Today my husband and I celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary and it is the first time we haven’t been able to celebrate together since I am in Ireland and he is now back in the States. During my practice students often came in due to loneliness and confusion as they try to negotiate the loveless “hook-up” world of college campuses. I have deplored the myth of the hook-up culture because I have spoken with countless young adults about relationships and not once did I hear from young woman or young man a wish to hook up more often. Time and again young adults have expressed their desire for a solid relationship and their despair over being able to find one. When working with young adults I have encouraged them to articulate the qualities they want in a partner and what they hope to create in life with a partner. Recognizing that the wait is lonely, choosing relationship is a worthy countercultural act today. I have been cognizant during these discussions that my husband and I are on the other side of the equation. We are able to enjoy the fruits of a long commitment. I am not expressing a political view on marriage. To me the value of marriage for any couple is the umbrella of commitment under which two flawed human beings can shelter as they create a life together. A couple may fall in love, but forsaking all others is a choice. Commitment to each other gets you through the long haul.
Summing up 31 years in a few paragraphs is not easy. Looking back I can see that what we’ve created has been pretty darn good and much of what we created has been based on decisions made together early in our relationship. We tend to our relationship everyday. We set our course based on individual and mutual goals and desires. We talk about nothing and everything—the laundry and our hopes and dreams. We cultivated rituals and routines to mark big events and daily rhythms. Our three children are the best of what we created. We have put loving adults into the world. They will each find their own path through life, but whatever they choose and whatever mistakes they make, Gerry and I are confident in their goodness as people.
Whatever we Imagine, sung by James Ingram, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T13lTi8Ih24&list=RDT13lTi8Ih24#t=46 was our first dance on our wedding day. Turns out the lyrics of the song were perfectly fitting and still are today. We laugh over the very first line, “Don’t be afraid, I will meet you half way.” That’s funny to us because we work like that as a couple. One the one hand, we had a foundation of mutual attraction, shared values, and common interests. We are both meaning makers. We are birds of a feather. One the other hand, we aren’t the most romantic couple in the world. We don’t do the grand gestures. We can take each other for granted. We meet halfway and not a step further!
As important as the commitment we made to each other 31 years ago is, today I would like to celebrate the one abiding thread throughout our life together. We like each other. Sounds simple, but makes a big difference. We both love the line in Shenandoah when the young soldier comes to the character played by Jimmy Stewart to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Jimmy Stewart’s character asks, “Do you like her?” The soldier responds, “Oh yes, Sir, I love your daughter very much,” (I’m probably mangling these lines). To which the father (as only Jimmy Stewart could deliver) replies, “I didn’t ask you if you love her I asked you if you like her.” Gerry and I like each other so much that we prefer each other’s company to anyone else’s. We like being together. He likes that I find him funny. We like each other so much that we would never deliberately hurt the other. We consider each other’s feelings before we are tempted to do something stupid. We are not perfect by any means, but because we like each other we can see our way through difficulties; we can act as a team; we can act independently; we have each other’s backs. We sing each other’s praises. Our love is based on like. Then the love is free to expand out toward helping other people rather than closing in on itself. But at the end of the day we can return home and rest in the loving embrace of the person who accepts us just as we are. I celebrate how lucky I am to be with a man whom I still like, who can still take my breath away when he walks into a room (especially when he’s carrying the load of laundry he just finished and I LOVE him for that) and who still likes me. Two flawed human beings sheltering under our umbrella looking forward to the next 30 years or so. And it is good. Happy Anniversary, Hon! I like you!
In honor of our anniversary here’s a recipe for Homemade noodles to go with Gerry’s favorite meal–spaghetti with red sauce. I made them over the weekend. They were so easy and fun I don’t think I’ll ever buy store bought again.
Gillian Hegarty’s Homemade Noodles
300 g (10 oz or 2 ½ cups) “00” flour (I haven’t seen this in the States just use a fine flour)
25 g (1 oz) semolina flour
good pinch of salt
1 whole egg and 3 large egg yolks (preferably organic/free range)
1 dessert spoon (American Tablespoon) of olive oil
1 teaspoon cold water
Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the center, break in one whole egg and two yolks together with the olive oil and water then mix. If there is not enough moisture add the extra egg yolk and perhaps a little of the whites. It is difficult to be exact as it depends on the size of the eggs and the type of flour.
Knead 8-10 minutes or until really smooth and silky. Wrap well in cling film and let rest for 30 minutes. Divide into three pieces, keep two covered while you roll the other into 3mm (1/8in) thick. Using a sharp knife or pizza wheel cut into 5 mm (1/4 in) strips. You can also use a pasta attachment if you have one. Toss the noodles in semolina flour and then place on a tray also sprinkled generously with semolina flour. The noodles are best if they are allowed to dry out for at least an hour in the fridge or in a place that is not too warm. They can be kept up to 3 days in the fridge. Use in your favorite recipe.
To cook use plenty of boiling generously salted water e.g. 8 pints water/1 T of salt. Bring the water to a fast rolling boil, add the salt and drop in the pasta, stir well. Fresh pasta cooks up much more quickly then dried 1-2 minutes depending on the thickness. Toss immediately into your favorite sauce adding 1-2 T of the pasta water to loosen pasta.
(From Gillian Hegarty 16/8/2011)