Almost 20 Years of Marriage and Bath Towels

Laundry is always all over our room. The laundry room is on the second floor, next to our bedroom. My husband had nicely folded all the bath towels, and when I grabbed one off the chair in our room, I realized it was the oldest one we have. It’s from when we got engaged, almost 20 years ago.

READ: The Precious Love of a Long Marriage

My grandmother, who had a stroke after we got engaged but died before we got married, asked me what I preferred for an engagement present: “We always got tea cups, but I suppose that’s not done anymore. What about towels?” Towels it was. I agonized over the monogram and thread color. Now the thread has faded to a pond-colored greige. My worries over thread color seem ridiculous. But the towels are still here. So are four kids, the mortgage on our second house that has our fifth car in the driveway, our second dog, and the seven jobs we’ve been through.

Our wedding pictures are somewhere in the house in a closet. I haven’t looked at them in years. We’re too busy living the life our marriage created and the four kids’ activities and school events that go with it. I’m not even sure what I’d say to that shiny bride in the photos even if I could. “Good luck!” maybe. Good luck through the infertility years, the job loss years, the three kids in daycare not one extra cent for anything years. Good luck with the in-laws and family dynamics and new in-laws. Good luck with sibling rivalry and anxiety-ridden kids who won’t sleep because of a movie about fire safety they saw in Pre-K4. Good luck functioning at work after endless nights with twin infants. Good luck with girl drama in middle school and high school and comforting a teenager who already knows everything. Good luck.

Looking at these past almost 20 years, it is astounding to me so many people stay married as long as they do. Life is HARD. I have no advice on marriage, honestly. You just get up and do the best you can, every day, and you choose it every single day. And even choosing it every single day is HARD. Right now I feel we’re lucky to rub along just fine as we joke about seeing each other only on the weekends. Maybe one day we’ll get to spend more time together. This raising four kids in the “in between years” is an era that will also pass. Each phase does, for better or for worse. It just doesn’t feel like it while you’re living it.

When I picked my towel, I picked the old monogrammed one. Not the newer, less frayed one that better covers my body that bore four babies. That old towel is soft and worn and comfortable. The shine on the thread wore off long ago. But it’s still here. And hopefully will be around for another 20 years, only more comforting and just a little more frayed.

Meg Sacks
Meg is a working mom of four and an avid community volunteer. She has worked in corporate communications and media relations for more than 18 years, for a Fortune 500 company as well as a non-profit. She took some time off to enjoy life as a stay at home mom after the birth of her first child in 2008. Her sweet, introverted daughter, was excited to welcome her baby brother in 2013, and then boy/girl twins joined the family in 2016. Meg finds being an “office mama” a constant balancing act and never-ending challenge but enjoys the opportunities it offers her for personal growth. A Virginia girl at heart, she loves Florida’s warm weather, the great quality of life Jacksonville offers her family.


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