This was a big week for me. On Monday I had a birthday and on Wednesday, I celebrated 9 years of marriage. Because this birthday fell on a Monday, I already had super low expectations. The high point of the day was when I woke up to the sounds of an off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday” being sung by two cute kids with morning breath and their father who took off his sleep apnea mask just in time for the chorus. The truth is that I believe all birthdays after you turn 21 are anti-climatic. If my plans don’t include flashing my new driver’s license to some bouncer, followed by taking 21 shots of Goldschlager while my best friends drag me on to the dance floor to “It’s Getting Hot in Here”, then really, what’s the point?
The big event for me this week was my anniversary. I mean nine years…how is that possible??? How can it be that I have slept next to the same man, shared a last name, and made little human beings with the same guy I met over 13 years ago at an “X-Files” party?
I remember everything about night I knew he was the one for me. It was 1998 and we were having drinks at a bar in Chapel Hill on Franklin Street. At the time, he was a svelte, 6’3, 302lbs, Defensive Lineman. I myself was a knock-out sex kitten, who at 5’2, 145lbs, decided that flip-flops, khakis pants, and a blue v-neck from Express was a hot outfit to wear.
At some point in the night, a slow song came on and he asked me to dance. As I rested my head on his hip-bone, we swayed together for a bit and then he headed off to use the restroom. After he left, some of the guys at the bar came up and said “Hey Kelsey, you know what you two look like…Beauty and the Beast.” I was really upset. When he came back I said angrily, “Do you know what those guys just said about us?” He shook his head No and I answered, “They said we looked like Beauty and the Beast.” At that moment, I was certain he was going to go beat someone up, but instead, he took my face in his hands and quietly whispered, “Kelsey, don’t you ever let anybody call you Beast again.” From that point on, he has been the man of my dreams.
Celebrating my anniversary is always a big deal. It means that we made it another year without killing each other. It means that my husband didn’t text pictures of his privates to any random strangers. It means that he didn’t father a child with our nanny or leave me for some IHOP waitress. It means that although he says at times the sound of my voice makes him want to run away, I have found a way not to take that personally. It means that although our sex life isn’t the hottest thing on Earth, we still try to do it regularly (our individual definition of ‘regular’ continues to widen.) Mostly, it means we are both still in the game.
In terms of our anniversary gifts, I have never expected much. Sure, I would have loved a little piece of jewelry, maybe a tennis bracelet or a new wedding band, but it’s not something I needed. The truth is, I would be happy with a simple dinner at Olive Garden. But this year, he just went overboard. As we sat on the couch one night he said, “Hey Honey, we’re good with gifts, right? I mean, we just got the security gate for the driveway…I know how much you love the kids to be safe (insert big smile where he mocks my OCD personality). Can we just consider the gate our anniversary presents to one another, you know call it even?” Of course we can sweetheart, how kind of you. What girl wouldn’t be happy with a pet/security fence to honor her marriage? So this year, instead of gifts or a loving card, I am left with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that no basketball, animal or toddler will ever accidently roll or run into my street. I get chills just thinking about what next year’s gift will be.
In terms of going somewhere for our anniversary...not so much. I guess we could have gone to Europe or the Caribbean, but what fun is that? Instead we spent our anniversary evening at the neighborhood recreation park, playing in our 8:45 game of Co-ed Softball. I didn’t need a fancy dress for the occasion…yoga pants and a white t-shirt with the team name “Swingers” on the back was more than sufficient. We started at a Mexican restaurant, indulged in tacos and fried chimichangas, and headed down to the game. It’s a good thing I don’t like champagne, because I spent this special night sipping on cans of Bud Light in the Dugout while hoping to get a base hit.
After the game, which we won in a nail biter, we headed to the local tavern with our teammates and took shots in our honor. There was a "Happy Anniversary" balloon and cake on the table with our names written on it…I have never felt so much love. When we got home and climbed into bed, my husband rolled over and said it was the best anniversary he has ever had. I had a great time too...but next year, I am hoping for Positano...