It’s The Little Things That Matter The Most
By Author Donna Jean McDunn
Tomorrow is our 42nd wedding anniversary. Yep, that’s right, forty-two years of wedded…life. Were you perhaps expecting I would say “bliss”?
Marriage isn’t all happiness and flowers and I would never describe it as blissful. Marriage is work, more work than any teenager could ever have imagined. The only thing harder is “raising teenagers”, but of course we didn’t know that, not then anyway. We were two teenagers in love and didn’t know or care how hard life would get.
It didn’t matter to us that Pat had just received his draft notice and he would be leaving in three weeks. It didn’t matter that I would be left alone for the better part of two years worrying that he might have to go to Viet Nam and maybe never come back. We had a friend who died over there. He’d only been there a few months.
But we were lucky, Pat never left the States, and I went with him whenever I could. I’d never been away from our small town or my family and we had no idea how homesick we, okay I, would become and how quick our lives would change. Our first baby girl was born a year later in August of 1971, but within the next six years there would be two more. We had to grow up fast.
There were so many ups and downs in our marriage just as there are in every marriage. The birth of our three daughters was the ups, but the bills that accompanied each one were the downs. According to statistics the hardest thing on a marriage is money or I should say the lack of money.
We had plenty of that all right, the lack of money that is, but over the years it has gotten better. However, until our daughters finally graduated and stopped moving back home every few months, it seemed impossible to see ourselves ever living debt free. Then miraculously we paid off our credit cards and in four years our house will really belong to us instead of to the bank.
Looking back over the years, I can honestly say, money never played a role in making or breaking our marriage. For me, it was the little things that most often threatened our life together. A careless comment or the lack of an encouraging comment at an appropriate time, were for me the hardest things to ignore and forget. I’m not saying I never made the same mistakes. I’m sure I did, I’m human too, but if our marriage was doomed to fail and I was the one to call it quits, those comments or lack of, would have been the reason.
It still is.
I don’t know if anyone else feels the same as I do, but I need to know I am appreciated and loved and I shouldn’t have to ask if it’s true. Without those two things, I wouldn’t have a reason to stay, not even for my daughters. In the long haul of things, Pat has always managed to come through and give me what I needed.
Have I done the same for him? I’d like to think so, but to be honest, I’ve never asked him if he has ever wanted to leave our marriage and I don’t want to know now if he ever did. There are some things better left unsaid, even in a marriage or maybe especially in a marriage and maybe that’s why it’s worked for us for forty-two years.
Our eight grandchildren are now what holds us together as a family and for them we would both walk through fire, just the same as we did when our daughters lived at home. I just hope the grandkids never ask us to co-sign a loan, because that will never happen. We had to learn the hard way: Fire can be put out with water, but a co-sign could last forever, especially at our age.
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It’s been said that writing is a lonely business and that’s true, but if we writers and readers continue to support one another, then we are no longer alone.
My Young Adult short story “Trapped” was recently chosen as one of nine winners in The Young Adult Mystery Times Nine 2012 Short Story Competition. The list of winning authors and their story titles may be viewed at:
(13) Buddhapuss Ink LLC Click on “see more” to view the entire list. The winning stories will be published together sometime in September or October. I will update you then.
My first adult short story, “Saving Katie” has been published at: http://www.thepinkchameleon.com. Once on the site, scroll down the page until you see Short Stories. Click on that and the list of short stories will appear. Find “Saving Katie”.
Some of my work can be found online: My children’s story “Pack Leader” can be found at: http://www.knowonder.com.
I also have a children’s story, “The Golden Stallion” online at: http://www.storiesthatlift.com. Once on the site click on the Story Library and then Children’s Stories.
In May 2012, my children’s story, “Gus’ Big Adventure” was published at: Bumples Magazine. http://www.bumples.com/