Today my husband, Bob Thomas, and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary. We’ve been married 8 years. Practically newlyweds, considering our (sh!) ages. But, of course, there’s a story behind every marriage. Our story began April 1, 1968. (Yes, we know. April Fools’ Day.)
We were both young college graduates working in the same office in lower Manhattan a block from where the World Trade Center was being built. I came from Maine and New Jersey; Bob was born in the Bronx but grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, where his father’s office was. (He often says if you were born anywhere in the United States in the 20th century you’ve used up all the luck a person deserves. He’s seen refugee camps.) We both loved talking about politics and books over wine and cheese. He was recently married. We became friends as well as colleagues.
Three years later he took the photographs at my wedding.
Mine was a short-lived marriage, and after both our marriages were over, we fell in love. Maybe we’d loved each other before that.
But our dreams weren’t headed in the same direction. I’d decided to adopt children, and my job tied me to the New York/New Jersey area where my job was and where I could support my family. Soon my mother moved in with me for a few months each year. And then longer. She and Bob didn’t get along.
Bob was restless; he accepted jobs in zip codes far and wide. He got to know my growing family when his work took him to New York. He’d stay a year or two, but then would leave, off on another job; another possibility. We loved each other, but we didn’t love the lives the other had chosen.
My four daughters grew up. By then Bob and I weren’t in touch. I continued caring for my mother. I left corporate life, moved to Maine, and began writing full-time, as I’d always dreamed I would. Bob left his job to care for his mother until she died of pancreatic cancer. Then he married. His wife died, also of pancreatic cancer, only months after his mother’s death.
Two years later, a short email: “Where are you? How are you? Thinking about you,” brought us together again.
Seven months later my mother died.
Now Bob is painting. I’m writing. We both love living in Maine and being grandparents. We still talk politics and books over wine and cheese. Finally, our dreams have taken us down the same path.
Eighteen months after that short email, Bob and I went quietly to the town hall in Wiscasset and were married. It was 12,994 days after we’d first met.
Happy anniversary, my dearest friend and husband. You, and this life we’ve made together, were worth waiting for.