The number 13.
For some, it’s an unlucky number. For others, an ironic take-that-superstition lucky number.
For me, it’s neither. But it’s an important one nonetheless. Through no fate or design, the number 13 and its components and multiples pop up in my life everywhere. Birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations.
It’s our 13th wedding anniversary today. I’ve been reflecting on the day and the promises my husband and I made to each other at the ripe young ages of 24 and 26.
I don’t actually have a copy of our wedding vows. I’m sure that, for the most part, they were representative of our love for, and commitment to, each other.
But I remember some cringe-worthiness too. Not of the too sappy, too lovey-dovey GROSSNESS kind. Just of the I-was-so-young-and-naïve kind.
Specifically, I remember describing my husband as my knight in shining armour.
He isn’t. He’s himself. He’s exactly what I want, and exactly what I need, but he’s not a knight in shining armour.
And I’m not a princess. I’m myself. I don’t need rescuing. I need challenging. I don’t need praising. I need belief.
When my husband and I got married, I said what I thought I was supposed to say at the time. But if we were getting married now, our vows would be very different. Mine might go something like this.
I love you. I have loved you for a long time, and I imagine that I’ll love you for a long time to come. I can no longer remember what it was like not loving you. I love everything about you, including the things that shit me to tears and cause me to stomp around the house in semi-faux outrage. (The crumbs on the bench. THE CRUMBS. If you were to disappear from my life, I know they’d be one of the first things I’d miss.)
I love you, and I love that you love me. I enjoy challenging you, and I enjoy being challenged by you. I believe in you, and I feel empowered and strengthened by your belief in me.
I love you, and I love working on us. I love that you work on us, too. I love that we’re a team, facing the world together and tackling our relationship together. I love that you expect the best of me. I love that when I can’t deliver the best of me, you don’t just accept the worst of me. You embrace it.
I love all the cliched things about you. I love your smile. I love your sense of humour. I love your butt. I love resting my head on your shoulder even though I’m too tall for it to be comfortable. I love that you dance with me at weddings, however begrudgingly.
I love all the non-cliched things about you. I love that you roll your eyes at sexist ‘jokes’. I love how passionate you got during the marriage equality ‘debate’. I love that you want a better future for our children, and that we can stand together in our fight for that. I love that you demand respect for yourself and those you love.
I love that you know yourself. And I love that self.
I vow not to honour and obey, but to challenge and learn. I vow not to have and hold, but to share and partner. I vow to not only be true to you, but true to myself, to our family, to who I am as an individual and to who we are as a team. I vow to not only love, but to work on our relationship every single day and actively appreciate who you are and what you stand for.
And I vow to inwardly curse and outwardly sigh as I stick a smile on my face and wipe those crumbs off the bench. As I do so, I’ll be listening for your sigh as you unclog my hair from the shower drain.
Happy anniversary, Cameron.