I don’t know what “Wocka Wocka” means. It’s what the muppets’ Fozzie Bear says after he cracks a joke – he considers himself something of a stand-up comic, so he cracks a lot of jokes. And then says, “Wocka wocka wocka!” I adore the muppets, but I feel more of a kinship with Miss Piggy than with Fozzie and his creative chortling.
But Wocka Wocka! starts with a W. And today is W in the A to Z Challenge (three more left, but who’s counting…). And today is our Wedding anniversary. And we were married at Wingate Park Country Club, in Pretoria, South Africa. So it seemed to be meaningful that today was a W day, despite the lack of meaning in Fozzie’s mirth.
Sixteen years married. The sun beat down so unseasonably fiercely on the golf course at Wingate that fall Sunday, our guests took cover under bright red umbrellas emblazoned with “Dunhill Tobacco Company Ltd.” Dunhill probably did not intend its umbrellas be used to shield the revelers from the South African midday sun at a small wedding, but thank goodness for that rosy shade! If not for them we might have had to share our chuppah (wedding canopy).
Those first few anniversaries we celebrated with such earnest, so deliberately – cards and gifts to each other, phone calls and emails from around the world, a romantic dinner at a special restaurant. A day, this day, to celebrate each other, the moment he smashed the glass under the chuppah, the exuberant Mazal Tovs resounding in our ears for years.
As our union steadily and not-so-slowly expanded from two to six, the day itself waned in importance. We still exchanged cards – maybe a gift on the odd year, but his birthday is three weeks before and mine is two weeks after, so to add more wrapping paper to the pile seemed ridiculous and unnecessary. With one, two, three and then four kids around, there was less time and space to feel uniquely special and celebrated in our duo. “Happy anniversary,” at 6.47am, a meaningful but hastily scrawled funny card, a quick kiss. Probably dinner out, but not too late, and a rush to meet him in San Francisco, or pick him up from the train station in the rain, to make the reservation on time, stay interesting and interested and don’t yawn!
Sixteen years today. It’s a pretty long time. Driving age. We didn’t exchange cards. Neither of us has had the bandwidth to plan ahead. It wasn’t a mutual decision not to do cards – in fact, I realized it right now. I didn’t get him a card, and he didn’t get me one. I’m vaguely relieved we are equally oblivious – if he had given me a card with no reciprocity, I would’ve looked terribly inconsiderate and felt, quite frankly, like an asshole.
And we are going out this evening, but to celebrate our friend’s birthday, not our anniversary. Maybe our eyes will meet and we’ll quietly raise a glass to each other for a second. Or not.
Before either of us had the chance to utter “Happy anniversary” this morning, the kids were asking to watch TV, and what are we doing today, and can I go in the hot tub and and and. “It’s our anniversary,” Ryan said to more than one of them. “Oh,” he, he and she replied. The oldest was nowhere to be seen. “Can we watch TV?”
We looked at each other. I rolled over. Pulled the covers on top of my head. When I surfaced again the littlest two were stumbling into our bedroom with a tray: four slices of dry toast, and a bowl of strawberries they found in the fridge. And two freshly-picked flowers adorning their breakfast-in-bed bounty.
“Happy Anniversary!” they giggled.
It’s not really about the day we got married in 1998. That was a wonderful day. A wonderful day for a wedding and a wonderful wedding of love and celebration. And we love to remember that day and those red Dunhill umbrellas, and “Staying Alive” on the dance floor, and that crazy hora chair-thing they do at Jewish weddings, and Ryan’s cousin broke his foot, and my aunt usurped the microphone and serenaded us all at the end.
It’s more about everything that happens from one April 26 to the next.
W is for We: one mom, one dad, four kids and a dachshund.
This post was written as part of the April A to Z Challenge. To read more of my A to Z posts click here.