In a couple of days it will be our 23rd wedding anniversary. Over the years, Anthony and I have been hopeless at remembering this and my mother usually reminds me! But, even after being reminded, Ants and I have never done the whole anniversary present thing, just as we have never bothered with the Valentine’s Day thing.
Our love story, in retrospect, is very romantic but we have both been a bit cringy about public displays of affection and have never adhered to expectations around both occasions. In fact, until now, we have never held hands in public. Perhaps, having hidden our romance for so long, when I was younger, and having had such a wonderful platonic relationship beforehand, our friendship didn’t require the usual trappings of romance.
I think that when a romantic relationship begins with a platonic friendship, it is easier to manage the ups and downs of a marriage. I can remember years ago Anthony suggesting that he might one day buy me an emerald ring and silly, young me hoping to get this on my 40th birthday. Instead, he bought me a wonderful lithograph that he had always wanted!
After Anthony experienced my dignified disappointment (“You just bought me something YOU wanted!”) he began buying me silver bangles every Christmas and birthday, picking them out himself during the years before he became too affected by Parkinson’s disease to drive into town. So he began to send me into town to pick whatever silver bangle I wanted, which I did, reluctantly to begin with and unhappy with the thought that I was romancing myself! I
eventually quickly began buying my annual bangles at just above Anthony’s budget instructions. It was hilarious to watch his expression when I came home and said, “I’ve found one and I love it, but it’s a bit expensive!”
Anthony (having always been extremely
tight careful with money), would ponder the situation, look at the picture of the bangle, then at my greedy grin, and say, “Yes, okay, Jules.” These were gleeful moments, mischievous and hilarious and as solid as the silver in the bangles.
In light of our current circumstances – Anthony in the nursing home etc. I was tempted to just pretend the whole silver bangle ritual. After all, that’s what I did last Christmas and for my birthday in January. But then tonight I suddenly thought Ants will get a kick out of giving me a new bangle so tomorrow I am going to find one that is really unusual and take it in to get his approval.
Our romance began when I was 23 and now we have been married for 23 years, so I will get the chosen bangle engraved with 23 – yes!