legally my staying in Switzerland had come down to marry or go – marrying was a conscious choice for me to stay. To my complete surprise, staying can be as wild and adventurous as wandering.
2018 has been a challenging year personally and professional and still we traveled for pleasure at break neck speed, Spain four times (beginning with a trip this time last year to Seville for our 8th wedding anniversary where Bunny met the 3 kings), France twice, India for 6 weeks, Rome 2-3 times, and the Dolomites for what was a sort of honeymoon time for us. In between trips to Como, Milan, and random places Italian and Swiss.
2019 will be a different kind of challenge as I enter new aspects of my professional self; publishing, teaching again in new venues and contexts, a new application of my love to travel as an international tour director, and yet to be seen possibilities related to these endeavors. Will the foundation of our marriage withstand these external changes? Have we built enough infrastructure together to continue to grow together, even when we grow in various directions, degrees, and paces?
It took an extraordinary man to capture my heart, one as willful and committed to his own freedom as me. This combination can make for an explosive daily life and has introduced me to my own depth and style of commitment. As a loyal libra I inherently have a high capacity for devotion, and this is where marriage makes a difference. We have friends from diverse cultures and backgrounds who have been married for 39, 40, even 50 years and the one thing they all agree on is that marriage is work. Bloody hell it is and, thank goodness.
What I have learned in these short nine years, is that the work of marriage is heart work in a practical and tangible way. It is that no matter what I know, I still have a lot to learn.It is the commitment to love and forgive, self and other. It is the deep heart wrenching love that makes the happiness and health of another mean you would even give them up if that is what truly made them happy. It is the maturity to know the difference between the “thing” and the approach to the “thing”. The thing being any one of countless situations, items, problems, wishes, arguments, or principles, the approach being do I come at this from a place of love or ego (fear)?
In my India post I opened with the lines “Love is the only way”. For 2019 I recommit to this belief with a deeper intensity than ever. I have seen the difference love makes. The things will always be there, life happens, love grows and shows the way.
Happy Anniversary my love.