Thoughts on 25 years
Today is our anniversary. A quarter of a century! How did that happen? I can remember like it was yesterday standing in that church, slightly nervous but completely in love, optimistic for our future together. And now here we are, twenty-five years later, no longer nervous but still completely in love. It feels almost like a miracle, and I know I will never take it for granted.
It doesn’t escape me that marriage is a lot like a career in publishing — there are a lot of highs, more lows than you could have imagined, and some of the time you’re just making your way through, putting in the work, remembering that love is the basis of it all and everything else is just details. As long as the love is there, we can try to get through the rough patches.
So, here we are. Twenty-five years later. Most of it was a Navy life, so we’ve lived in nine different homes. In four different states plus a stint in Japan, during that country’s horrible experience of the triple destruction of an earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown.
We’ve raised two children into wonderful young adults, and we’re amazingly proud of them. Our son is following me into law school, and our daughter is a brilliantly talented artist. Both of them are happy and independent and compassionate people who care about others and about the world. We are so very lucky. We’ve had our shares of health issues and surgeries, but we are so grateful that on the whole, we are all healthy and safe, especially during this difficult year.
Careers! Judd retired from twenty-five years in the Navy and has a job he enjoys in the private sector. I went from being a trial lawyer (three different states! Three different bar exams!) to becoming a full-time writer. Even when the transition was hard, even when I was printing out resumes to go back to being a lawyer, Judd supported my writing and told me I could do it. I just needed to give it time. The first time one of my books hit the New York Times bestseller list, I was painting a wall, getting ready to move out of our house to go to Japan. I dedicated that book to him.
I dedicate them all to him. To the kids.
I have been open about my depression, so you won’t be surprised to know that many rough patches in these years have involved my mental health. Knowing that Judd is there for me, to support me when things are hard—to be my person, my strength, my safe space—has been the reason I’ve survived.
Twenty-five years. People keep sending us cards saying “here’s to the next 25!” and I love that. Judd jokes that he’ll be chasing me around in his wheelchair when we’re 100 years old, demanding kisses and hugs and tapioca pudding, and I love that too.
I’m so lucky to have him, and I probably don’t tell him that enough. But I got him a very fancy barbecue smoker and he’s outside right now, tickled to the bottom of his engineer heart to have a new toy to play with. And as he said, way back when we were dating:
“Of course I love you! I changed the oil on your car!”
So: I love you, honey. I got you a smoker!
I think it would be hard to write romance if I couldn’t believe in true love, and I’ve been so lucky to have been surrounded with it for twenty-five years.
Here’s to the next 25, indeed!
And thank you for being part of our lives, some of you since the very beginning, my very first published book way back in 2003. You’ve gone through moves and changes and ups and downs along the way with us. We are lucky to know you, and we appreciate you more than I could ever say.