I couldn't sleep last night. Its a regular occurrence, which I'm told comes with age, but I think it's just me, always anxious and always thinking. The display on the cable TV box bathed the room in a dim blue light and I could see my wife, Keri, sleeping soundly beside me. She looked like the young girl I met in college and three decades of marriage have not dulled her beauty. She has grown from a shy coed into a complex woman; a nurturing mom to our three children, an outspoken and fierce advocate for her family and a loving, sexy, supportive wife and best friend. As she lay there, breathing steadily and peacefully, I reflected on our life together as we approach another anniversary later this week.
Our eldest daughter Amanda and I had already taken care of her gift. Amanda and I have long been eager co-conspirators in our efforts to surprise Keri on major occasions. Together, we had successfully planned a surprise twentieth anniversary party where I asked Keri to renew our vows before our family and fifty of our friends. I usually opt for more tangible reminders of our anniversary, namely artwork. Amanda, who co-founded Installation, the first all-digital art magazine, has assisted me since she was a child in choosing paintings to give to Keri to commemorate our wedding day. We went to CB1 Gallery in Los Angeles which represents Lisa Adams, a local artist Keri admires, and Amanda and I chose a work entitled Wayfarer's Admonition. The owner of the gallery seemed surprised we were buying something so personal for my wife who had never seen it. Still, Amanda and I felt confident as we'd done this before with great success.
I strategically hung the painting so it would be obscured when Keri walked in. I had called her to come home early under the pretense of helping our daughter pack for an upcoming trip, but I suspect Keri already knew something was up. She saw the painting and began to cry (it's one of Keri's most endearing traits -- she wears her heart on her sleeve). "It's beautiful," she said through the tears. "It reminds me of my life, melancholy and darkness all around with sunlight shining through. It's so hopeful." I realized how right she was. There was no doubt that I love and appreciate Keri more today than when we married but the journey has not been an easy one. Journeys worth taking seldom are. We have had our share of victories and joy punctuated by many challenges and setbacks. Some of our dreams were dashed while others we'd never imagined took their place and blossomed.
Here we are, after thirty-two years, married and happy and, just as important, happy that we married. As I lay gazing at Keri, still fast asleep, I saw her beautiful face. Even in slumber I felt her beautiful spirit. I realized then what I guess it took me a lifetime to know for certain -- every anniversary is golden. So is every day.
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