Anniversary? Perenniaversary?

June 2, 2009 at 12:49 pm (Asperger's Syndrome, Family, Farming, Gorgeous Writing, Marriage)

I was reminded that this Tuesday just past was our anniversary at 6 PM that night when I got a beautiful e-mail from my sister. I chuckled a bit when Andy came in at 6:30 PM, and I said to him, “Hey, it’s our anniversary.” He chuckled, too, and said, “Oh, yeah. It is, isn’t it.”


Zeke the Hound wants to give me away

serious porch

Kath, me, Andy, David; Dress made by Kathleen McCarthy, sister and anam cara

Part of the reason we are both kind of blasé about June 30 as any kind of significant date is because we had already bought the farm and been living on it for six months by the time we wed. In our own minds, we had already been married half a year.

Also, of all the moments that seem important in our marriage, that particular hour on that particular day in 1990 seems like a live coal in the sea. That was the easy part. It’s the 6,935 days since then that have been the “marriage.”

However, we also decided, Andy and I, that our cavalier attitude about our wedding day is perhaps not quite healthy. We probably should at least REMEMBER the day we wed.

Part of what makes me uneasy about celebrating THAT DAY as so important is that it somehow trivializes all the others since, like saying, “Gosh, THAT day of fun and ceremony and family and laughter, THAT day was awesome, and everything since doesn’t really measure up.”

Latin geek that I am, I just love teaching the Latin root “ann/enn” to my students – so many cool words come from it: millennium, annuity, biennial, bicentennial, superannuated, and of course anniversary, literally “the turning of the year.” It is how I keep straight annual flowers from perennials. Annuals last for “one year” while perennials (adding the prefix “per,” meaning “through”) last “through the years.”

Perhaps this is why I dislike the word “anniversary.” As I am likely to mutter sarcastically in the greeting card aisle, “Whew! Just barely made it ONE MORE YEAR so we can remember that joyous wedding day again!” At this point the owner of the store calls security and says “Would you get that damn Latin major OUT of here!”

So, for all you Latin lovers out there, may I suggest a new name for anniversary? How about perenniaversary, to celebrate making it “through” one more year and still going?

This is most likely just a pet peeve particular to my unique and annoying mix of etymology addiction and Asperger’s survival. So take it as such. If you like it, feel free to adopt it.

Meanwhile, at least my beloved sister gets it and sends appropriate sentiments. She said:

hugTurn the page.
Write your names together once more.
Dance a bit on the porch.
Smell the dark sweet night air.
Sleep beside one another.
It is enough.

She also sent this poem, which is lovely:

The Book
by Fred Andrele

lake tree

Photo Mary Warren Bonafini, fabulous sister-in-law

Did I meet you in that little shop
where the book of love is kept behind the counter?
Impossible, except our names are there
in golden script upon the luminary page.

Who would have thought the string bean boy,
the girl who squats and hops like garden toads
would find each other in the deep immensity
but there you are, my fingers trace your name.

I see mine linked with yours by radiant hearts
the shop’s proprietor, his quiet smile,
before the book is closed, takes up the feather pen
turns the page, and writes our names again.


  1. andrea said,

    I like it! How and where does Kathleen come up with such appropo sentiments so consistently?

  2. thegirlfromtheghetto said,

    Now, how interesting is it that MY wedding anniversary is today, and I finally stopped by here, and this was your last post? Very cool. I love the old pictures of your wedding day, how cool! Happy Anniversary to you. I’m off to read the rest of your posts.

  3. Liz in Virginia said,

    My husband and I just marked our twentieth anniversary last week — while at the beach with our extended family, which was so appropriate. I know for us it was great to have them all present because they have been with us every step of the way during the past twenty years.

  4. Maureen said,

    Hey Gigi!
    How are you feeling? and Happy Perenniaversary to you!

  5. Maureen said,

    Congrats, Liz! Every once in a while we are up at the lake on our anniversary and I get more mushy than is my norm. Hey, I must add your blog to my blogroll.

  6. Liz in Virginia said,

    I would love it if you added me to your blogroll! I added you to mine!

  7. Mary Lou said,

    Maureen, this is a great post, my only complaint is I wish the pictures were bigger! I love your wedding dress.

  8. Sher said,

    It is Almonzo and Laura – gorgeous!!!

    I agree all about the anniversary thing. Especially when I see people having their 40th and you go to the party and they are each bitching about the other . . . so the celebration, what is it? Wow – she hasn’t killed you yet???

    Each year Don and I think about whether we want to continue. Would we choose each other NOW in our lives? What are we doing to keep building a relationship? Do we even have one that is separate from the children? It is startling to get near that date on the calendar, because it reminds to be more becoming to him – in spirit and body. To pay attention when he walks in a room. To give him a smile for absolutely NO REASON but that he is near me.

    It is something to think about. If you met your spouse today – would they choose you? Would you choose them??


  9. Linda said,

    Maureen- you and Andy do have something special. I feel so blessed to be able to know you and learn from your wisdom, your trials, your struggles, and your love. Blessings to you both.

  10. thegirlfromtheghetto said,

    I’m better, thanks.

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