I won’t say it sneaked up on me, how could it have, what with the date inscribed in my ring and a wife who loves a reason to celebrate, and I certainly won’t say that it’s been a long, hard road: Emma doesn’t like those sort of chauvinist jokes, and a wise husband genuinely understands that his wife is more knowledgeable about cross-gender etiquette than he is. So, suffice it to say that today marks two years of marital blissfulness. We’ve reached the fabled cotton anniversary, the official end to newlywed-hood, newlywed-dome, newlywed-dedness, and it is a cause for reflection:
First of all, I like the state of our relationship, how we embrace the conventional in our own unconventional way: Whereas I buy bags far too regularly, Emma fancies a good holey t-shirt and won’t give them up. I like to have a meal ready for Emma when she gets home, and she relishes a chance to clean, especially something that needs rubber gloves and bleach. As tradition would have dictated, we’ve approached this anniversary with very cotton-centric thoughts, longing to uphold the time-honored mores of giving your spouse the appropriate material for your time spent hitched.
This year Emma gave me a card with a q-tip in it, what Brits call “cotton buds” and which she lovingly left unused. Secondly, she gave me a pair of underpants with Russian dolls on them. Upon bestowing them, she informed that she had rigorously questioned the shopkeeper to ensure that they were, indeed, cotton. Moreover, she also noted that, despite having been married for two years, she knows neither my underpants size nor my shoe size, which some conventions say should be correlative. Lastly, within the underpants gift, there was a message stating that, if they didn’t fit me, she’d be happy to wear them around the house.
At first it seemed I’d been outdone, for I had not actually purchased a cotton product, or anything for that matter. But, quick on my feet, handy with a jingle, I immediately launched into a rousing—literally, she was roused and excited, not in a euphemistic way, literally—rendition of the American classic “Here Comes Peter Cottontail”. She thought I’d made it up but was actually even more moved by the fact that the gift came along with several animated YouTube! versions to enjoy. I also confessed to not knowing her underpants size either, though, due to our bowling night and her inability to say thirty-seven in Russian, I do know her shoe size.
Like our wedding day, and the paper anniversary that followed it a year later (I wrote Emma a poem on a sheet from my notebook; she wrote me a note on a beer mat), we will celebrate our union tonight with cheap beer and pizza, about which Emma is as excited as I am. That’s love. For breakfast, we had mimosas, which were technically meant for the day after, as happened in Vegas, but the champagne proved to enticing and did not last quite long enough. I enjoy the fact that this doesn’t matter to us, that Emma even considered just making pizza at home if it was too much of a pain-in-the-ass to go out. That’s why--
Two years, six countries, thirteen states, four homes (three in Russia alone), 8,000 miles of road trips, five months of visiting in-laws, two months of in-laws visiting, approximately 745 trips up the Earth Lodge hill, possibly 104 chips and mushy peas nights (on which I, the American, am chef), six visas, one snowman, four Christmases (three in Russia alone), zero diamonds, and who knows how many pizza-and-beer nights in between (if you know what I’ve mean—elbow nudge) later, we’ve finally reached maturity as a couple.
We made it to the cotton, baby!