So, as of this morning (or more accurately, I suppose, as of this afternoon) Amanda and I have been married for 13 years. Thirteen years... that's quite a number of years. The strange thing about anniversaries is that marriage is not a piece of one's identity - in so many ways it becomes the essence of one's identity. It is not something one bolts on, the way one might celebrate, for example, one's work anniversary. It something one transforms into. Its more like a birthday, in its way, and this is one of the reasons I am glad I changed my name when I was married - this is the day I ceased to be Jason Roper, a boy I now hardly remember, and became Jason Gignac, the husband of Amanda.
Like a birthday, though, an anniversary reminds one that the reality of one's existence is an objective fact, that this 'Jason Gignac' character is a person, who exists, who once did not exist who one day will cease to exist again. One steps outside one's self, and looks objectively at one's own story.
It is a peculiar one, Amanda and I. If I were the divine casting director, it is not the roles I would have cast. I'm horribly designed to be the great key to Amanda's happiness, which is always what I've wished to be in a marriage - it's a task that I am awed at the glorious responsibility of trying to fulfill, but that to be perfectly frank, I'm a great bungler at the execution of. But there you have it. When they say love is blind, perhaps this is what it means - there is a mind-boggling aspect to being the man Amanda loves. One continuously wonders, like the Catholic saints of the old days, why one was chosen, when one clearly doesn't deserve it.
And to be frank, this honestly has made me spend many anniversaries just a little bit ashamed, a little bit apologetic. Love has its sharp edges, even on the handle thereof, but it is such a beautiful thing, you feel you have to grab tight to it anyways. It is a hard thing to know that Amanda has made so much of the good for me, when honestly, I'm not even sure I have kept a positive balance in that bank in return. I'd wager not, and if I have, its been more a function of time, since I've made several awfully big negative withdrawals, and still withdraw all of the time. There is a legacy to this one cannot simply release, one cannot (and I think should not) simply say 'well, that's the past'. Responsibility is what it is.
But, then, as I get older, I've learned, perhaps, that on my anniversary, it hardly matters, that in the end, that isn't what one is to look at in an anniversary - there is something about an anniversary, I've come to think, where it is almost selfish to think of it outside of one's self. And those true aspects of what an anniversary is about, I can say wholeheartedly: how much, how dearly, how intently I love Amanda, how deeply, and profoundly grateful I am to have her as the sun I orbit 'round.
How lovely that is, after all - there is something terrific and marvelous about being married to Amanda, to being married to someone you can love and love and love, and never quite find the far borders of. Love is a mystery, right? One cannot understand it - maybe that's the challenge of it, it is the thing which teaches us to be happy whether or not we understand all the ramifications of happiness, to allow happiness to be great for its own sake, not to think of all those adult ideas of 'deserving' and 'balances' and whatnot, but simply to say 'This, all of this, this darling woman, she makes me happy, and she hasn't asked to go, after all, and I love her so desperately, and isn't happiness wonderful?'