It's Robin's and my anniversary today - 37 years!
I cannot help looking back at our honeymoon and remembering how odd it felt to be married - it was as if we were playing house. Both of us wondered what it would be like to grow old with this person.
It has not been easy - balancing the needs of two quite different people in a partnership. I am a dreamer and Robin a pragmatist. But now I see that this difference has been a strength. I pull forward and Robin makes sure we are grounded. There is a tension but if I had married another dreamer, I would have got lost. If Robin had married another pragmatist, she might have got stuck.
We are good in public but are both happier not being social. We both have high needs for alone time. As we have both worked from home for nearly 20 years, this need for alone time includes alone from the other at home. Somehow we have pulled this off.
Together and yet apart.
We had a lot of tension abut parenting styles but both agreed on the outcomes that we wanted.
With all our failings and all the bumps along the way, we can now look back at our two children in their 30's and feel that we must have done some things right. This offers us a great deal of comfort for we have seen with others that there is no second chance or going back. And in the scheme of things, setting the next generation on their way well is surely the main part of a life and surely the key part of most partnerships.
The grand children call us.
I had a wonderful experience with my mum's dad. Robin with her dad's Mum. We both experienced the value of this kind of relationship. We both want this.
We know that there is not another 37 years left for us either. One of us will bury the other. This makes our remaining days more precious - even if they are a bit quiet now. Getting Robin her tea in the morning or my doing the washing up at night are no longer chores but gifts that one day will end.
It's the small acts of grace and love that feed us now.