Slow and steady

By Mir
May 11, 2012

Otto never tires of telling people the joke about how it was an easy decision for us to have a small, family-only wedding ceremony without all of the traditional hoopla. “We’ve both already been to the wedding where she wore the big white dress,” he’ll deadpan, then sit back and wait for that to sink in.

In a few more months, Otto and will have known each other for 23 years.

Today, we’ve been married for 5 of them. [Aside: OH MY GOD look how tiny the children were!!] Just 5 years; our marriage is only embarking on kindergarten, and in some ways I’m still holding its hand to cross the street, tucking it in at night, and trying to convince it that there are no monsters hiding in the closet.

Make no mistake: for me, our marriage definitely fears there’s a big hairy beast either in the closet or under the bed, just waiting to pounce. Except in this case the hairy beast is “One day Otto wakes up and realizes it’s maybe not supposed to be this hard, this much of a slog, this kind of endless grind,” and then he tells me that he can’t do it anymore.

This is a fear that grows out of my own experiences and insecurities and has absolutely nothing to do with Otto. And I think I do an okay job of tamping down that particular neurosis most of the time; it helps, obviously, that the man I’m married to is completely devoted not just to me, but to the kids, as well.

Even though this year has sucked.

Even though one child in particular has been extraordinarily rotten to him.

Even though “for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health” has been getting a workout in 2012, in ways we never could’ve imagined.

He’s here. He’s not going anywhere. And not just that, he continues to remind me every day why I married him: He is smart and sweet and kind and funny and patient and his presence in my life makes me a better person. His presence in my children’s lives make them better, too, whether they know it or not.

Five years ago we honeymooned ever-so-briefly at a lovely spot in the White Mountains called Turtle Pond Farm. There were turtles, of course (as well as battalions of frogs who croaked all night long, and SNAKES ON A DOCK), and when we left, the owners gave us a tiny little bobble-headed turtle (kind of like these) as a souvenir. Now, you can see from that link that this was not a terribly expensive item, but nonetheless, the Honeymoon Turtle has occupied a spot of honor in our living room ever since we moved into this house.

When searching for a way to properly commemorate this auspicious occasion, I kept coming back to the turtle. Because it’s perfect. We got married 18 years after we met. We’ve plodded along through the recent trials and tribulations and our marriage has remained well-protected despite everything the world has thrown our way. Together, we are slow and steady and wherever the finish line ends up being (hopefully 50 years from now!), I know we’ll be there together.

So this morning, I gave this to Otto:

I have dubbed him Helmut von Turtle. (Obviously.) (Allow me to give a shout-out to sculptor Fred Conlon, because I just love him so much.) Helmut’s made from a genuine Word War II helmet that has withstood the test of time, and he’s completely goofy-looking, and of course the minute I saw him I knew he was perfectly emblematic of our marriage. (And then when Otto unwrapped him this morning, Monkey made a face EXACTLY like the turtle and it was EVEN BETTER.)

But if you rewind to before that… very early this morning, I woke up before the alarm and just lay there for a few minutes, trying to go back to sleep. It didn’t work. So I turned towards Otto and saw that he wasn’t asleep, either. I kissed his shoulder.

“Happy familiversary!” I said.

“Happy familiversary,” he answered, kissing me back.

“I think I should probably just get up,” I said, glancing at the clock again.

“I was just thinking that,” he said. “That YOU should get up.”

“Jerk,” I said.

“Hey!” he said.

Slow and steady and always able to make each other laugh. Otto, you’re my very favorite turtle EVER. Thank you for being you.


  1. amy

    D’awww!! Happy Familyversary!

  2. Melissa H

    Happy familiversary to you! (and happy birthday to me!)- I will never forget your anniversary because of that. :)

  3. Kate M

    That turtle is totally awesome. Happy familiversary!

  4. Kelly

    Mir, I don’t know how to say this without sounding like a complete jerk, so I’m just gonna say it…after everything that’s happened, if he was gonna leave, he’d be long gone by now. ;-) Happy Anniversary to you and Otto, and Hammy Familiversary to all of you!

  5. Kelly

    *Hammy* Familiversary??? You know what I mean! :)

  6. Mir

    You’re going to need to work a lot harder to be a jerk, Kelly. ;)

  7. RuthWells

    Love the turtle. Happy anniversary!

  8. victoria

    This summer will be our 5th wedding anniversary as well, although more like the 11th year we`ve been together.
    Congradulations to all 4 of you and may the road already behind you be the bumpiest of what you`ll travel together :)

  9. BethRD

    Happy anniversary! And that turtle is all kinds of terrific.

  10. Dave

    Big hugs to all. Happy anniversary!

  11. niki

    Well, he might have been at your wedding, but one of my fellow board members has you beat with that. We were having a meeting at her house, and someone remarked on the picture of this girl as a bride, along with her husband. Turns out, he GAVE HER AWAY at her first wedding, that marriage didn’t stick, and a few years later they were married. This picture was from her first wedding – they thought it was such a great picture of them that they decided to keep it and display it. Weirded me out a bit.

  12. Megan

    Forget paper and cotton and wood (snrk), five year should TOTALLY be wwii helmet turtle year!

    Your 23 year old five year marriage is the perfect combination- young and fresh and vibrant and also comfortable, tried-and-tested, faithful and enduring. What could be better than that?

  13. Jen

    Happy Anniversary!! That turtle is the coolest gift ever! The significance of the turtle and the helmet as a symbol of strength that has stood the test of time, love it.

  14. KarenP

    Happy day to you! And more happy days to follow. Love the turtle. For some weird reason I collect frog things. On our honeymoon in Mazatlan many many years ago I bought a frog playing a drum. Later I decided it was a real frog that had been preserved and threw it away. But I guess that is where the collecting started anyway.

  15. Crista

    Happy Familiversary!! I pink puffy heart all the symbolism in that turtle; it is SO perfect!!

  16. Midj

    Happiest of joyful congratulations. Love Helmut!

  17. Karen R.

    Happy, happy HAPPY Anniversary! Love the turtle. :-)

  18. Arnebya

    Oh happy familiversary! Kindergarten rocks, you know this, Mir! I start tenth grade next month (as in 10 years married). I totally aced 10th grade in high school. Here’s to still knowing how to diagram his sentences.

  19. dad

    True art.
    In so many ways.

    Have a hundred more good ones.

  20. Melissa

    Awww…happy anniversary!

  21. Beth R

    Happy happy familyversary, Casa Mir! And thank you for giving us a little window into your lives – you’re very special, neat people and I’m proud to “know” you.

    And yay for folks who can always make you laugh!

  22. steff

    Awwwww…sniffle sniffle

  23. Stacy

    I met my husband in high school. We went on to marry (and divorce) different people. I was at his first wedding and several years later, I was engaged to his best man (we never married). My husband proposed to me in the church where he married his first wife (long story). Anyway, I think marriages with that kind of friendship and history behind them will last. Happy familiversary! And may Otto never have to wear that turtle.

  24. Chuck

    Aweseome turtle. Happy anniversary!

  25. Kirsten

    Happy familiversary to the entire crew :)

  26. Lacey

    Still love your dress! You looked so beautiful!

  27. Birchsprite

    That’s a turtle-y wonderful familiversary present! May you have many many many more!

  28. Katherine

    Happy Familyversary! Love the turtle! It’s wild and wonderful and wacky, just like your family (in the best possible ways wrt to your family, of course)!

  29. Jen

    Love the turtle. :) Happy anniversary to the lot of ya!

  30. Kelly Allan

    Gaw. It seems like every other time I read your blog, you’re having an anniversary! I must have been reading you for years now.

  31. Sheila

    You two crazy kids!

    Happiest of anniversaries to you.

  32. Jeanie

    Happy anniversary to you! I’m pretty sure you’ll have many more.

  33. Tenessa

    Best. Anniversary Present. EVER. I love that! Happy anniversary!

  34. Becky

    Happy Familyversary! I’ve known my husband for 36 years and when we got married almost 22 years ago (June 9) my 5 year old was part of the deal. Best Dad and husband ever! My favorite picture of our daughter (he adopted her) is one he took when he visited us when she was 3. He was always there and like Otto has done the whole thing with me. She even asked about his mom’s hereditary illnesses when she was filling out medical info! You and Otto will make our 22 years and beyond because you got the best one just like I did.

  35. Jessica (the celt)

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who wakes up and wonders when her husband will realize how freakin’ lucky his wife is! ;~) (Mine gets to advance to 1st grade at the end of this month.)

    Happy anniversary, Mir and Otto and kids! All four of you deserve every happiness imaginable for the next three hundred years after the past few months.

  36. TC

    Who knew the fifth anniversary was TURTLES. No one told me!

    Happy familyversary. Happy family.

  37. Scottsdale Girl

    Uhm, I am going to need one of those turtles RIGHTNOWOMGNOWNOWNOW.

    Happy Anniversary!

  38. Stimey

    Happy familiversery! This post just makes me happy. Here’s to many, many more happy years, most of them with less tribulations than this one.

  39. addy

    Ummmm – I like turtles. Happy day to all of you!

  40. Karen

    I just love you guys. Looking forward to the 25th Anniversary Turtle.

  41. Pam

    Happy Familiversary and the turtle is totally awesome. He certainly has his own personality!!!!! God bless!!!!

  42. Heather

    Happy, happy familyversary!

  43. elz

    Happy 5th Anniversary. Turtles are the traditional gift, I think. ;)

  44. Anna

    Happy, happy anniversary. Otto is a Great Husband, we can all see that. I started reading here shortly after your wedding and move. Seems like longer than five years.

  45. Beverly

    Awww … happy anniversary! :)

  46. Daisy

    Happy anniversary! These men of ours; they’re keepers.

  47. brigitte

    Awww, and who doesn’t love turtles?

    His face makes me think of Grover from Sesame Street, but I’m not sure what THAT would symbolize for your marriage. ;-)

  48. Valerie

    Good, good stuff here. A good things in store for strong people who have found a balance that works for them – here’s to the good times before and those to come. Thank you and happy days.

  49. kapgaf

    That laughing thing ? I wish you that for ever and ever/

  50. Navhelowife

    Happy Years ahead to all of you !!!

  51. Aimee

    I’m sorry I’m a little late with the Happy Familiversary wishes! I hope you guys had a great day. Oh, and Helmet Von Turtle complete rocks :) But then you knew that.

  52. Liza

    Happy Familiversary, a little late!

  53. Pamela L

    Happy Familiversary!! The turtle is awesome just like you ~

  54. Kate in Michigan

    Hey there~!
    Thanks for the link to Fred Conlon’s art. I just bought a little “Gnome-Be-Gone” sculpture for my mom’s birthday. SHE LOVES IT.. It’s simply hilarious — two little monsters gleefully stealing a Gnome from the garden and running off with it.

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