We've been married 16 years, people.
I know. I know. I don't look old enough to have been married that long. Much less have a kid going on 15.
Note: Kid 3 in photo not the one that is almost 15.
Blame my husband. He's the one who insisted that we get married immediately after we graduated from college in 1995. I wanted to wait. I wanted to take my time planning a wedding. I wanted to live on my own for a little longer.
He won. Only argument he's ever won, if you listen to him.
The thing is, if you look at Hollywood, or television, or most pop references, you think marriage is this totally easy thing. Find soulmate. Marry soulmate. All good, forever and ever Amen.
It is so not that.
Marriage is work. I know, I know. A lot of you know this. It is a trite thing to say. But it is true.
Which brings me to Tori Amos.
We -- contrary to popular opinion -- have actually had rocky moments in the last 16 years. It has not always been easy. I can recall some ugly, ugly moments where things could have gone horribly wrong had we not worked at this whole stuck-together-for-life thing.
Tori Amos's China resonates with me. Listen to the lyrics. Married couple. Walls built up. Living their lives. No talking. No talking with listening to each other, at least.
Listening is hard.
It is also crucial sometimes to make things work. Listen to the wistfulness in this song, and you can hear how very hard it can be to break through the walls that are erected. It doesn't have to be hateful. Day-to-day life, living parallel lives and trying to work, care for the kids, deal with the house, the neighbors, the volunteer crud.
It takes a toll. You build walls without even realizing it. That doesn't even get into the misunderstandings, the differing priorities, in-laws, backgrounds, perceptions, life stuff.
I'm a reporter, but there are times when I have not been a good listener.
Tori's song reminds me of the consequences of not listening. It reminds me of the consequences of letting things build up to the point that you are strangers living in the same house.
Sixteen years. It's been worth every minute, the good, the painful, and the hilarious.