fifth times a charm

Dearest husband,

I've been thinking about our previous anniversary disasters celebrations.

Remember our first anniversary? We road-tripped to San Diego, got a gorgeous hotel room right on the beach, had a relaxing dinner al fresco, and then topped off the evening with a bit of champagne. Romance was definitely in the air... until I ran to the bathroom and started puking my guts out. It must have been food poisoning, because for the next 8 hours, I writhed in misery on the cold bathroom floor. I remember you helplessly calling out from the bedroom, asking if there was anything you could do. We drove home the next day, me queasily clutching a plastic bag, just in case.

Undeterred, we tried again for year two, this time staying the weekend in-town at a swanky hotel. It started off unassuming enough -- a little bit of pool-lounging, a little bit of shopping -- until our, um, sparkling personalities decided to explode at exactly the same moment. You remember that fight, don't you? I mean, how could you forget The Great War of 2006? To this day, I can't think of it without cringing in uncomfortable embarrassment. (But, as with most of the fights we've had, I couldn't tell you now what were fighting about. All I know is that if we can survive that, well, then we can survive anything.)

Surely, I thought, SURELY our next anniversary would prove redemptive. The third times a charm, or some such cliched nonsense, right? Wrong. That year, we traveled to the Midwest to stand with your family under the soaring trees of a grand old cemetery. The specialness of "our" day was completely, and rightly, eclipsed by the mourning of your grandfather, who passed away that week after a short battle with cancer.

By the fourth year, I think we wised up (or maybe we were just fed up). Either way, we kept it simple that night, with dinner at a favorite restaurant. A few weeks later we spent the weekend up north in the mountains. Do you remember, after our picnic by the lake, how we got lost and drove for 17 miles on a bumpy dirt road filled with cattle and deer - me clutching my heavily pregnant belly, you wincing as our small sedan got battered and bruised by the unexpected off-roading? Why we didn't turn back, I'll never know.

And now, here we are, just days away from marking the fifth year of our marriage, and the Bad Anniversary Fairy has come for her yearly visit. The news was swift and surprising, and cemented the fact that this has been the most trying, most complicated year of our life together. A rough pregnancy and birth. A baby in the hospital. Your worsening, debilitating back pain. The overwhelming stress and exhaustion of new parenthood.

Now, a job loss.

In the dark, we talked about our anniversary. How should we celebrate it, in light of the situation and without spending money that we should be saving? I told you I felt like throwing in the towel. "Forget it," I said cantankerously. "What's the point? All of our anniversaries get ruined, anyway."

You said, "Who knows? Maybe it will be the best one ever."

You said, "I have hope."

(Husband, where would I be without you? Drowning in my own melancholia, that's where.)

So this year, inspired by you, I propose a joint anniversary gift. A little something inexpensive that we can carry in our pockets every day:

that you'll find another, even better job. Hope that your back pain will respond to the new therapies you're trying. Hope that our darling son will finally start sleeping through the night so that you and I can function like normal human beings again.

Hope that even without spending a lot of money, this anniversary will blow all of the others out of the water. (Because, let's face it, it doesn't have much in the way of competition.)

Hope that this year is going to be the best one ever.

What do you say?

Love + kisses, your devoted wife



  1. To my favorite wife....
    Marisa, every additional year that I'm able to spend sharing the tears and laughter, smiles and frowns, sleep or wide eyed frustration with that little guy in the other room, well that's my best/favorite anniversary ever.
    you know I love you boo ;)

    - your boy from ohio.

  2. I was nodding throughout your post. I hope your baby starts sleeping and I hope you hit a lucky streak this year. It sounds like you deserve it.


  3. How precious! Wishing a beautiful anniversary to you both!

  4. A beautiful post. May I recomend playing your favourite happy music and jumping up and down on the bed/sofa? For as long as your tired eyes can hack it.
    Hope is a wonderful thing. (so are husbands!)
    Best of luck.

  5. Hope you have a wonderful anniversary this year. What a sweet post.

  6. Aww, hope you have a love filled day this year, whatever else is going on.

  7. I was welling up reading this. I loved how honest it was. (you don't get that enough blogging) I also loved that sweet comment from your boy (boo) from Ohio.

    Wishing you a happy anniversary, full of love, and free from pain.

  8. thanks everyone! i'll keep you posted on how it goes. :D

    and thanks for leaving a comment, husband. i love it. and you.

  9. thank you for being so real in this space.

    just remember: for all the times you tried really hard for a moment to be perfect, and it wasn't---there are 100 more moments that ended up being perfect all by themselves. that's what we live for.

    God will see you through all the struggles in your life, as well. nothing is presented to you that you won't be given the strength to handle.

  10. I have to say - with my whole one experience in anniversaries, I do think it's possible to have a simple, free anniversary and for it to be absolutely lovely. For our first anniversary, my husband and I took a picnic dinner to the gardens where we had our wedding reception. It wasn't fancy - we sat on the steps of the gazebo and ate while shooing away the ants. It was quiet, peaceful, and the most wonderful celebration of our first year together. As students we're on a very tight budget and so going away somewhere wasn't really an option - but I can't imagine how our evening could have been more meaningful.

    Here's hoping that your fifth anniversary is as lovely as you could hope......

  11. Oh my goodness. I hope this year is amazing! Or at least better! :)

  12. i've said it once, i'll say it twice: you can write - crazy good writing! is your husband seeking a new job or looking in new directions? since we are in the same town, happy to keep eyes and ears open if that's helpful in anyway. wishing you, baby and all blessings.

  13. I don't know, maybe it's because I'm reading this while my husband's away for the weekend, but this post brought tears to my eyes (and now, down my cheeks). Maybe they haven't been the best memories, but they still stick with you and are each memorable in their own way.

  14. Your writing is so subtle so woven with detail and meaning. Thank you for sharing this. HOPE is the most amazing thing, if we have hope we have everything.

  15. Oh, Marisa...this was so very beautiful. I won't attempt to describe how very beautiful it was because I think it speaks quite well for itself...but thank you so for sharing it. It all made me a little bleary eyed and goosebumpy. :)

    Praying, praying that this anniversary brought you the simple mainstays of hope and love. Many, many blessings and wishes for you and your family :)