My husband and I are detail people. Sure, we can appreciate the big gesture, but ultimately, it's the little things that win our hearts. So far, details have kept our marriage blossoming, and we're celebrating eleven years this weekend. Sometimes I feel like I married him just yesterday, and at other times I feel like we've been together a hundred years - and not in a bad way.
So, with marriage on my mind, I thought I'd share a few of the traditions that we observe. The first involves champagne glasses. We decided just before our first anniversary that we'd buy a different set of (2) champagne glasses each year. The idea was that one day we'd have a 50th wedding anniversary party and would have accumulated enough glasses for all of our guests - we also thought the collection might make a sentimental family heirloom. We label each glass with the year and where we were at the time. Sometimes we buy glasses according to the current trend (such as the year when stemless flutes were all the rage or when champagne coupes came back into fashion) or at a cost level to reflect where we were financially in any given year...and then there was the year we bought water glasses instead of champagne flutes because I was pregnant. It's such a small thing, and yet we look forward to it each year. It's hard to believe that, as of this weekend, we'll already have twenty-two glasses in our collection.
Another tradition in our marriage has been the keeping of a journal. We were inspired by the story of an English couple who traded the same birthday card back and forth for forty years, adding to the sentiment each year. We heard this story about a week after we got married and decided to take it a step further. There are no rules to our journal. We write to each other when we feel like it. Some years there are a hundred entries, some years maybe a dozen. It's one of my favorite worldly possessions, because the tale of our marriage is all there. There's laughter, pain, exhilaration, sadness, love, truth...all the myriad emotions and events that make up the fabric of a life shared. The years go so quickly and memories and moments are so fleeting. But this little time capsule keeps everything in sharp focus.
Our last tradition is an ephemeral one, meant to end with our son. When my husband and I were dating and living in Los Angeles, we were on hiatus from the television show we were working on and we took a three-month road trip through the South. I was looking for a photographer in a small town two hours outside of New Orleans. We stopped for a cup of coffee and spent three weeks there, immersed in small town life and a cast of characters. There was the swamp, alligators, Zydeco bands, Cajun food, late nights, colorful and eccentric locals, and Old Coe, the moonshine man (now deceased). It was an amazing summer.
Two years later, as I was driving through this town on my way to get married in New Orleans, I stopped off to visit friends and procured another bottle of moonshine to give to my husband as a wedding present (this was not "white lightning," but an artful and smooth liquor). We drank it together the night of our wedding and on anniversaries and special occasions, finally saving just enough for our firstborn child to drink on his wedding night (or some other occasion of his choosing, should marriage not be in the cards). When my son was born, I went to Brimfield with him when he was three weeks old and purchased two rustic, but lovely little glasses. Again, it's just a detail, but it's meaningful to us and when we evacuate for hurricanes, we carry that bottle of moonshine along with us.
I don't know what other traditions we will implement along the journey of our marriage, but I'm so grateful to have a partner who understands that it's the small stuff that counts.