During the years onboard the Love Boat, I had to secure the shelf above my bed (I don't ever remember having more than one) whenever we sailed in case of rough seas. I would keep a book or journal there in port, but nothing that could shatter if it hit the floor while we sailed.
And as a professional nomad, I usually didn't have a lot of patience for packing knick-knacks and carting them around the world -- particularly breakable ones.
I've made an exception though -- my wedding cake-topper.
The Sailor and I have never really had a 'traditional' marriage -- with him being gone so often. We certainly didn't have the most traditional wedding (check out our handmade invitations here). We got married in South Africa on a farm with only a small number of people present. I was already living there and had yet to find a suitable cake topper, so I enlisted my mother's help from the other side of the world several months before. Our wedding may have been small, but we would certainly be sticking to the cake tradition -- even if it was Black Forrest.
My mom managed to procure a cake topper for us -- as close as she could get to something sailor-like. She put it in the mail a good two months before the wedding.
The cake topper, however, never made it to the ceremony. United States to South African post can be sketchy on the best of days, so we figured it had just been stuck in the mail and would arrive eventually.
Several months later, the cake topper was still missing. I'm still not sure what the happy couple was doing in the meantime... but they eventually turned back up, in America. If they were ever in South Africa, they never told us.
Ever since then, I haven't let them out of my sight.
They show up at photo shoots.
They like the outdoors, too.
Sometimes they hang around next to a wedding photo in the living room -- most recently they've been leading the procession near a photo on my nightstand of the Sailor and me that says 'live, laugh, love'.
This week, I looked at the ceramic couple (I tried to ignore the dust on them -- I implore you to do the same) and the words on that photo frame, and I realized how much more I laugh when the Sailor is around. I'm not talking about a chuckle every now and again... I'm talking about the kind of laughter that makes your stomach ache and mascara run down your face. This week, I pointed out to the Sailor that I seem to have more wrinkles all of a sudden around my mascara-smeared eyes.
He simply shrugged and said it was from too much laughing. Then his own eyes squinted and he burst out laughing.
So much has happened this year that has made us cry... but I am grateful for the fact that we are still living, loving and most of all, laughing. I'm grateful for the Sailor, who like the happy ceramic couple, goes away for months at a time, but always find his way home again.