Sunday, July 28, 2013

Not 22

Verna was almost always right. She used to say we should wait at least a few years after we got married in 1991 to have kids.

“You’ll thank me later,” she said. “For the time we had to ourselves.”

First she said she didn’t want kids until she was at least 30. Then at 30 she was in the middle of a job transition, so she said no kids until her employment situation was settled. Then another six months until she passed the probationary period at the City Attorney’s Office where she’d begun as a paralegal in 1996 or 1997.

I protested, argued, attempted to cajole, whined, sulked—all to no avail. And Verna was right. Having children has been the best thing to ever happen to me, but waiting six-and-a-half years after we married on a foggy late afternoon in San Francisco's Rose Garden on Sunday July 28, 1991 was a very good decision.

Verna and I had time for hilly bike rides in Napa that included stops at wineries, lazy Sunday mornings with the newspaper sprawled out in front of us, dashing to the movies on Friday or Saturday nights, or bopping at dance clubs with friends.

And then we became parents, first in 1998 with Miguel, and then in 2006 with Maya, days after Verna’s initial cancer diagnosis. Both Miguel and Maya  enriched our lives more even if our time was no longer just ours.

There were several times during Verna’s illness and subsequent recurrence that I would get angry or petty or just plain stupid and Verna would retort, “Someday (when I am gone) you will appreciate me!”

And she was right.

I can’t go back and undue my pettiness or anger or stupidity, but I do reflect back on certain moments and scenes from our life together and wish I’d acted differently.

But I can’t alter the past.

So on this sunny Sunday, on what would have been our 22nd wedding anniversary, I am sad and wistful.  Maya asked me if I was going to the cemetery. She said, “You should bring a flower.”

She’s right.