Category Archives: anniversary

The Secret to the Long Haul


Several years ago, my husband gave me a pair of electric toothbrushes for Christmas.

I know what you’re thinking. Epic gifting fail.

Believe it or not, I’m the type of woman who enjoys receiving an appliance as a gift. Luckily, my husband is the type of guy who pulls it off. He once gave me a label maker for Christmas, and it’s one of the best presents I ever unwrapped. If I were to wake up on my birthday to a new dishwasher, I’d be delighted.

The toothbrushes were a welcome convenience because, at the time, we were sharing a single electric base. With two of them, we’d have the freedom to brush simultaneously or whenever we so pleased. Still, it was an oddly practical gift, and I was noticeably underwhelmed.

“Now we have two.” He saw the disappointment on my face. “And someday we’ll have two bathroom sinks to match.” And then, “I’m in this for the long haul.”

It takes a special man to transform a pair of electric toothbrushes into a romantic gesture and a promise for the future.

As we enter the teen years of our marriage, we’re finally doing it in a home with double sinks. The sinks by no means represent our happiness – we’d be content living in a tent (maybe…okay, probably not) – but they and the electric toothbrushes demonstrate perfectly what makes our marriage work: brushing side-by-side but spitting separately.

Over the last year, my husband lost his father and mother to dementia and cancer respectively. As we navigate this difficult and unfamiliar “middle” terrain of our shared journey, I’m keenly aware that the secret to the long haul is that togetherness and solitude are equally important. My connection to my husband has never been stronger, and if he falls I’m his net, but I know he must grieve on his own.

The beauty of the early years of our marriage exists in our collective accomplishments – making a family, creating traditions, filling a home, and building a community of support. In the years that lie head, the magnificence will come from our enduring faith that when life inevitably sends either one of us down a path alone, we’ll know how to find our way back to each other.

Ironically, my husband has hinted that he wants to buy a new electric toothbrush with one base and a UV sanitizer for the brushes. I’m hesitant, but he’s always had a knack for picking appliances, so I’m going to follow his lead. After all, I’m in this for the long haul.

© 2015 Jennifer Gregory, as first published on Scary Mommy



Filed under anniversary, marriage


When I run up a steep hill, I chant, “Sweet potato fries, sweet potato fries, sweet potato fries,” for motivation. During the long, hot, sticky, and unstructured weeks of summer, I chant, “September, September, September.”

I love September. I love the weather. I love the foliage. I love the clothes. I love the warm cider and apple donuts. I love the new television season. I love the fresh start and the feeling that anything is possible. I love it all, and I want nothing more than to revel in this most wonderful time of the year.

But it’s a whirlwind. There are birthdays and anniversaries and back to school nights and soccer games and doctor’s appointments and teacher conferences and books to (want to but never actually) read and pumpkins to carve and Halloween costumes to order and crafting fantasies (and failures) and flu shots and school projects and more birthdays and anniversaries and holiday shopping and party planning and the grand finale of ThanksgivingHanukkahChristmasNewYears, at which point I’ll surely chant, “sweet potato fries, sweet potato fries, sweet potato fries.”

September is like a scrumptious amuse-bouche. It’s a delectable, bite-sized start to an epic meal that always leaves me stuffed to the gills and incapable of taking another bite before the main course ever arrives (except for sweet potato fries because there’s always room for sweet potato fries).

Outside, the trees are turning gorgeous shades of orange, yellow, and red, and I keep telling my boys, “Look up, look up, look up,” because soon the branches will be bare, the wind will whip, the deep cold will settle in, and the next time I come up for air will be mid-January, at which point I’ll wistfully chant, “Summer, summer, summer,” followed almost immediately by, “September, September, September.”


Filed under anniversary, birthday, Christmas, Halloween, Hanukkah, holidays