Yes, Marcel’s dad is still in the hospital. Yes, he had a heart attack and we are all somewhat subdued in this household. Even Maddie – our normally cheerful one – was a little out of sorts after seeing her Pépère in a hospital bed. We’re still waiting for further prognosis, but surgery may be necessary. Thank you all for your kind words and your prayers.

So this post will not be as lighthearted as I might have hoped. But here goes anyway…

Thirteen years ago, on one of the only sunny days in an otherwise rainy, dreary summer, we said “I do” in front of the people we loved most. Were we blissfully happy and in the middle of a great fairy-tale love? No, I wouldn’t say so. Did we commit ourselves to each other believing we would always feel passionately in love and that we would never want to kick each other’s butt? No, probably not. BUT… Did we believe that we loved each other enough to spend the rest of our lives together, that we were committed enough to each other that we would pour all the energy we could muster into making our marriage work, and that we would walk together through whatever raging rivers life put across our paths? Yes. Definitely.

I loved him then, and I love him ten times as much now. He makes me laugh, he challenges me, he makes me want to be smarter, he teaches me things, he knows how to be tender, and I wouldn’t want to go through life without him. We have our challenges, we’re not always kind to each other, and there are times when we can’t seem to communicate properly, but we are committed to a lifetime together. Even in the darkest of times, I know I would rather be with him than without him. Our journey together has taken us through some rough spots, and each time we survive, we emerge a little stronger than before.

When we said our vows, we didn’t promise each other a lifetime of bliss. We promised loyalty and love. We promised friendship and support. We promised the things we knew we could deliver, and then, when we can, we throw in the extras that make a marriage worth working at.

Today, I was reminded once again that when you marry someone, you also marry their family. I’m not only committed to Marcel, I’m committed to his family too. So how did we spend our anniversary? Well, in the morning, we spent it picking peas, beans, and corn in Marcel’s dad’s garden with most of the family. As he lay in his hospital bed, one of his first concerns was for his garden. To put his mind at ease, we took care of the garden before we visited him again. It’s what family does. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It turned out to be a great little moment of bonding and caring for him in the garden that is so dear to his heart.

And as I sat in the hospital room, I was reminded of why marriage is worth committing to. In a rare tender moment, Marcel’s mom reached over and brushed her husband’s cheek and then laid her hand on his arm. In the 16 years I’ve known them, I’ve almost never seen them show any sign of affection, and yet I know that their love runs deep. They have their problems, just like we all do, but when the road gets rough, they have each other.

In 32 years, I hope I can still reach up to brush the cheek of the man I love.

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