Today is my 15 year anniversary. Donnie and I dated for several years before we got married, but because we met our last year in college and I wasn’t confident that our careers would take us to the same place (and they didn’t at first) we didn’t actually tie the knot until we were both settled in the same town and I finally started believing Donnie when he said he wanted to marry me.
It was strangely hard for me to accept that truth from him, even though he never wavered after the first time he said to me, “I hope some day you’ll be my wife,” in response to my, “I’m never getting married again!” proclamation. It was just that he was 23 and about to graduate from college, he had his life ahead of him and I was a divorced single Mom who was geographically bound to a reasonable distance from her ex-husband so that her son would still be able to see him every other weekend.
Oh, and I had a shit ton of credit card debt (because people judge you less when you use a credit card than when you use food stamps) and two college degrees worth of student loans. I WAS A REAL CATCH, IS WHAT I AM SAYING.
Our first jobs after graduation took us to two different states with the hope that one of us would find a job where the other one ended up. That ended up happening and Donnie moved to Huntsville after leaving his first job which had moved him to Atlanta. Once he was here, we started seriously planning our future together and that led us to make it legal on this day 15 years ago.
Now that E is an adult with a salary and an apartment we recently started talking to him about possibilities in the event of a tragedy where both of us were A) incapacitated or B) killed. This conversation has had me really thinking about the three of us and our journey together. How this kid who walked me down the aisle 15 years ago, is about to be legally defined as the responsible party if tragedy hits Donnie and I. I mean, he is still a kid, right?
What got me thinking about it was that E is now currently the age Donnie was when he told me he hoped I’d be his wife someday. Donnie was old enough to make a life-long commitment to a woman with a child, then it hit me that E was old enough to be considered in our decision making for his siblings. And of course he accepted the responsibility in the very RARE possibility that something terrible happened to Donnie and I.
It’s just a weird “full circle” kind of life moment I find myself in, currently. Having to recognize this kid as an adult in the most adult way possible, in considering for the future of our family if something were to happen to us. It’s just got me in a strange headspace. You think about things like graduations and weddings and becoming a grandparent when you glance at the future of your children…but this one was something I never planned for. The, “Hey! If we get hit by a bus do you want your siblings?” conversation. Which, I guess, not many parents have because the gap is not usually that large.
But because the three of us became a family when E was 8, and reproductive challenges kept us having kids for awhile, that’s where we find ourselves now. Celebrating 15 years of marriage by recently discussing our death with our oldest child.
Life is weird. I am blessed. I look forward to the next 15 years watching the other two kids follow suit and become wonderfully well adjusted adults in their brother’s wake.