April is a lovely month. Lilacs are fragrant, the spirea hedge becomes heavy with white flowers, my peony tree in the back yard produces huge, pink, gorgeous blooms, the sun begins to warm the air, and the earth begins its slow transformation from brown to soft green. Most people get tax refunds. I have rarely gotten a tax refund, but I certainly don’t begrudge those who do, so yes, April is a lovely month. That is why I picked it for our wedding.
I had all these visions of spring loveliness when I suggested to Max that we get married April 21. He agreed, and we went forward, now 32 years ago, making plans for a small ceremony that was to be held in what would be our first home together.
What we got, however, instead of spring loveliness, was a damp, foggy, morning, when the green of new grass is almost phosphorescent against a dank, gray background. But soon our friends got to our apartment, which was the upper floor of Dr. and Mrs. Lamy’s home, and the outside gloom was forgotten.
Many of our friends had been there until the wee hours the night before; I had missed that frivolity because I was staying at what was then the Ramada Inn, and had left the party before midnight, not wanting any photographs to show bags and black circles under my eyes. I had walked into the hotel room I was sharing with my mother and grandmother and had been almost knocked off my feet by the blast of the room heater, which my forever-cold little grandmother had turned to a toasty 85 degrees.
Regardless of these little hiccups, the wedding came off with few hitches — I think every wedding has a few — but more important, the marriage has come along just fine with few hitches. And I think every marriage has a few.
It’s just that we don’t really know when we start out what those difficult times will be, or when they will come, or how hard they will be to weather. As I look back on these 32 years, I remember what one wise woman advised me about a month before our wedding: Think of it as a day-to-day thing rather than a “forever” thing. Then, when you get upset, and you will get upset, you can be upset for just a day as opposed to being upset forever.
I have been able to follow that woman’s advice — unlike the advice of “Don’t ever go to sleep mad.” In 32 years, we have been through, truly, a lifetime. We have experienced good things and bad, we have raised a daughter whom we both adore, we have lost family members and friends too early, we have even occasionally gone to sleep mad. But every day, I realize my good fortune in being able to continue a relationship that has worked out well, regardless of some tough times. I guess that’s what “for better or for worse” means.
Ours has been “for better,” and I’m grateful.
Deborah Mitchell is a a local attorney and a Municipal Court Judge.