Monday, July 29th is my wedding anniversary.
I’m still married, even if my husband is gone.
No divorce. It was more of a forced separation.
We met and tied the knot within 10 months time.
We traveled with 30 others to Las Vegas to stand in front of an Elvis impersonator.
we ALL sang
we laughed some more
The temperature was scorching that weekend.
A Saturday night in the desert, temps were in triple digits.
This is the first year of my marriage that I will not have my partner next to me.
Not when I wake up.
Not when I lay my head down to end the day.
Chad and I didn’t often celebrate with anything fancy on our anniversary.
We always thought that just being together was enough.
We would listen to an Elvis song, have a decadent dessert, or watch a movie.
Of course, once we had kids even those things got pushed aside for diapers, tantrums, and sheer parental exhaustion.
But, our love never wavered…we didn’t need Hallmark to remind us or say what we felt.
A long drawn out hug, one that neither person wanted to be the first to stop, would be how we started our day.
He was my person.
I was his.
This past week the girls and I went to Chicago.
Saw the musical Hamilton, saw an exhibit, swam in Lake Michigan.
I always like to drive to Chicago, but I think it’s more important now than ever.
When I drive I can take the girls to areas where I can tell them a story about their dad.
About our life.
The life he and I had before they existed.
But a life that had to be in order for them to exist.
Chad moved to Chicago when he was starting his adult life.
I moved there after college. We actually ended up knowing some of the same people, maybe our paths even crossed before we officially met in 1999.
When my girls and I go to Chicago together it’s more than just a vacation for us.
It’s for memories.
It’s for connecting with the people who also knew Chad.
Chad’s oldest friend, Don, still lives in Chicago They met when Chad moved to the city by the lake almost 30 years ago. We met for dinner last week and then he proceeded to spoil the girls by buying them all sorts of things as we walked through shops in Andersonville. We stopped at Georges for ice cream. Don ordered two scoops of coconut.
Chad would have also ordered coconut ice cream.
So, while their father wasn’t with us that day…the person who knew him longer than I did was.
And it was more than enough.
It was everything.