Last night (July 17th) was the Highlander's and my 8th anniversary. Even though we ain't got money (there's a song in there somewhere), we've sort of developed a tradition over the past 5 years that I really enjoy that doesn't cost us a thing.
Back on our 3rd anniversary, I put together a list of songs that really represented our entire relationship history up to that point (the high tech version of the tape of songs couples used to make for each other back in high school!). I put them into a playlist on my Musicmatch program, then, in the Notes section, I wrote a little blurb about each one. For example, the first song is "Boy From New York City" (since the Highlander lived in New York and I was in Dallas when we met). I wrote:
Kevin Burke, bachelor farmer, super uncle and generally laid back guy. He works all day, goes out on weekend nights, hunts during the season and sleeps when his body tells him to. He's out of the race for the right girl and has decided to enjoy life the way it is.
Poor bastard...doesn't even know how miserable he is! ;-)
When I first did this, there were 10 songs for the first part of our relationship, where we met online and really fell for each other. I used songs like "Take A Chance on Me" by ABBA and "I Just Want to Hang Around You" by George Benson. Then there's another 10 for when we met in person and things initially went sour because SOME dumb sprite was too afraid of commitment. I had some pretty sad songs there like "I Don't Know How To Love Him" by Helen Reddy (from Jesus Christ Superstar) and Please Mister Please" from Olivia Newton-John (on that one, I began with "Once you've reached the country music phase, you're missing someone too much!") and the last 10 for our amazing reunion and the two more separations afterward, all the way to our finally being together permanently. That part ends with "At Last" by Etta James and "Our House" by CSNY.
Anyway, it's become habit to listen to this set of songs on each anniversary. We read the blurbs all over again and sit and talk about where we were, how we were, and even WHO we at that time (plus we usually dance to our favorite ones). It had sort of become a musical timeline of our lives between 1997 and 2002, so for our 5th anniversary, I decided to go back and add a song for each year we'd been married. I already had songs up to the 3rd anniversary, so for the 4th, I added "You Just Can't Smile It Away" by Bill Withers (the song we danced to our first night in our new and VERY empty house) and the 5th was "As" by Stevie Wonder (where I began the blurb with "Our 5th anniversary...and now we're old enough to find meaning in obscure Stevie Wonder songs!") The blurbs have become longer each year so that I'm now writing short letters to go with each song and just adding it to the list. The list itself I've finally put into a Word Document so we can read it while we listen to the songs.
Which brings me to out 8th year...
This year's song was" Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel. It was the song playing when I drove him home from the hospital a few weeks ago (he had a myelogram done to see what was wrong with his neck), and we were REALLY scared about it. Everyone told him how bad the pain could be and he put it off for months. So, as I looked over at him looking all worn out and tired, with the sun shining in on him, I was so overwhelmed that I suddenly had to just thank God for letting my hubby come home safe and sound. The song just wouldn't leave my head, thought, so after researching it a bit, I found out it's a song about changing your life and being ready to lose what you have for what you might get and just letting go in general.
That's been a HUGE thing for us this year...we had to choose to give up our home, most certainly gave up our pride, our personal and physical comfort and many other things, only to find out that fate had other things in mind. We gave up the house, only to find a last minute option that let us keep it and got us back on track financially again. The Highlander gave up working at the lab to sink everything into trying to become a teacher and we discovered that, even though he made less, we actually saved some money in not having him drive clear to Buffalo, plus he was SO much happier that we spent LESS time at the doctor's in pain. Because of the pain, we both gave in and decided to do this myelogram in the first place, knowing it meant he'd be in horrible pain for a solid week, but found out it wasn't as bad as we thought. We gave up any hope of having a child, only to discover how important the kids we teach have now become to us, as well as each other. And about 10 years ago for the Highlander and 6 for me, we both chose to leave our homes and families to live with the one we committed out lives to (he moved down to Texas where I was and we both moved back up to Western New York where he was from).
Sometimes you just have to give up your comfort zone to move on to the next big thing in your life.
And through all that, we've had each other. He's been my silent, stalwart companion in the storm, keeping me calm and centered when I thought I might crash on the rocks, while I've gone and STARTED storms for him, being his lightning and thunder when he needed someone to speak up on his behalf or to get him motivated. Each of us has been there to protect and care for the other.
So, what have we learned in 8 years? Life isn't always what we planned, but when you feel like you're "in a rut" or "part of the machinery" and you have to let fate take over, I hope each of YOU has a person like I do that can come to you, give you a hug and say:
"Grab your things, I've come to take you home."
The (thankful for 8 happy years) Sprite & the (hoping for many more) Highlander