• Cindy Zampa

Rose to the Challenge


PORTAL 52 - Week 21: Rose to the Challenge

During this week, my husband and I celebrated an important milestone - our 30th wedding anniversary. As a follow-up to my last blog on how marriage is a portal, I’d like to explore how each anniversary of a wedding can also be a portal.

Neither my husband nor I are fans of the big party/public acknowledgement of such occasions, so our wedding anniversary celebrations have always been intimate, low key, and certainly inexpensive gestures. Flowers or cards might get exchanged, maybe we’d have a nice dinner out together, or with family, to mark the date…. until our 25th anniversary that is.

It seemed a bigger milestone to me than it did to my husband, the fact that we’d weathered a quarter of a century together, staying married through the thick and thin of it all. I wanted to mark our 25th anniversary with a special gift. I had to keep it a secret from him though, otherwise he would feel compelled to go out and get something for me, and I didn’t want him to do that since I was spending a good sum of money to get the gifts for both of us. I had taken some of my ideas and design sketches to a friend, who is a goldsmith and owns a custom design jewellery store. We worked together, over the course of about 6 months, to create two silver pendants for each of us to wear. Though the designs were different, each pendant incorporated the four initials of our family. I was so excited to be marking the occasion in this way, and when I saw the end result, I could hardly wait to share them with him.

Then, I realized that I would be away from my husband on this auspicious anniversary. Five years ago, on May 21, I was on the other side of the country while my husband was working back in Calgary. I had travelled by myself to Prince Edward Island to visit our daughter, who was completing her education at the Culinary Institute of Canada. She had a limited number of days for holidays, and unfortunately it did not line up with when my husband could get away. So, she and I were on a mother-daughter drive around the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

Before leaving on the trip, however, I set about planning a game that my husband would have to play in order to find the spot where I’d hidden his gift. I enjoy creating riddles, poems and scavenger hunts, but I made this one particularly challenging. The game began one week before our anniversary date, when I released the first of 25 clues/challenges/riddles for him to solve or complete. He had to recall details from our dating years and early married life. I asked him to create a poem for me, and that seriously put his accountant-brain to the test. Generally, he’s good at creating lists, but I imagine it was a little outside his comfort zone to create an itemized list of all the ways he loves me. He had to answer some tough questions, via emails and phone calls, before I’d give him the next clue to solve. He managed to find his pendant, and we skyped on May 21st, so I could show him the pendant I had made for myself.

It was a lot of work on my part, but well worth it. I did, however, issue a challenge to him: the planning of gifts to be exchanged for our 30th anniversary would have to fall on his shoulders!

This week, I got some lovely roses for our 30th anniversary. I decided to paint one of them, since roses definitely follow the Fibonacci pattern as they grow and unfurl. They are a portal unto themselves. Also, in giving this painting its title, I am honouring my husband - he not only ‘rose to the challenge’ on our 25th anniversary, but he’s done the same in planning a trip to Europe to mark our 30th!


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