There’s a commercial that runs rampant in my neck of the woods for a store called Kay Jewelers. It’s a picturesque scene – husband and wife are staring into each other’s eyes over some filet mignon and chocolate mousse. Hubby is all shiny in his pressed white shirt under his suit, and the wife is all decked out in her basic black dress that hugs and forgives in all the right places. Their table is adorned with a simple rose in a vase as the scene behind them glistens in ambient light. Then, from across the table the husband stretches out his arm and un-cups his hand to reveal a small, velvet box and hands it across to his wife. He is smiling as if he’s courtside at an NBA game with hot wings in his lap rather than parked at a pricey restaurant with $20 wedge salads. His wife responds by arching her eyebrows in gross anticipation, then gently takes the box and flips open the top only to reveal some emblem of diamonds. Either shaped in a heart to signify their undying love, or perhaps in a circular round symbolic of a never-ending commitment to one another, the woman conveys her approval with a knowing look. He nods proudly at his own move then smiles to himself as if to say, “I am so getting action later.” Finally, in culmination of this perfect moment they lean across the small table to share a kiss, and then the commercial jingle pipes in, “Every kiss begins with ‘Kay’.”
It makes me want to strangle a puppy.
And then it makes me want diamonds for my anniversary. Which is today.
Twenty years, baby. Or as Rent would say, ten million five-hundred twelve thousand minutes. It’s been two whole decades since my sister did my hair, I gave myself a manicure with a polish I think they now label, “Grandma’s Powder Room”, and San Diego ordered a downpour that forced our garden reception indoors. Twenty years is kind of a long time and I dare say I have learned a lot.
I learned that I share an anniversary with Mariah Carey and her ex-husband, Tommy Mottola. I learned that getting married to further your career is a recipe for a divorce. I learned that I am better at marriage than Mariah Carey.
I have learned that New Year’s Eve will always be overrated, and that kissing under bright lights and mayhem at midnight is just as good as kissing under a fluorescent light in the kitchen at 9pm when you’re kissing the right person.
I have learned that not all husbands cry like babies when they see their babies being born. Sometimes they hold your hand while watching the Masters and rooting for Phil Mickelson, but it’s ok. Because 16 years later he’s going to take that baby out on a daddy/daughter date and make her feel like a million bucks and she won’t remember that he didn’t cry when she was born.
I’ve learned that jumping off waterfalls, exploring Israel, zip-lining through a grove of aspens and swimming with dolphins can be a lot of fun with your eternal partner. And I’ve also learned that even though it’s fun it has nothing to do with love.
No, love is when I was overweight for 10 years and he never EVER mentioned it. Love is when I broke down crying in the bathroom, overwhelmed at the thought of being a first time parent and he held me and promised me we would figure it out together. Love is getting in the bed first to warm up my side while I’m taking off my makeup. Trumping all, I would say that Cory’s greatest gift to me in twenty years of marriage has been loving me when I’m not being lovable. He’s really brave.
The truth about life, and in this case the truth about married life, is that the perfect moments are usually messy. For me, they haven’t been born in bistros over wine and diamonds. He’s not wearing a tux, I’m not wearing a satin gown, and we’re not standing on top of the Eiffel Tower renewing our vows. We’re usually at home. He’s trying to figure out what’s wrong with the sprinklers, I’m trying to figure out how many chocolate chips I can fit in my mouth. We’re often dealing with homework – he sits patiently aside a child and helps with math. I make cookies while they study for Finals and teach them about the dangers of emotional eating. We’re a team!
The truth is, not all kisses begin with Kay. And even if they did, I’m confident that it wouldn’t be as satisfying as the commercial makes it seem. Someday they will make a commercial where the wife is sitting on the couch and her husband comes downstairs wearing a fedora and a skull shirt and asks, “What do you think?” Their 17-year-old daughter scoffs and says, “Wow. I can’t un-see that.” We’ll laugh as the husband retorts, “I kinda like it. I’m wearing it anyway.” His wife then takes him to a graduation party and jokes about her new boyfriend, Bruno Mars. I’m not sure what the commercial would be for exactly, but my family would be the stars. In the meantime, forget the diamonds.
Just give me 20 more years.