We just celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary!
Talk about your milestones!
While I never had any doubt about our future together back in 1994 when I met Alistair, I know there were a few doubters.
I can’t blame them. I was 21 and he was divorced with a couple of kids.
As Sinead O’Conner sang, “how could I possibly know what I want when I was only 21?”
I guess I just did.
So we eloped on a day 2 of our best friends couldn’t come but they gave Alistair a couple of hours off from the pager and another friend could watch the kids and his nurse, who was a pastor at a strange church had the time to marry us and that was that.
19 years ago.
Of course we had the infamous skating wedding a couple of months later which included our families and friends and the 2 friends who missed the first one (on the left in the picture!) and a brave bridal party in spandex and on ice skates.
(The gentleman playing the bagpipes and our Justice of the Peace didn’t wear skates.)
Getting married, whether its your first, second or third time is a major milestone in one’s life.
In fact, much of life is a series of milestones. What we make of them at the time, who came along for the ride, and how we look back on them is what frames us today.
My series of milestones themselves isn’t much different than anyone else’s although my timelines may have been shorter.
First job. First car. First kiss. First boyfriend. First breakup. First crying-on-the-phone-thinking-its-the-end-of-the-world-please-lets-not-break-up. First moment of realizing my own self worth. First apartment. First time juggling 2 jobs and college. First love. First engagement. First ice show. First time breaking someone else’s heart. First skating club of my very own. First boyfriend who shares your world view. First horse wreck and subsequent first broken bone. First time playing house. First step kids. First kitty and ferret. First grand theft auto. First marriage. First degree. First year vet school. First clinic of my own. First time getting 2 tractors and one truck stuck. First Dog Days of Summer. First trip to Hawaii. First time to stand up and make a choice with tremendous consequences for the community and the animals in your care because its the right thing to do. First swing of a golf club. First blog. First book.
Every first is accompanied by anticipation, fear, excitement, worry, angst and questioning.
“What if I can’t hit the golf ball?” (I didn’t much of the time).
“What if I can’t care for a pet?” (No problemo).
“What if I can’t find anyone else to love me?” (I did. And its real.)
“What if people are mad at me?” (They might have been but then they were supportive when they saw me smiling brighter, looking healthier and happier than I had in years… and they bought my book.)
Having Alistair by my side through several of these milestones has certainly been a huge boost.
Its frightening making changes that affect yourself, let alone ones that affect several animals in your care or all of the animals in your community.
Perhaps part of the reason we still like to wake up in the mornings together after so many years is because of our mutual respect for, and support of one another.
Its not like we instantly think each others’ ideas are wonderful or perfect.
Like when he wanted to get alpacas and llamas for packing in the mountains.
One milestone we didn’t need to get past.
Some milestones, like our anniversary, are fantastic, happy occasions that deserve celebration and recognition.
We played 18 holes of golf that afternoon and enjoyed a wonderful supper at beautiful Holland Lake Lodge that night.
It was fun to dress up and visit with the owner and allow ourselves some special time together.
And then there are shared milestones you don’t want to even think about. The ones that don’t warrant any mention at all, let alone a fancy supper and a sparkly necklace.
Milestones that shape us no differently than the terrific ones because they still touch us and are still a part of our memories and who we are.
Like the one coming up with dear Cooper.
Cooper has been a Fyfe fixture for 19 years. She found our root cellar in Creston and moved right into our hearts and home.
She was an adult then so she is at least 20 years old.
I’ve asked her about her age but she’s always been coy about the subject.
So its no surprise to know we will be saying goodbye to her soon but it still sucks.
And makes those pesky tears well up in my eyes yet again.
2015 has been hard on our animal companions.
And while her story is for another time, I must face the fact that our time together is coming to an end.
I will do all of the things I have counseled clients and friends to do- watch how much she is eating; monitor for signs of pain or discomfort; palpate; see if she still wants to do her usual things; watch for signs from the other cats.
And I know what she doesn’t have because I’m a good little scientist and I’ve ruled them out.
But I strive to be a good Mummy, too, which is why I’m going to have to talk to that damned vet inside of me very soon.
And make The Decision.
One more milestone.
Until then I will enjoy each day I have with Cooper and all of our aging companions at Fyfe’s Farm for Wayward Pets and Unwed Mothers.
Each day is a gift.
And every opportunity to reach another milestone is a gift as well, regardless of how we choose to deal with it.
As with all of my milestones, they have made me the woman I am and I am richer for each and every one of them.