"Will you marry me?"
Not many women can say they've been asked that
27 times in their life, but I can.
Before the day is over I will add one more to that number, making it 28.
Twenty-eight years ago today dearest one asked me to marry him
and he has repeated the question every year on this day ever since.
For the record, I've always said yes.
Sometimes that yes had been very faint in my heart,
and sometimes a little stronger,
and sometimes downright enthusiastic.
I've not always meant it.
While I can't imagine life without him,
some of the past 10,000 days (I counted)
I couldn't stand life with him, either.
I think those feelings,
both of them, are mutual.
Such is married life.
There is also something very comforting
being married so long to someone
who has known me at my best and at my worst
and is still here.
Even on the worst of days,
for more years than I can remember,
I rest my head on his shoulder
before we go to sleep.
I try not to take that for granted.
This past year has been the hardest
of all our years together.
I had not a clue what commitment looked like
when we married.
I'd seen my parents
treat their marriage commitment lightly.
I didn't know what it looked like
to treat it seriously.
Nor did I really know 10 years in, either.
Not even 20 years in.
Because of this past year,
I do now.
Learned it in such a painful way, too.
There have been several times in the past 28 years
when either one of us
could have walked away
with very good reason.
Reasons that no one would blame us for.
But here we are, still together.
And for that I am really grateful.
When I got home from town today
dearest one parted the drapes in the bay window
to show me a beautiful big rock with the word Hope
engraved in it.
He had gone into the flower shop this afternoon
and it was sitting there right in front
to greet him
so he said he just had to buy it.
It's just the kind of thing I would have bought
had I seen it first.
But the puglies?
They created a long and loud ruckus
at the sight of something so strange
sitting in the window.
They barked at it as if they had never seen hope before.
I am grateful, more than you could know,
that hope is as settled in my bones
as that rock is in the window.
I'm so grateful that hope
is no stranger to me.