Last night was the sixth anniversary of the evening Jon and I stood on a cliff in Yosemite National Park and vowed to give each other shit for the rest of our lives. This weekend that we have spent in San Francisco at a three-day music festival was planned at the last moment, and it was something we thought would appropriately commemorate this anniversary. He and I met at a music festival in Utah in 1997. He was married to someone else at the time, and I knew this, respected this, had heard stories about him from some of his close friends, but I couldn’t help falling in love with him on that very hot summer afternoon. And he was totally oblivious.
Yesterday morning I was thinking about all of that, how it’s a miracle and a blessing that even though I knew there was no hope and had given up on the idea of Jon Armstrong, had moved on with my life, had said to myself that I could settle for someone else, that here we are, six years later, knocking each other in the head every night with our twin skinny elbows and knees.
We’ve spent the last three days running around Golden Gate Park with two heavy professional cameras, one that we rented on a whim the first morning we got here, taking photos of some of the bands whose music has been the soundtrack to our lives together. Last night when it was all over and we were back at the hotel sipping cocktails on the roof overlooking the city we couldn’t believe what we’ve lived through in six short years together: unemployment and moving into my mother’s basement to owning our first house, a kitchen remodel, pregnancy, postpartum depression, physical and occupational therapy on our child, hoping and waiting to see if she would ever walk, two MRIs, starting our own business, getting sued by a publishing company, marriage counseling, skin cancer, traveling all over the country, to Canada, to Europe, adopting a dog who eats her own poop, and several deaths in the extended family. We made it through it all. And it wasn’t easy, there were times when both of us didn’t know if we were going to make it but loved each other enough that we were willing to try.
My friend Leona gave me some really profound advice last night as we were talking about how much better our thirties are compared to our twenties. She said, “No matter what horrible thing you’re going through, when it’s all over it only takes three seconds to sum it up. Remember that.”
I lost my mind, got some help, and then I found it again.
We thought we were going to lose our house trying to pay legal fees. Thankfully, it didn’t work out that way.
My dog likes to pee all over the house. I thought I might kill her, but I didn’t.
Once I threw my keys at my husband’s head because I thought he didn’t understand. He didn’t leave me.
My daughter wouldn’t put any weight on her legs, and the doctors said she might not ever walk. They were wrong, and now she runs.
I am very much looking forward to the morning six years from now when he and I are taking a few moments before the chaos of the day consumes us, and we can look back and talk in three-second sentences.