This week, Dan & I celebrate six years of marriage. The sixth anniversary is traditionally the iron anniversary. Iron ore, while one of the most common elements on Earth, has to be processed through a blast furnace to become capable of structural strength.
Yep, sounds about right.
Year one, the paper year, we drowned in court documents as the custody battle that launched two weeks before our wedding then dragged out right up until our next anniversary.
Year two, the cotton year, reminds me of the sheets on Dan’s hospital bed after surgery for thyroid cancer, a lovely way to celebrate our brief lull in between court proceedings.
The anniversaries in between– leather, linen, wood– brought their own set of challenges, and with every passing year we hoped we were getting closer to peace. Kept trusting that our chosen wedding date on the first day of spring would eventually fulfill its symbolism.
I look back at those blast furnace days and feel thankful for the solidity that supports us now. We don’t think about it. We don’t question it. The slag’s been skimmed away, and this marriage has taken on all the graceful strength of a skyscraper’s skeletal steel. Even if where we started out felt more like the twisted metal of a car wreck.
Iron can be used to make bullets, knives, and tanks to fight off the bad guys. But iron can also make bridges for an easier passage.
Iron was the first metal used to create jewelry– iron taken from meteorites, those wished-upon falling stars. And it’s not the larger meteors that survive the atmosphere most often. Instead, it’s the smaller fragments that persevere, because they’re light enough to slow down, reducing the friction that burns up their larger counterparts. They adapt.
A chunk of stardust containing elements capable of destroying or protecting or adorning in equal measure, depending on the maker. That’s a blended family all over.
Our marriage is what we’ve made of it– a shelter and a minefield, by turns. A thing of beauty that’s functional nevertheless. Our iron anniversary is a reminder that families are made, not born– and sometimes the making is battle-forged.
Here’s to us, and a lifetime together.
Oh hey there, struggling stepparent!
Listen, I put together a new website just for high-conflict blended families: Blended Family Frappé. Come on over and join the hundreds of other stepparents who are reclaiming their sanity one Sunday newsletter at a time.