Hard Eight

by Bella Rum

Hard_EightToday is our anniversary. We’ve been doing this forty-four years.

My DIL sent an email yesterday. She’s frustrated that my son’s fingers are super glued to his cell phone during the week. He’s constantly dealing with work-related emails/texts/calls after work. I called her to talk about it. She said he was a great dad on weekends, but she wants him to be more present after work. I remember those days very well. I had all the same feelings. Trying to find that perfect balance isn’t easy. They will figure it out because they are good at that. He is a workaholic, and she grounds him, reminds him of important things that can slip through the cracks so easily. They are well suited.

H and I were just talking about that period of our marriage a few days ago. Life is never without stress, but our way with each other is so easy now… most of the time. Gone are the career, financial and parenting stresses. The career ladder has been climbed to its highest rung, at least the highest we’re ever going to reach. It’s all over and decided now. We have what we have financially. Not a lot but enough, and there will be no more sudden windfalls or bright ideas for generating income. Fixed is what they call it. Good word. It’s fixed. And the lion’s share of parenting is over, and the kid turned out to be who he is (who he was all along), and it’s pretty good.

It’s  a good life, and I fear writing it down, but it’s easy. It’s easy now. We accepted each other long ago. There’s no other woman, no gambling addiction, alcoholism or penchant for harebrained schemes that will lose what we worked for. We’ve settled in for the duration. We know who’ll be holding our hand at the end… well, at least one of us does. I know we will face illness and loss again. If you continue to live, it is inevitable, but we’re good today. The hard eight isn’t so hard once you get here.

Of course, I reserve the right to tell you tomorrow how he never cleans the inside of his truck or how he will not turn the lights off when he leaves the room or how…