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16 years

It's my 16th wedding anniversary today. 

I'm spending it alone. Well, not completely alone. Knox is at home, wheezing and sounding a bit like Darth Vader with allergies while Abbott tries to lick the snot bubbles out of his nose. Bruce is away at work. I haven't seen him in six weeks. He's not scheduled to be home until sometime in June.

I don't spend a lot of time writing about my marriage, other than sharing jokes or silliness, because really, who wants to read that stuff? Certainly not my husband, his relatives or my children. Privacy and boundaries are important, even if they make for really crappy writing material.

But the other day someone remarked on twitter that they didn't know how Bruce and I do it. How we stay married when we are never together. I gave a flip remark, because what else is twitter for other than to hone the fine art of sass, but I've been thinking of that question ever since.

There is no easy answer really. When it boils down to it, like most every other married couple I know, I just like him best. He suits me the way no other person does and hopefully he feels the same way. 

Marriage isn't easy, ever, even under the best of circumstances. And my husband's and my marriage is no different. Add in the complications of marrying young, being poor, the death of a parent, the birth of a unexpectedly disabled child, the surprise death of said child, crappy extended family dynamics, a failed adoption attempt, a successful adoption attempt, teenagers, disabilities, health problems, every day stress and a job that takes you more than 600 kilometers away from your family for most of the year, well, marriage is tough. 

I have spent more than seven years blogging about how I am no longer the person I used to be when our son Skjel was alive. How I have used my words to find myself and my place in this world.

But I have never mentioned how my husband has changed. How the man I married no longer exists. How could he? For everything I've been through, so has he. He's been beside me for more than half of our entire lives. He bears the same scars I do from all of the same hurts. 

When I see my husband now, I don't see the optimistic idealistic boy with big dreams and great hopes I once married. I see a gentle spirited, patient, intelligent man who wears the same look of sorrow in his eyes that I have. It's easy to miss his hurt because he hides it behind a big smile and an easy laugh. But it's there. I see it.

I'm proud of the man the boy I married grew to become. And I'm so grateful he's been by my side through it all, even when we were at our lowest, teetering on the edge of total collapse. He's always been the one to yank us back to safety. He's never quit on us, when quitting would be the easiest thing to do.

So I'll happily spend our 16th anniversary alone, while trying to avoid getting slimed by Knox's snot bubbles. Because it doesn't matter to me how many days my husband and I spend apart. I know he'll always come home to us. To me. 

He's the roots of our family, the one that anchors and supports us through it all. 

Happy Anniversary Bruce. Come home soon. 

There's poop waiting to be picked up and I don't want to do it.

I love you.

Reader Comments (71)

You MADE ME CRY. Love you, T, and glad you have each other. xo

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngella

Isn't it amazing when you marry your best friend? I like how you put it: "I just like him best." My hubs and I often tell each other, "You're my favourite."

There's something to be said about being someone's favourite. <3 :)

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTabatha

Awww ........... I just love this. A gorgeous and touching tribute to a marriage. Thanks!

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCoffee with Julie

You had me at "He suits me the way no other person suits me"! Beautiful post and Happy Anniversary, Tanis :)

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

I really, really get this. I reflect often on how fortunate we are to have grown together, becoming even better suited for each other now than we were the day we married. That doesn't happen often.

Happy anniversary, and many more to come.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Marsh

So sweet, T. Happy anniversary.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Piazza

Killing time reading blogs before school pick up and now CRYING in public. You really are the best. Happy anniversary to you & the hubs!

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMumby

Beautiful, Happy Anniversary.....

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAllison Rouble

I love this post!!

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Wonderful. Happy anniversary.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNeil

So glad I didn't read this in public. I have a reputation to maintain as a badass, sniffling would have totally destroyed that.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThumper

Awesome. Even under the best circumstances, marriage is hard f'n work. We all have different burdens, and even though mine are not the same as yours, I can totally appreciate the "easier to walk away" sentiment. I'd be lost without my husband. I'm glad you and Bruce have found a way to make it through all you have together, even in the face of situations that seem designed to tear you apart and to pieces. Big love to you both and happy anniversary!

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer Burk

This. This is beautiful and perfect because it's real. I cried too- good for you both. Keep it up. I hope I can have this someday.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbaltimoregal

This is so wonderfully beautiful and sad at the same time.

For everything I've been through, so has he. He's been beside me for more than half of our entire lives now. He bears the same scars I do from all of the same hurts.

This describes my life, too, in a way. Y'all are lucky to have this.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrian

Tears are streaming down my face! Although my husband and I have 'only' been married 9 years, and weren't as young as you two were, we too have faced our share of sorrows together. I was nodding along to all of the ways you describe Bruce's hurt/strength/loyalty because I could say the same about my husband. Except you said it much better, so I think I'll just show him this :)

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTracey

Tears are streaming down my face! Although my husband and I have 'only' been married 9 years, and weren't as young as you two were, we too have faced our share of sorrows together. I was nodding along to all of the ways you describe Bruce's hurt/strength/loyalty because I could say the same about my husband. Except you said it much better, so I think I'll just show him this :)

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTracey

A refreshing post on marriage. Wishing you all the best together as a team. :)

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Tears. I am typing and wiping (tears) as you always seem to know how to get to me.

Happy Anniversary! And Happy Mother's Day too!

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSondra

Happy Anniversary! Snot bubbles and all.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSchmutzie

Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDustin

Oh I LOVE this! I am so happy for you. You deserve your wonderful man. :)

He sounds a lot like my captain.... except mine here. I know about the quitting part, that got to me .
Sweet Janis , I can tell you are really sweet on each other after 16.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlma

Beautiful post. Happy Anniversary!

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCrys Wiltshire

Happy anniversary sweet couple. Hope you will look back on this post in another 16 years and 16 years after that and still feel the same :-)

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDagny


love this.

Happy anniversary :)

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTarasview

This is a wonderful read. My husband and I are at a point where our marriage schedule may look a bit like yours, so this is especially resounding. I love your answer "I like him best". It cuts through every feel that is hard to articulate and gives a raw answer to an intrusive question. I like him best.

I hope your day is wonderful--snot and all! >^-^<

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMorgaine Fey

You are one of the few bloggers that can make me laugh til I cry and make me feel for you til I cry. You've said it perfectly, "I just like him best." That's exactly what makes my relationship work and knowing that he feels the same, gives me such strength. Happy anniversary!

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLouise

Obviously you two have mastered the art of knowing whose turn it is to pull and whose it is to let go at all the right intervals. Cheers and 16 more and 16 more after that.

Happy anniversary to both of you! If you'd both stayed the same through all the experiences you've had together, I'd be worried about you. As it is, you've weathered a lot...but you've done it together.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

"I'm proud of the man the boy I married grew to become." I have been married 26 years now and I can tell you that this is the key to it all.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Yarger

That is a lovely testament to marriage.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrie

Oh my gosh Tanis; you are so sweet. You and your hubby are both amazing people; I can only imagine how hard it has been to get to today, doing so only proves how strong your marriage is. Happy Anniversary you two love birds! :)

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Beautiful. "I just like him best." Most simplistically perfect words ever spoken on marriage. Congrats on 16 years my friend. Smooches.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStefanie

I agree with Brie's comment. It's easy to walk away and end a marriage...the awesomeness comes from sticking together through the good and bad times, and knowing the other person will always be there for you...no matter what. Happy anniversary!

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commentervictoria

Marriage is hard; it is. But it's the determination to make it work that's always coupled with WANTING it to work, with that person you chose, regardless of the changes you've endured. That's what lessens the hardness, but nothing truly eliminates it. Besides, what would it be worth anyway if it was all easy with both people wanting to pick up poop?

And now the damn Flintstones anniversary song is stuck in my head. Thanks for that. Also, happy anniversary.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArnebya

Very sweet! I thought you would mention the man cave.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrandemocha

I've been with my husband since I was 17, and we've endured (and continue to endure) long separations. Every long-term relationship has an ebb and flow and ours is no exception. Every time I wondered if we'd make it, we rallied and found a path back to each other. So when I say congratulations, I mean it from the bottom of my little scarred heart!

Happy Anniversary.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Happy Anniversary.. You made me cry too!! ;)

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRuth

So beautifully put!! Happy Anniversary!!

I get where you are at. My Bruce (such a strong name I was once told) is away alot also, not as long as yours is (it has gotten better over the last 17 years) But he is gone and misses a lot and is missed. Our 15th anniversary is May 22 and will he be home? Not likely. But would I change my married-single-parent situation? Not in a million years. As I too know he will come home. To me, to our kids and that is all that matters at the end of the day.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJacquie

Happy Anniversary! Beautiful post (and I used to say that my husband's company purposely picked our anniversary and my birthday to send him out of town)

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

This is such a beautiful post Tanis. Happy anniversary to you both.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSheri

Happy Anniversary my friend. I am about to have a five DAY stint without my husband and I am slightly freaking out... Never apart, hardly ever together, whatever the case may be, space and time mean nothing when, like you said, "he suits me the best". Here's to "mawwiage" and growing up and old with our best friends.


May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNatasha

A friend recently used the analogy of marriage as two boats floating along a river together, and the trick is to keep on floating alongside each other without drifting off. Sounds like you guys have nailed it. Congrats on 16 years. =)

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarcy


May 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermrshiggison

Happy anniversary to you two! You're adorable.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen Wilson

You both obviously know what is important and hold it close. Happy anniversary to you both.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

Thank you, my love. I really would rather be a home with you!

May 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBruce

Happy Anniversary. What a great post. You always manage to make me laugh or cry, but todays tears are good ones. What would have torn so many marriages apart, made yours stronger and in that, you are your biggest gift to one another.

May 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHuskerMama

You guys seem to know that Love is a VERB...keep up the great work!
Congrats on 16 years!!!

May 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharona Zee
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