My husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary a few months ago while we were on a tedious 14-hour flight to Bali. It may not sound like it, but believe me, it was super romantic, especially when he let me use his last moist towelettes and then I texted him a picture of my elephant-like swollen ankles from the airport restroom and then he spent an hour searching the airport for support socks to fix the swollen ankles. Are you jealous yet?
Since we were a little bit preoccupied with travel and never got around to properly recognizing the event, I spent the whole trip (plus a few extra weeks) making something to commemorate our twenty magical years together.
One of my favorite lines from any song comes from Talking Heads’ This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody):
I can’t tell one from another
Did I find you, or you find me?
There was a time
Before we were born
If someone asks, this is where I’ll be.
Out of all those kinds of people
You got a face with a view.
I’m just an animal looking for a home and
Share the same space for a minute or two,
And you love me till my heart stops.
Long ago, before there was vinyl lettering, people displayed their favorite texts through cross-stitch. Since I’m a fuddy-duddy anyway, I decided to take my declaration old school.
For my first-ever attempt to cross-stitch, I probably should have turned to my friend Lizzy’s awesome Stitch People book, but in all the pre-trip craziness, I didn’t get around to it. Instead, I ordered a pattern online and tried to teach myself the basics. Now that I know I like cross-stitching, I think I’ll have to try some of her patterns because they’re just so cute.
As much as I’d like to think all my experience watching women stitching away in their sitting rooms in period dramas would transfer over to real life, I was pretty slow and not very good. Each day, several people would ask to see my progress (which was hardly noticeable), I would sheepishly show them that I had finished a whole other quarter inch, and they would try to think of something positive or encouraging to say, all while straining to discern any difference from the previous day’s work.
I kept at it, though. Fritz and I had a lot of time together while everyone else had outings or rehearsals, so I was able to plug away and my llamas in love (or, as one student put it – “Llamas in Llove”).
I was really worried when it came time to add the text. I have a history of poor planning in that department (like that time I tried to decorate a birthday cake), so I was especially careful doing the math to center everything just right. After two days’ (or, the entire final season of Downton Abbey) worth of work, when I was almost finished, I realized I should have put more space between each word. It was all too squishy looking, and I knew from my sad Have Nercy Turkey that I would hate it forever if I didn’t change things.
So then I picked it all out and started again. One season of Endeavor later, I finished! The original plan was to make it into a pillow, but I got lazy and framed it instead. But I kind of like the idea of keeping it behind glass, protected, instead of letting our kids toss it around and trash it. I want it to stand the test of time. Kind of like our marriage. And that song.