My husband and I were married 22 years ago at the Presidio in San Francisco, a traditional military service with my husband in his brand new 2nd Lietenant's mess dress uniform, myself in cream colored silk, and our friends lining the exit to the church with their sabers. Talk about military tradition! My husband isn't in the least bit religious and was not interested in getting married in a church until he saw this small chapel on the Presidio where he had once served as a color guard during a service. Regimental flags adorned the walls and history spoke from the very pews. It felt right for us and right for our families.
The process of getting married was a good introduction to military life. To use the chapel, we were required to undergo pre-marital counseling with the base chaplain. He happened to be a Methodist and was surprised to find out that we had already discussed all the issues of concern. Of course, he wasn't happy to learn we were already living together (Berkeley grads, need I say more?) but soon seemed to understand that we were already married in all but official documents. We went through the once a week sessions and developed quite a relationship for a non-believer, an agnostic, and a Methodist.
The day before the wedding we learned that our chaplain wouldn't make it to the ceremony... I can't remember why. In typical military fashion, our Methodist was replaced by a Presbytyrian we had never met and we learned that Rule #1 of military life was flexibility.
Rule #2 would be that dates like weddings and birthdays were less important than military assignments and we have probably spent as many of those days apart as together. Which brings us to the next irony - Mr. Angelajean and I are spending this anniversary apart. I am at Netroots Nation, soaking up progressive politics and making new connections and putting faces to friends' names. Mr. Angelajean is holding down the house, keeping two teenage boys in order... maybe even introducing the oldest to driving with his new learner's permit.
But whether our anniversary is spent with him deployed to the desert or me spreading my military advocacy wings, one fact stands clear. We love each other. And I just wanted him to know that his wife of 22 years will be holding him extra close in her heart today.