5778 (the Jewish New Year) started out with one of my least favorite things: a whole lot of puking. E. caught a cold and it got real fierce, real fast. One minute she was dancing to the Sh’ma at Rosh Hashanah services and the next we were praying that we wouldn’t have to bring her in to the ER for dehydration.
Of course, I had also caught her cold. But a cold hits me like it hits most able-bodied people who don’t live on a feeding tube. It’s uncomfortable and yes, it kind of sucks. But it certainly doesn’t send me to the hospital.
We put E. on straight pedialyte through her tube in order to restore her fluids. And within a few hours, she started doing much, much better. Soon she was well enough to smile at strangers, because that’s her baseline.
Cedar and I decided to stick to our original plan for our anniversary staycation at home. We had been planning this for months—I had pre-arranged nursing care 24/7 for little E., Cedar packed up two big bags filled mostly with her medical supplies, and we sent the kids to stay with their doting grandparents for the weekend.
We had never slept in our house alone together before, as a couple. In fact, we had never even had an afternoon in our house just the two of us.
After so much planning and preparation for our so-called romantic weekend, I was disappointed by getting hit with a bout of upper respiratory crud. Because there is absolutely nothing fun or sexy about the sniffles. Then I remembered that on the day we got married I also had a terrible cold, and so did Cedar. We were blowing our noses the entire day. Somehow, that made it a lot more palatable. A little nostalgic, even.
There’s a Jewish saying: we plan and G-d laughs.
Before we went out to celebrate on Friday night, I changed into my pale pink chiffon dress, the same one I wore to the Decorah courthouse when we got married. Seven years earlier we had driven down to Iowa to get hitched, our own small act of solidarity with all of the folks in LGBTQ relationships who, at the time, couldn’t legally get married here in Minnesota.
Later we celebrated under a chuppah at a nearby farm. Cedar had composed a piece of music for the occasion— it was warm and breezy and free—and the whole barn was lit by candlelight.
When I put the dress on again this past weekend, my nose was running and my hair was wild with the humidity. The whole thing reminded me a little bit of before.
Yet, wow, what did I know then? About love, about what it’s like to stick around. About how different it all is after the limerence and fanfare, with the unexpected minutes and days that make up a real life with someone.
I woke up yesterday at seven—and for me that’s sleeping in. I got to work baking lemon lavender bread, nursing a cup of strong coffee until I felt just a little bit dizzy, in a good way. While Cedar slept for a few more hours, I opened the screen door so that I could hear the wind blow the maple leaves around outside.
I felt the opposite of lonely: alive and filled with potential for what could be in the new year.
I don’t know know why. It doesn’t matter what will happen in the new year, really. We will figure it out, or we won’t, and we will love each other anyway.
Having that moment, it was enough.