Yesterday, Mick and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Maybe I should say we continued to celebrate, since we also celebrated on Saturday night with son Shawn, daughter-in-law Beka, granddaughter Camille, daughter Abby, and soon-to-be-son-in-law Joe. We went to an old St. Paul establishment, Forepaugh’s, which happens to be the place where Mick and I got married in 1993.
Since neither of us was into big wedding productions in 1993, we chose this place for its intimacy and invited just our immediate family to the wedding ceremony. We had a Ramsey County judge that my dad knew officiate. We wrote our own vows. We followed it with a dinner and gift opening. I remember that the Final Four college basketball games were going on and some of our family members ducked into the bar downstairs every so often to check on things, which made me laugh at the time and still does.
Things have changed a lot in 25 years. Family ties have shifted, some strengthened and some not. Our parents are all gone now; we are the elders even though we don’t usually feel like elders. Our daughter Abby didn’t exist in 1993, nor did Camille or Joe. There was no 9-11. There was no ISIS, no Trump presidency, no Brexit, no iPhone, no Facebook. It was a completely different world in so many ways. I think about the people I miss most – my parents – and think they would have been uncomfortable in this world. They would have been worried all the time.
But as we celebrate a lovely long marriage in a tumultuous world, the reminder that we can still be grounded and centered by personal commitments, by love, is a stunning push-back against violence and hatred and injustice. Mick and I are both people who keep up with what’s going on rather than retreating from it, and being together to do that has made us stronger people. It has made our resolve to do what we can to make the world a better place a central part of our lives. It has helped us let go of that which doesn’t fit with a kinder world, be it people or things or affiliations.
This is not a gospel about marriage, though. It is about people choosing to surround themselves with those they love who are also supportive, compassionate human beings. It is about the strength we gather from being together, no matter what that looks like.
I think my children have figured that out. Shawn and Beka are a marvelous team who support each other through all kinds of change and who parent together better than most. Abby and Joe, who have just gotten engaged, have already been together for several years and we are not surprised that they are looking forward to solidifying their commitment in a traditional way. And Camille has ample examples around her of how to assemble a strong, loving community.
So, happy anniversary to us. We are so lucky.
ANOTHER KIND OF ANNIVERSARY
As long as this space is dedicated to anniversaries today, and since it is National Poetry Month, I invite you to take a look at Gyroscope Review‘s special third anniversary issue. I can’t believe it’s already three years since Constance Brewer and I put out our first issue. A lot has changed in that time, too. We have print editions and we have another staff member – Josh Colwell – who we added this year. And this particular issue is the largest single issue we ever produced. And we are not only celebrating with this big issue, we are also publishing interviews with poets we’ve published each day in April on our website.
You can find out how to get a copy our our spring issue right here: http://www.gyroscopereview.com/home/issues/