The Year of Cotton

I read somewhere that cotton is the second year anniversary gift of choice. Who thinks up these things? How can cotton possibly represent a culmination of a couple’s two years, all of it’s laughs, heartaches, tears and unbridled passion that is meant to endure in this short time? I suppose underwear and socks might be an appropriate gift (and clearly attributed to that unbridled passion part), seeing that those are items that are either lost in our household or worn down till it’s threadbare where its’ only use is to clean the most dirtiest corners of the bathroom, maybe the outside of the toilet. Although, my husband would differ on that one. Apparently, underwear and socks have a lifetime usability to them. Who knew? Holes, be damned!

So, cotton it is. And here we are at two years. Never did I imagine that in two years it was possible to love – and to learn – so much.  And sometimes the road is never quite mapped out the way that you think it should be. Of course, we are always thinking of what’s next – the house, the kids, the next job…an obvious in the rat race in which young couples live their lives, no matter how and with what they fill in it. I was musing with an acquaintance the other day, thinking about this “what’s next” of life – a topic that is certainly not new to this blog nor to any of us. In our conversation, I had outlined all that I had accomplished thus far in life – how hard I had to work for things I wanted, that it never came to me on a silver platter, that I always had to work for it. She listened to my rant, and was quiet for a moment. And then she replied, “It seems to me that you have gotten all that you have ever wanted, hearing all that you have done and where you are now. Just maybe not all of it yet.” Well, that shut me up. Indeed I had gotten what I wanted, perhaps not on the timeline I had laid out when I was 10. And the rest was yet to come. To hear the other side of that argument that I was having with myself was a perspective that I really should have been taking all along.

How does a rush of two years come and go? To drink in the time that was spent with my best teammate: – the laughing at Seinfeld re-runs at dinner every night, the weekend road trips that cannot be complete without a trip for ice-cream or lobster rolls, hot July Saturdays at the beach with salty waves and beers after, the rush of Sunday errands and breakfast after church, the Christmas trees and pumpkin picking and apple pies, the snowstorms and shoveling and car repairs, the chilly runs on pink and gray mornings before work, the evenings with friends and laughing and wine, the warm and close embrace of family gatherings here and 6 hours away, the pit stops, the upswings, the breakdowns, the disappointments, the heartbreaks, the gathering up of one another and putting back together the pieces again. And that’s just two years.

I remember us driving back from NY the day after our wedding, me reading our cards aloud while Jeff drove, and crying from the overwhelming amount of love that had been given to us. I remember arriving at our honeymoon destination, excited for the beach and then crying because it was too windy. I actually demanded that we pick a new island with better weather. (The weather ended up being great – it was just a blow-over storm).  I also remember at the end of the trip, crying when we got the bill. (Who knew that Mai Tai’s and Caribs cost that much?). So – Jeff had signed on for an emotional household, with a dramatic wife and one cat with anxiety issues and another who always think it’s time to eat, even at 4AM. It’s who we are. I get very emotional if there aren’t enough trick or treaters at our house, or the Christmas tree leans to one side too much, or when the SPCA commercials come on, or the time when we had to kill our own lobsters for dinner and I couldn’t watch and made Jeff do it (which was a good thing, because I also didn’t see one slip out of his tongs and onto one of the cats before it hit the floor).  Yet, Jeff takes it all in stride, knowing that this storm, too, shall pass.

I can’t think of anyone else to walk through life with, to weather the storms, to wait for the rainbows. Because it isn’t a race. It may seem really quick and really slow at times (particularly when Jeff is driving), but I can’t imagine what my kitchen would be without him in it – taking my hand to dance along to our own music or tasting the pasta sauce that’s much too hot – or seeing each other when we come home from a long day or watching him catch my eye across a room and laugh at our own jokes. His teasing, his knack for always making me laugh even when I’m upset (like the time he asked me to squeeze his biceps thinking that it would make me feel better) and his love for all things Boston. If this is what the year of cotton is like, no wonder it eventually leads to gold. Apparently, next year is leather. So that should be interesting.

What a blessed road we are on! Happy anniversary to the best thing ever – my Good Will Green Eyes. Thanks for showing up in my life.

“I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn’t see how every sign pointed straight to you
Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you” – Rascal Flatts

Jeff Maine


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