05 August 2005
Along for the Ride
Tomorrow my cousin Amy is getting married. She's about 10 years younger than me, and was my youngest cousin through my growing-up years.
When Amy and her parents came to visit, it sparked a competition between my sister Wendy and me. Amy was a little cutie-pie, bright-eyed and red-haired. Each of us wanted her to like us best. Wendy usually got more attention, since at 6 years younger than me she was young enough to really play with Amy. At least that's my memory. Wendy may tell you something different. In any case, if Amy had lived any closer to us, we cousins probably would have spoiled her rotten.
Amy was the guest-book attendant at my wedding, a pre-teen at the time. I remember my mom telling me that Amy cried at my wedding, because she thought my getting married meant we would never see each other again.
Unfortunately, it did mean that our paths crossed less. We see each other rarely enough that I always have a bit of a jolt when my mental picture of Amy at about age 12 comes up against the reality of Amy as an adult.
You know what's still there, though? Yes, of course that glorious red hair. But I would say that the hallmark of Amy's personality is her enthusiasm. I was just thinking the other day that I don't come across a lot of people who are enthusiastic about what they do or about life in general. Or, at least, we're all too cool or jaded to show enthusiasm. But Amy positively exudes it, and takes everyone around her along for the ride.
And what a ride marriage is. It's cliched to say that there are ups and downs, but it's also the truth. I found the first few years of marriage the hardest. It takes time to really know someone, and to get yourself out of the way long enough to learn how to love your spouse well. I still have to get myself out of the way. Marriage is a long lesson in "it's not about you." (Parenthood is a boot camp on the same subject.)
But the ride--side by side in the same seat, clutching at each other's hands during the scary parts--is so worth it.
I really wish we could be there for the wedding. I'd probably return the favor of crying the whole way through. I'll have to settle for hoping that tomorrow will be only the first day in a long line of days spent living, loving, and laughing together...with delighted enthusiasm.