Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.

Lucky Thirteen: Day 13 of the April Poetry Challenge


I am not usually a superstitious person, and I have never been very convinced by numerology. On this thirteenth day of April, however, I am inspired by another 13, probably the most important of my life. Last August my husband and I celebrated 13 years of marriage.

It wasn’t our easiest year, but it was very important, and I learned a lot about love. So, today’s poem is my effort to share (and celebrate) those lessons.

Lucky Thirteen


It’s supposed to be unlucky.

Number 13…

the thirteenth floor,

the thirteenth day,

the thirteenth year.

 And in marriage, at least, this makes




Thirteen years after the wedding, the honeymoon is nearly


Life is full of

responsibilities and restlessness,

disagreements and distractions,

frustrations and foibles

that aren’t so endearing anymore,

Thirteen years worth of everything that pulls two souls apart.


But… all those reasons

are what made our thirteenth year

so lucky.

Not because we avoided all these things,

the pains and petty grievances.

Not because we proved our love exempt

from burns in the crucible of marriage.


But rather, because we didn’t.


It is so easy to become complacent,

to take for granted the presence

of a life-mate,

a companion,

a lover,

a friend;

to forget to practice daily gratitude in acts of care.

Until things start to rub,

to chafe

to scrape raw the thin veneer of passive toleration.

Until minor irritations begin to spread,

like a rash,

spreading across the skin,

the surface of daily interactions.

It is then that you realize the need for


The rash is not infected, not acute,

but if allowed to spread

it can compromise the entire body.

It requires gentle care

a soft caress,

a soothing balm on irritations,

the medicine of daily acts of love.

And in the simple things,

the ointment of paying attention,

of thinking once again

how can I put him first? her first?

you find the luck of being married

thirteen years.

Marriage isn’t magic.

And it’s not really about luck.


here’s to hoping.


to knowing

that the next thirteen years

will be just as “lucky”.

And the next thirteen.

And the next.

And the next.


Author: Serena Gideon Rice

In early 2011 my family moved our home, temporarily, from New Jersey to Milan, Italy. In the process I quit what had been my dream job conducting policy-directed social science research, to focus on my other dream job, raising our two young children. The three-year adventure was exciting, exhausting, disorienting, fulfilling, and countless other contradictions. It also birthed in me a desire to share my reflections on life's joys and challenges with anyone who cares to reflect with me. Now that we have returned to the US I'm finding that the new perspective I gained in Europe has come with me, and gives me a whole new way of interacting with my home. There's still so much to learn and share! I hope you'll share the journey, and add your own lessons to my daily education.

2 thoughts on “Lucky Thirteen: Day 13 of the April Poetry Challenge

  1. Brian and I loved this poem. Very well said 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

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