Today is our 22nd wedding anniversary so I am combining days twenty-six and twenty-seven because they fit so well together on this special day.
I'd like to spend the day with my husband, Vic, retracing our steps of our days in Saipan. I'd like to sit on the picnic table behind our office and see him come around the corner, a quick smile on his face when he saw me before he had to look away before anyone else caught the look between us. I'd like to sit in the living room of the house where he lived with the rest of the cable construction crew, the house where they treated me to a great meal and then gave up one of the bedrooms so I could stay overnight, safe from the typhoon that raged outside. I'd like to stand on the balcony of my old apartment at Millers Estates where Vic first told me that he loved me, the apartment where I left one morning as a single woman and returned as a wife.
I'd like to see our old house in San Vicente again, the house where we learned we were going to be parents and where we brought Sophia home from the hospital. I'd like to visit Auntie Mag's, the restaurant that prepared most of our dinners while I was pregnant and too nauseous to cook, and the Aqua Resort Club where we enjoyed many Sunday brunches after Sophia was born.
I'd like to see the airport again where I said goodbye to Vic and then welcomed him home again after he completed Navy Basic Training and where we said goodbye to him again two weeks later. Almost nine months later, Sophia and I said goodbye to Saipan and our dear friends there when we left to join Vic in Florida and begin our Navy adventure.
What is "love"? Love is taking two people from vastly different cultures, with vastly different life experiences, and watching them build a life together. We endured the separations and trails of Navy life, the challenges of family members with different approaches to parenting and expectations, our own differences of opinion and the compromises that were the result, tragic losses of loved ones, and despite of it all, we reach for each other's hand and know that together, we can get through it all. Twenty-two years later, we're still going strong. That's love.