August 5th, 2015
Nine years of marriage. That doesn’t seem possible (at all), until I look across the room and see our firstborn joyfully sorting through her school supplies in preparation for the first day of first grade. Incontrovertible proof that time is passing!
As I write this, I feel a sense of stillness and calm – which sounds completely ridiculous when I say it out loud because our lives are never EVER calm. Our days are a never-ending tornado of activities set to the jarring tune of incessant sibling bickering and our home has disappeared under a tsunami of cast-off socks, partially-eaten toast, and stacks of picture books.
So maybe it’s just an internal calm that comes from enjoying the moment. We’ve struggled through questions of permanence and purpose and found that the answer to both is: yes. When I think about what’s next, it looks a lot like “what’s now” (but with fewer diapers – please, lord, let there be fewer diapers soon).
We’ve come a long way since…
One year ago…Everything was suddenly new again. I had a new job and we had a new house. The carpet smelled suspiciously like dog pee and the walls were sea-foam green. It was perfect. We were blinking into the sunlight at the end of a year of staring down demons, a year of transformation.
Two years ago…Life was a blur of muddy shoes, bug bites that needed cream, squabbles over toys, and a nursing a baby. Forget about a romantic dinner for two. I was doing good to shower. But we were riding out the crazy together, my love. You and me, in the trenches of parenting. I was lucky to have you with me.
Three years ago…We were settling in to country living. I was drunk on the wonder of it all, marveling at small town festivals, walking to the post office and enjoying lazy evenings on the porch. You were at peace, breathing deep and digging in to a new congregation. KFP and Miss Mouse acted like every cow they saw was the most amazing creature they had ever beheld.
Four years ago…We were up and down. I had made a job change that was long overdue and was flying high at my new job. But you were weighed down by a call that had run its course. Parenting in the city was losing its luster and a different life was calling to us. We just didn’t know it yet. But very soon, the phone would ring and a few minutes later, you’d pop your head into the den and speak the five words that changed our life: “How small is too small?”
Five years ago...Parenthood was looming once again as we prepared to welcome our son to the world. You were fearless. I was terrified. What did I know about siblings? But you held my hand as our son arrived and all I could do was chant: “I love you I love you I love you” – and I was talking to you both. I’d never seen anything as magical as the sight of you kissing his tiny perfect nose.
Six years ago...The baby fever was creeping in and we were starting to think about becoming a family of four. We got away, just the two of us, and cleared the baby fog from our brains for a week in Savannah. We rode bikes and visited book stores and quoted Forrest Gump and talked. About things other than diapers and ear tubes and when is that child ever going to sleep through the night?
Seven years ago…I was chubby, you were rocking a great goatee, and we were bursting at the seams with love. And also with baby. Eliah was getting ready to make her entrance. I’d started blogging again, the pregnancy helping me to find my voice. We wrote together, even composing posts from the point of view of the dog because that’s what you do when you’re young and in love and still have free time before you become parents.
Eight years ago…I had a job I loved and you were working retail because you had a wife you loved who had a job she loved. We stayed in Pittsburgh so I could establish my resume and you waited patiently to follow your call to full-time ministry. A few months later, it came! You were excited about the church. I was excited about the house. The dog was excited about the deer in the backyard. You asked me every day if I was happy, and the answer was yes.
Nine years ago...it was hot and sticky in Pittsburgh and I stood with my sweeping white dress draped over a free-standing air-conditioning unit while waiting for the ceremony to start. I stuck my tongue out at you as I walked down the aisle to keep from sniffling. Our beloved professor based his homily on my least favorite verse in the entire Bible and yet the service was perfect. We ate spaghetti at our wedding reception. It was the beginning. We were poised on the brink of the rest of our lives and what I remember most about that day is the laughter.
Happy Anniversary, my love.