Seven

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When you're in Vegas, seven is the luckiest number. Seven is the jackpot. Seven is what you pray for at slot machines with empty pockets. 7 and 7 is the drink you order before you pull the lever, surrounded by 1.lust and 2.gluttony, 3. greed and 4. sloth, 5. wrath, 6. envy and 7.pride. Seven is for winners. Seven is for sinners. This should be a country western song.

Every night we go to bed at midnight. It used to be later but then we had one kid and two kids and four kids and now we go to bed at midnight. It should be earlier but the babies don't go down until 11:00 so the last hour of the day belongs to us: our hour. An hour we typically spend picking our noses and holding our noses because it smells like farts in here.

"Wasn't me."

"Yes it was."

"It was the dog."

"It was you."

"It was the baby."

"It was you."

"It was the other baby."

"...You."

I was engaged once but it wasn't to him. It was ten years ago and I was twenty and the proposal happened at the tippy-top of a hill in San Sebastian, Spain, and it was romantic. So romantic we broke up a few months later. And then I got married to someone else.

We got married alone. Our parents weren't invited. Our friends weren't invited. Just the receptionist at the chapel with the grey beehive who wasn't even real. We weren't ready for real so everything was cardboard, including the flowers we posed in front of after he kissed the bride. We were running from real. We ran to Vegas and we ran home, and on May 23rd we ran to the hospital and into the glass. January 22nd was the day we became legally wed by the state of Nevada but May 23rd was the day we made our vows. The child we held between us was as beautiful as we'd ever be together. He was our hope and the ring around our hearts.

When you get married it's like reciting the pledge of allegiance and how the teachers try to explain what it all means but you don't care. You say it because you have to. Because you are born with its words in your mouth. And to the republic for which it stands, to have and to hold from this day forward, one nation, under god, till death do us part, I do.

It took four years for me to call him husband. Four years of undoing forced vows in my head, replacing "till death do us part" with a blank line and an ellipsis. We are here today. And most likely tomorrow. But death is too tall a fence to wrap around our perimeter so we place stakes in the land instead. Otherwise we would be fixated on the fence. We spent our first three years of marriage fixated on the fence.

Everybody bet against us. Sevens are hard to come by, they said. It can take years of gambling to get there. Years of pulling levers with a drink in one hand. Everybody bet against us including me and Hal, and we all lost. Fuck yeah we did. We all lost.

Weddings are as beautiful as marriage ever looks on the outside, with its decorative words and couture gowns and floral displays, with its first dances and exchange of precious metals. That is, until your perception of beauty changes. Until you wake up one day and realize you're both on the same team, even when you play against each other in scrimmages. Even though sometimes I drop the ball and he misses the kick and we spend the night under the same cloak of silence, watching instant replays in our children's eyes.

"It smells like farts in here."

"It was me."

"And that's why I love you."

Seven years ago, we repeated words we didn't hear in a place we didn't know with an audience of strangers. I don't have a dress to pass down to my daughters. Or a wedding album. We never picked a song. All we had was the invisible incline. And every year, we get to turn around and look down.

Getting pregnant was the stupidest thing we ever did. Getting pregnant was the smartest thing we ever did. Our wedding meant nothing. We laughed through the ceremony. We posed in front of a bouquet of fake flowers. We lost the bet.

We lost the bet and won everything.
GGC

95 comments:

Anonymous | 12:16 PM

You're writing makes me so weepy -- it's so honest. Thank you for that. Thank you for putting onto the page (screen) what I want to say but don't have the eloquence to do so.

Sadhbh | 12:17 PM

Congratulations on the big 7. I'm heading for 8. It can be tough and it can be amazing. Sometimes it's ok to lose! I love your words.

Stacey | 12:18 PM

Congrats Rebecca and Hal. You deserve all the craziness and happiness and a house full of babies. Happy #7!

Meg @ mrcandme.blog.com | 12:20 PM

this post made me smile and laugh and wipe a tear or two from my cheek. your writing is so honest, so full of life, and love, truth and grace. you don't shy away from the dark corners of experience but instead you light a candle and welcome them in like an old friend. you say it all in the final line....you lost the bet, but won everything. best post i've read all day.

Lindsey | 12:21 PM

This is just so gorgeous I don't have words, other than to say yes, how beautifully evoke what is REAL about marriage. Even the part of it that takes a while to feel real, to surrender to, to embrace. I'm at 11 years and still sometimes can't believe it, these children, this life, all of these markers of adulthood. And that guy. Thank God for that guy. xox

Mary Ruth Gilliam | 12:21 PM

You may not have tangible items to hand down to your children, but you have hope - and hope can see you through anything if you can hold on to it.

Happy, lucky 7.

suzanne @ pretty swell | 12:24 PM

Beautiful! Congratulations.

Erin | 12:27 PM

That was an amazing post! I really loved it and you know what?

I'm happy for you that you lost the bet!

Congrats on 7 years and 4 beautiful children! Cheers to many more years of happiness!

Liesel | 12:28 PM

God, Rebecca. Your writing is the song of my heart.

c is for cape town | 12:35 PM

Best post I've read all week. I never think your writing can get more beautiful than when you write about your children but then you write about you and Hal, then you write about your heart and the beauty just overflows.
Thank you for sharing it and congratulations wonderful people.

Noelle {Aloud} | 12:36 PM

I'm cheering for you guys! Happy, Lucky Seven!

Anonymous | 12:37 PM

this is the kind of post i crave from you girlfriend.
happy lucky #7

Connie | 12:38 PM

This entry make me want to leave work immediately, run home (not drive. Run.) and make out with my husband. This September we celebrate 8 years of being friends, 7 years of being a couple, and 4 years of being spouses. It's crazy, how the years go by. Slow and fast. Beautiful just the same.

Cheers to you both for 7 years! Cheers for championing how beautiful marriage can be, for everything it is and isn't. Thanks for sharing so much of your journey with all of us.

Here's to your happiest year yet!

glenda | 12:40 PM

Congrats on 7 and many more years together! With all the ups and downs, but on the same team! Beautiful post... beautiful words!

My fav line: Until you wake up one day and realize you're both on the same team, even when you play against each other in scrimmages.

When people ask me how we've made our marriage work I always say "because we are team players"

Martha | 12:43 PM

Happy Anniversary! You've got a lot of people rooting for you (I almost just wrote rotting, ha), and it helps that you make beautiful babies :) I think the sentiment of "being on the same team" is the best one of all. My husband said that to me once when we were having a fight, and I think about it all. the. time. We are on the same team, dammit! It is us against the world.

Bearca | 12:51 PM

Loved this post. Happy anniversary!

The Shopping Mama | 12:56 PM

Amazingly beautiful post.

Happy anniversary.

Anonymous | 1:03 PM

The title made me think that you were pregnant with what would make the family one of 7. I got really excited/scared/exhilarated.

Mrs JP Chaos | 1:08 PM

I love everything about this post.

We just celebrated 14 years. And we started out at 18 & 19...with a baby. I wish I could go back to my (so very young self) and hug it out. 14 is so good. The best so far, actually.

We lost the bet and won it all. Absolutely.

Kris | 1:12 PM

It's never too late to have another wedding you know...you have the rig bearer and three flower girls already to go ...

Kris | 1:12 PM

*ring*

Arnebya | 1:15 PM

Congrats on 7 and beyond!

My Bottle's Up! | 1:19 PM

gorgeous. and many more...

Jenn | 1:22 PM

I read what you write about how rocky things were for you guys and how you came out ahead. It gives me hope. Thank you.

Lisa | 1:23 PM

haha... I also was expecting it to be about becoming a family of 7 :-)

Thanks for posting this.
In a period that seems to be about divorces and separations, its good to read about success.

~Kristina | 1:25 PM

Oh honey! 7 years against all odds. Now that's a bet for me.

scgrits | 1:26 PM

We also "ran off and got hitched" and I never once regretted it. So glad of another happy tale!

wendy @ mama one to three | 1:33 PM

congratulations and many more years of magic to you.

we are coming up on 7 years--3 kids, 6 pets, 2 cars, 3 cities, at least 12 apartments... magic. :)

Q12 | 1:35 PM

Love love love this. Marriage is awesome overall as long as you find someone that you truly have fun with. Marriage is hard when children come into the picture because not only does your life change regarding freedom, but all the added little responsibility of changing diapers, feeding kids and bullshit...that's when marriage becomes hard because you fight and fight and fight about who does more or who isn't doing enough, blah blah blah...Yet, I do feel if you find someone you absolutely love spending your free time with or if he is not with you when you are out with friends, but you wish he were, then all should stay solid. I'm only 10 years in, so still have a LONG way to go, unless that fence stops me.

Anonymous | 1:36 PM

I too thought you were about to announce that your family was becoming a family of 7! Congrats on 7 years together. Here's to many more!

agirlandaboy | 1:37 PM

Happiest of happies, R and H!

missvoltage | 1:50 PM

that was one of the most beautiful things i've ever read. congrats on 7.

Cyn Mukh | 2:03 PM

You're super talented; it's annoying. :)

BOSSY | 2:10 PM

This is absolutely divine. You give writing a good, great, enviable name. xoxoxo

Nannette Spencer | 2:14 PM

Thank you so much for this. I needed it (and congrats on losing the bet!).

StrongMomma | 2:17 PM

;) Love.

Shannon | 2:24 PM

Congratulations...and that post was absolutely beautiful xo

Jessie | 2:30 PM

This was so sweet. Mixed with farts. Bittersweet. ;-) Loved it!

findingmagnolia | 2:33 PM

I love this. Happy seven years!

Shannon | 2:55 PM

Our 7th year was a HUGE turning point in our marriage. It was the point at which I learned to fight, make up, forget it, and move on. The fights are few and far between now. When they happen they can be doozies but for some reason they never, ever feel permanent. We celebrate 9 years in a few months and I can honestly say the last 2 years were the best of my life. I hope you and Hal find this to be true also.

Alli Arnold | 2:56 PM

Happy Seven Years!!!

Goosebumps and mushy feelings,
Alli

Liz | 2:56 PM

If this were me, I'd never be so happy to be called a loser as I would in this instance.

Congrats you two!

Anonymous | 3:26 PM

Congratulations. I will admit that my first thought upon seeing your title was that this was an announcement, that "Seven" was meant to reference the number of your family and that you were pregnant again!

Emily Krajniak | 3:32 PM

You are so brilliant. I love your story, thank you so much for sharing it. Happy #7. Keep losing. I'm rooting for you.

Kim | 3:40 PM

Maybe this is what the wedding should be. Two people alone, together (with or without lady with beehive.) No fancy-schmancy dress to covet, no first dance/father-daughter dance parade to live up to. My wedding was a great party, but it's not the same as my marriage. My marriage is day in day out. My marriage is jeans and sweats and blood and tears kisses and sex and uncombed hair and burps and farts and sleeping in and no sleep and cleaning and cleaning and driving and listening for each other. Always listening for the other. Maybe a party afterwards, but really, maybe the wedding should be just... two.

Aliesha | 3:55 PM

I can never believe what a fantastic writer you are...nearly every post has the ability to make me cry! Anyway, I just came over here to say, "I just saw Fable laughing on Huff Post Parents," and got to read such a beautiful tribute to your marriage. You guys make me believe it's always possible to make it work!

Anonymous | 3:57 PM

Love this post. I, too, got married in Vegas (about 6 1/2 years ago). Congratulations on 7 years together and 4 beautiful babies! xo Allison

A.E. | 4:38 PM

I've been reading since you were pregnant with Fable and rarely comment, but this gave me the chills.

Congratulations to you and Hal.

Anonymous | 4:38 PM

7 years + 4 children = 11

7-11 lucky. Thank you for a lovely post and moment in the celebration of your marriage!

Karen

Kyran | 4:39 PM

I hope you never stop telling this story. I hope it always comes true. xoxo

Maggie | 5:13 PM

I so, so, so relate to this. This year is our 7. We too had the stupidest, best thing ever happen to us at 20. Now he's 6 and we've added two more. Everyone bet against us too, especially us. I can't beleive it but I can't imagine it any other way.

Congrats!

Katie | 5:21 PM

I feel like you're telling my story! Kindred spirits are you and me! xx

Denise | 5:38 PM

AMAZING! I love the way you describe marriage. It so fits.

Clandestine Road | 5:42 PM

This post was so wonderfully relateable. I love your writing.

Happy seven. Our tenth is next week. It has been quite a battle and totally worth it.

Ashlet | 5:42 PM

Gorgeous. And congrats.

Amanda | 6:34 PM

Beautifully written. Congratulations on 7.

Anonymous | 7:34 PM

Beautifully written. Well done.

Erma | 9:34 PM

Congratulations on year 7! Rebecca you know how to write the words that I wish I could write when I lay awake in bed thinking about the life I made for myself. My family and I are so nontraditional but my little boy Aiden is the best thing to come out of the whole thing. There are so many odds against us but I'm fighting so dang hard to keep the two guys I love. You give me hope to keep doing what I love and keep loving who I love because I want to win like you did. Cheers!

nch | 9:37 PM

wow, you brought me to tears. beautiful.

Juani | 11:42 PM

The way you talk about marriage,makes me even more excited for my wedding in September.Not for the actual wedding,but for the marriage that will follow.

It saddens me so much when some women focus so much on the decorations and planning for their lavish weddings,that the actual purpose of the wedding sort of gets forgotten.

You and Hal did it the right way,I think.

barefootgoddess | 5:16 AM

Your story is so simular to mine.

We woke one morning almost 15yrs ago, 2 babies sleeping in the room across the hall, shrugged and said "might as well". I think we called our parents a couple of days later. It was "nothing special". No pomp, no circumstance. Just another Weds in Feb.

some days I look at him and imagine us old and gray(er) living out our retirement doing all the things we said we'd do "some day". Other days I look at him and could the years till our kids are grown and I can be free.
Sigh....

Its a long road, all I can do is hope for more "some days"

Anonymous | 6:21 AM

you have the most beautiful words, rebecca. congratulations, and here's to another seven.

Anonymous | 6:21 AM

you have the most beautiful words, rebecca. congratulations and here's to another seven.

Kerry | 6:22 AM

We'll be 10 years this July. Sometimes I can't believe that time has passed so quickly. : (

My Mr. Right is my dream come true. I never listened to those who said we wouldn't last, because my heart knew better.

Happy #7.

nikki_lagreca | 6:49 AM

So beautiful, and so true of marriage. Happy no. 7! To many more years of love.

amy turn sharp | 7:46 AM

so so lovely. xo congrats + love!

Mar | 7:46 AM

What a beautiful post! Congratulations on your anniversary...Wishing you a LIFETIME of happiness!

Jackie Hall | 8:19 AM

That was beautiful. Farts and all. haha You need to write a romance novel. I bet you would do a fab. job!

Congratulations again. It deserves to be said again. You took a chance and won. A husband, an instightful/loving/caring/wonderful son and three smart/beautiful daughters.

It has been a joy watching the love you have for Hal and your babe's grow and change and mature. It will always be doing that for as long as you live. The ups are wonderful and the downs.. not so much. But, in the end you have each other and the love that was manifested with the 4 lives you created.

I wish you guys nothing but blessings over the next 7 x 77 years. So not worth feeling boxed in or stuck. Esp. when you guys are always growing and changing and looking for the good ok and not so good at times in one another. But, in the end you find yeah, it's worth it all.

Jackie

souphead | 8:21 AM

happy anniversary.
that was beautiful!

Anonymous | 8:46 AM

You guys are awesome. Congratulations. Now find a babysitter and have some mind-blowing sex.

Sheila @E2gather | 10:40 AM

Our marriage didnt start out anything like yours, but after 17 years of smelling each others farts, we still are thankful for the roses ; ) Great post. congrats on 7.

Sarah Bregel | 10:50 AM

i motherfucking love this post.

Chrissy | 11:17 AM

Posts like this are the reason I keep visiting every single day! Your heart is magic, you know that. :) Congratulations on your anniversary.

Motherhood on the Rocks | 11:23 AM

In life, sevens don't win. But you don't need sevens to win. Because unless you're truly happy, you could have all the sevens in the world and you still lose. All that matters is that you have happiness ... and farts.

Jeninne | 1:07 PM

Wow! I really, really like you. Thanks for yet another mutually realistic and magical post. Happy Anniversary!! :)

I am Sarah. | 1:20 PM

Happiest seventh anniversary to you guys! I love reading everything you write. It is always so lovely and perfectly describes all of life's sweet imperfections. Also, I happen to love sevens- it's my lucky number and I'm not even a gambler. :o)

Maternal Mirth | 2:55 PM

This was simply gorgeous! Seven, lucky seven... here's to seventy-seven more!

Maternal Mirth | 2:56 PM

OMgeeee (I was comment 77!) You must have extra luck coming your way...

mrs.z | 4:06 PM

heartwarming, witty and brilliant ~thank you.

Hot Mama | 9:58 PM

Beautiful, raw, honest and so, so loving. Don't believe it, or do... You're an inspiration. Thanks, lady!

Claire Gibson King | 5:29 PM

girl, you really know how to write a good story. you make me think about your stories all day long. you make me love your little family when i don't really know you at all and will most likely never meet you . you make me cheer so hard for you family, the girls and archer the most. you make so happy to know that you have hal and he has you and that you have the most precious children ever. happy anniversary. too many many many many more year!

Jessie May | 7:36 PM

So beautifully written! Congratulations on these past seven years together! How wonderful :) Seven is also my lucky number. It's the number of siblings I have, and I have it tattooed on my wrist. Lucky seven!

CMKerwin | 3:20 PM

Beautiful!

Anonymous | 5:59 AM

After watching many friends drop over 10 grand on weddings and then complain, complain, complain about their lives, this is wonderfully refreshing!

Magdalena Edwards | 10:16 AM

Congratulations! Love and loss... a beautiful post.

jordan | 11:07 AM

I love your love story. Congrats on 7 years! I just realized a few weeks back that you conceived the twins on your 6th anniversary - we're expecting our "6th anniversary baby" on August 3rd!

Tracey | 2:53 PM

Awesome post Mrs. We were 7 this year too.

Here's me thinking 7 was lucky cos that was the shirt he wore when he played for England! ha ha

But come to think of it all my kids (all 3!) have a 7 somewhere in their birthdays. OOh it is lucky!

Tracey | 2:54 PM

Also in England. We have just had a series called ...15 kids and counting.

I think you would find it interesting.

xx

Eliza | 11:17 PM

Not pregnant when we got married, but we'd only met six month before. Baby #1 was born before our first anniversary. She's in college now and we just celebrated 20 years--against the odds and the expectations of all our friends.

Congratulations on 7 years and 4 beautiful babies.

Charlie | 8:39 AM

Happy 7! Cheers to a lifetime more. Personally I believe a wedding is just a day it's the love, the strength to get through the hardships and the beauty we hand down to our children that are way more important than souvenirs of a day. You're doing great and you inspire so many women with your writing.

Ray | 9:06 PM

I love how brutally honest you are.

You won, alright. To Seven Years!

Kathryn | 8:52 PM

Brilliant writing.

Ida Mae | 7:33 PM

best post ever.

Ida Mae | 7:33 PM

best post ever

Virginia-Ann | 8:45 PM

I am sorry that I missed this post back in late January as I would have loved to wish you a happy anniversary at least within a day or so of the actual day. This post has made me weep with its honesty and humor. Thank you for sharing your lives with us all.