My husband and I work hard at our marriage. We've learned to communicate well (at least I think so), we don't let things fester, we don't expect each other to read one another's mind (well, he doesn't expect me to, but if I'm honest here, I do sometimes expect him to read mine). We don't take ourselves too seriously, we laugh a lot, we try to make time in the midst of the busy-ness to "connect", to sit in one another's presence without a bunch of distractions (children, TV, computer, the newspaper) and just talk about what's going on. Some weeks we are better about it than other and that is just the nature of marriage. It's a dance...you move in and out of sync, and the times when you move out of sync, you are aware of it and do what you need to set it back on the right track.
Anyways, despite all of that, we probably don't make enough time to get away, just the two of us, without our little munchkins.
It was our anniversary yesterday, 11 years and going strong. We decided a couple of weeks ago we should try and get away for the weekend, or at least a night and we actually made it happen. I always think it sounds good in theory and then get caught up in the details of making the arrangements and seem to get stuck. So, I arranged for the child care and Sean took care of the plans, where we would go and stay. We left home about 10 am on Saturday and headed south toward the Gorge. It was pouring down rain, which didn't seem to dampen our mood in the least. The freedom of being away and having one another's full attention and company is such a treat. I think sometimes I forget how much I LIKE my husband. I always love him, of course, but sometimes I forget how much fun he is, how he can make me laugh, and smile and feel happy about life. We stopped in at Maryhill Winery for some wine tasting. The view is amazing and the sun decided to peek out from behind the clouds for a bit We then journeyed on, over the Columbia River to Hood River where we spent the afternoon at a brew pub. We sat at the bar and made friends with our neighbors, shared our pizza with one of them and left feeling full. We walked around Hood River holding hands, ate Gelatto from a street vendor and talked about why some cities have what my friend calls "animation" and others don't. You can feel when you walk into a place whether it has it or not. I guess its the same with people, when you meet someone, its usually evident from the get go whether or not they have animation. Certain places attract those kind of people and I think Hood River is one of them. You get that vibe, good energy, like people are doing things, things are happening. I don't know exactly how to put words to it, but if you are the least bit in touch with energy...you know what I am talking about.
It was finally late afternoon and so we headed to our hotel back across the river in White Salmon. We stayed at the same place a year ago, for our 10th anniversary. It's a small hotel, very sweet. It's across the street from a yoga studio they give you a free pass for, so they kind of get me with that. The last time we were in White Salmon everyone raved about a restaurant Henni's that we didn't make it to, so after a nice afternoon siesta, we headed out for dinner. It was delicious and serendipitous. During our meal, we heard the couple next to us telling the waiter they were celebrating their 59th anniversary. The waiter remarked how sweet it was to see a couple still enjoying one another's company after all those years. We congratulated them and told them we too were celebrating our anniversary. As we prepared to leave, Sean got up and paid for their bottle of wine. He, of course, didn't tell me, although I had a hunch as to what he was doing. He asked the waiter to not tell them until we were gone and we went on our way. My heart swelled....one of the many reasons why I love this man...his generosity, his kindness and his lack of ego.
We were talking as we walked back to the hotel later in the evening about how we should have asked them the secret to their success. As chance (and not many hotel options in that small town) would have it, the couple was staying at the same hotel, just down the hall. We crossed paths the next morning as we returned from yoga class and the man asked if we were the couple from dinner. He told us how surprised they were and that such acts of thoughtfulness make life better. I asked him what was the secret to their long marriage. "A little bit of luck, I think, and lots of support, from family and friends alike." Lucky us, we've definitely got all that.