Thursday, July 14, 2011

Harry Potter and the story arc of my marriage

This summer is like any summer in that it’s hot and we’re slurping popsicles and the traffic is lighter and there are beach plans and pool plans and a few short trips and fireflies to catch. It’s running through the sprinklers and watching the lightning from the family room couch and pre-treating watermelon stains with the laundry detergent.

There are two dates this summer that may seem to you unrelated but symbolically, in the deep clouds of my memories, their double-helix kite tails are inextricably intertwined. Tonight the final Harry Potter movie is released and in four weeks the lovely husband and I will celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary.

image via janemount

I read books one and two in late 1999 and I remember vividly the new lovely boyfriend’s disbelief over my plummet into children’s literature. He teased me a lot (as he always does), good-naturedly (as he always does). He didn’t read fiction at all, let alone kiddie fiction. But I was at his house when I finished book two and he humored me when I hijacked our Saturday night plans and drove us to a suburban bookstore with late hours to buy The Prisoner of Azkaban. I couldn’t wait. And the next summer when The Goblet of Fire was released he walked all over Manhattan with me to find a bookstore that had a copy in stock. I didn’t talk to him much that night. He pretended to be hurt but he’s a soul who gets lost in books, too.

image via wedinator
Oh, let’s not forget this next part: in 2001 we got married. Three months after our wedding day, we saw the first Harry Potter movie together. In anticipation of that movie, a wonderful thing happened shortly. Succumbing to curiosity, the lovely brand-new husband began reading the Harry Potter books. And he loved them.

I will never forget my frustration in June 2003 when The Order of the Phoenix was released. It was a Saturday release date and I had prepaid its purchase from Amazon, as the site was guaranteeing Saturday deliveries. I planned to sleep in and await the mid-morning timeframe that brought Saturday deliveries to our townhouse, and then read the entire book, no matter how long it was. But there was the matter of the lovely husband and his job and the attenuating social commitments. We had a bar mitzvah we had to attend that morning and I was so. upset. that someone would invite us to a bar mitzvah on a Harry Potter day. We didn’t get home until around 2pm. I didn’t talk to the lovely husband much that night. He laughed at me, and didn’t even pretend to be hurt.

Oh, and we had some kids together. I was pregnant with the first one when The Half-Blood Prince was released so I chose to totally disregard that we were moving from our townhouse into our new home in three weeks and I had a kazallion boxes to pack that was a great excuse to get cozy on the couch. Reading The Deathly Hallows was a little trickier and, if I may be totally honest, represents one of the only times I’ve had a fleeting moment of resenting my kids.

A week ago I said to the lovely husband, “let’s discuss our history with Harry Potter.” He asked why and I told him I was planning to write a blog post about it. He teased me, and offered the suggestion that I might enjoy rereading The Deathly Hallows before we see the final movie together. (And so I am.)

The lovely husband and I, we’ve both read all seven books. In our almost ten years of marriage we’ve seen every movie together. The last one releases tonight and next week, we’re taking a half-day off together to go watch it. Undoubtedly, I will cry. Most likely, he will laugh-smile at me, and then offer me his hand to squeeze. And the Harry Potter series will have concluded.

Our marriage, of course, will go on. But that other kite string has come to its last distant ribbon. I’ll miss it so much, that breathless anticipation and the ultimate, satisfying resolution, the characters like friends that grew from children to warriors as I went from single to married to mother. We grew together.

image via miraze

And you know, E is just short of five-and-a-half. She’s almost old enough for the first book. We can read it together, and as she grows, the next and the next and the next, and I can enjoy them with fresh wonder. Pin It