Blogger: Dee-Dee Kanhai – “The Spice of Suburbia”
When the clock struck MIDNIGHT on December 31st, I was surrounded by some of my favorite people on the planet. I glanced over at my husband, who was laying on the couch, Sofia, my 13-year-old niece under one arm and Chloe, our 17-year-old daughter, under the other. The “baby”, Scarlett Mae, holding the dog and laying across all of their laps. If I could have imagined the perfect night, it would have looked a lot like this. I felt as if my heart was living outside of my body just looking at them, smiling, and giving kisses to one another, as Auld Lang Sine played in the background.
For a moment, I begin to reflect back on 2018 but I quickly catch myself, I am going to start looking ahead.
Overwhelmed with emotion, I had to remove myself. I could feel the tears coming on. It wasn’t just midnight, the end of a very hard and emotional year, it was the beginning of a NEW YEAR, one that holds so much uncertainty to me.
I walk into the dark kitchen, alone for a few seconds before my husband finds me. I am leaning on the cold granite countertop. He wraps his arms around me, pulls me close, and holds my head against his chest. Tears leave his shirt damp. We can hear the kids celebrating in the next room. They are joyous, making phone calls to their parents and friends. They laugh and yell, “Happy New Year”, as we just hug in the dark.
After more than 18 years, Rome and I are connected. It’s beyond him being the “love of my life” at this point. We are soulfully, spiritually and emotionally connected. We are able to speak without words. Our intuitions are in sync. Our energies and vibrations keep us connected, even if we are hundreds of miles apart. He is, essentially, part of me. So, I didn’t have to tell him why 2019 felt so much more intense and important. I knew he was feeling the exact same uncertainty.
Our embrace in the dark goes on past midnight until we are interrupted by the sound of fast little feet getting closer and closer. Then suddenly the light switches on temporarily blinding us, “What are you doing?” Scarlett says very skeptically. We avoid the question, pulling her in and smothering her with kisses. Her tiny little body wiggles out of our grip and she runs off laughing. Scarlett keeps us young.
I let out a sigh, finally saying what is on my mind, “I keep thinking about Aunt Nina and Uncle Skips Anniversary party”. I glance at Rome, he nods his head, like he just gets what I am saying. I am pretty sure we have both thought about it since the mid-December gathering. A Golden Anniversary, what a remarkable feat.
I flashback to my Uncle, who is aging so gracefully, as he stood there in front of his family and friends reading a beautiful poem to my Aunt. A testament of what 50 years of marriage truly is like. At times, he struggled to get the words out, it was such a real moment. I hear him remind us, marriage is work. It is happiness and sadness. Marriage has hard times and easy times. Sometimes it feels like more than any one person can handle. Then, there will be those simple moments, where everything falls into place. It’s not running away when you feel helpless. Making it through the storm and then enjoying the rainbow, together. Learning to ask for forgiveness and then being able to forgive. Day after day, year after year, no matter the circumstance, the common theme was LOVE. Finally, he said, “there was nobody else he could have imagined this life with”.
It was everything I needed to hear.
My Aunt, without a prepared speech or notes, stood up to reciprocate her feelings. I look at her, she looks amazing. Healthy. Glowing. Love is a great antidote to aging. She wholeheartedly agrees with everything my Uncle said, and even emphasized a few parts for those in the back. Many of us in the room, married, in new relationships, looking for love, embracing single life – could find something to relate to in each of their words.
As Aunt Nina doted on her husband, she adds, “You love someone so much, you build a life with them. Then you have children and you love them more than you ever thought possible. Your kids become your life. Then… you become a grandparent and that love is once again renewed– it’s overwhelmingly powerful…” she pauses and looks around the room “but the one thing nobody ever prepared me for was… The love I would have for my Nieces and Nephews, their husbands and wives” she said. I sat there, consumed by her voice “these babies… I got to love and enjoy them. Watching them grow up and celebrate milestones, then they have babies… I have Great Nieces and Great Nephews. Who knew you’d fall in love SO MANY TIMES?”
Then she repeated my Uncle’s sentiment… “I couldn’t imagine this beautiful life with anybody else”.
Everyone toasted to that.
I was surrounded by cousins, each of whom I am sure Aunt Nina has told: “YOU ARE MY REAL FAVORITE”. I am sure we each thought she was speaking directly to us as she said those words. I can assure you, she was speaking to me. I am actually, literally, her favorite.
I am sure we all left that party feeling like we were a part of their “Love Story”. They know we are all watching and learning from them. It isn’t easy but it IS possible to last 50 years together. A great reminder to us all.
I have to admit, I was on a high after all that LOVE talk. It wasn’t until we were walking to the car, that I remembered how badly I needed out of these Leggs Control Top Slimming Stockings I bought just for the occasion. Damn, I have been uncomfortable since the half-hour I spent trying to fit myself into these contraptions. Stockings were obviously designed by a scorned man. I realize this is a three-man job. I lay my back on the seat and toss my heels onto the sidewalk. Legs are in the air while Chloe grabs my right foot and Jerome grabs the left. They are struggling to peel the tights from me, like a layer of skin. I think THIS IS LOVE.
I lay there getting freed from this prison of nylon and spandex when it occurs to me what we just witnessed. As they twist and pull these tourniquets off my legs, I look up at the beautiful night sky, the moon bright over New York City, I profess “FIFTY YEARS BABE… May WE have the endurance and STRENGTH to get through many more decades together”!!!
They both look up at me, in silence, legs in the air. CRICKETS…
They have finally succeeded, I am free!
They are both shaking their heads, laughing – clearly at me – as they get in the car. Maybe it was my timing. Either way, the sentiment was genuine.
As we head up to bed, we decide we will have a 50th Anniversary Party when the time comes because “I cannot imagine my life without you by my side Jerome”.
Trying to ignore the bickering over who gets what blanket, and why Scarlett takes up the most space but is the smallest of all the kids. I am grateful. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
As 2019 begins, I hope the world is ready for US. These next few months have so much in store. We will witness a Senior Prom, our only child will be a High School graduate, and an actual “adult” (according to the “LAW” anyway). Then, she plans on attending college and living on campus. By August, life as I know it will be entirely different. I realize I will need my husband more than ever. (Between us, he will need me too!)
These are the real tests… I took notes!
May 2019 be a year of AMAZINGNESS for all of you!
Dee-Dee Kanhai, aka “The Spice of Suburbia”, was a big city girl for 25 years who was transplanted to the Suburbs of Northern New Jersey. This relocation led to her “undoing” and with that, the discovery of her true self. Besides being a wife and mother to a teenage daughter and toy Chihuahua, Dee-Dee works in finance and owns a small Etsy Shop @LoveTheUndoing, where she sells heart-made jewelry, crystals, and other whimsical crafts. Dee-Dee is a student of life, teacher of meditation, practicing yogi and a mystical moon child.