One year ago today, Charley was in Portland in a rental house, having just started a new job (not new, new - he transferred, but it was in a new city, and a new state), Joe-Henry was at Grandma and Grandpas, and I was watching as every last thing we owned was being packed into a truck, getting ready to move us to a new house in a new state.
I was exhausted, frantic, and just trying so hard not to have a stroke. I had amazing help - my sister-in-law was there and my friend Amy and her two boys, not to mention the mover we hired - so it was all being taken care of. But my mental state was fragile, my synapses firing on all cylinders, but fueled on nervous energy alone. They're not kidding when they say that the stress of moving is right up there with death and divorce. And both of those events seemed to be a possibility that day.
So a year ago, I didn't get to celebrate another anniversary. Our wedding anniversary. Twelve years before, we said "I do" in front of about 30 good friends and family in the backyard of my husband's parents house. It was a beautiful wedding, if I do say so myself. But it wasn't nearly as beautiful as the years that followed.
There have been hills and valleys, some truly dark times, but more and more, it seems that around every corner there are unimagined riches. A love that weathered last year. A beautiful son, a house that seems to be at the end of every rainbow (I'm not even being poetic there - it's true), a love that seems to grow stronger with every passing day. The simple joys of an ordinary life.
We celebrated this year. We went to our favorite restaurant in Seattle, the city where we met and fell in love. At this restaurant, long ago, we planned our wedding; we went there, starving after having sex all afternoon, our brains too addled to boil water; we had a farewell dinner there when we decided to move from Seattle to Los Angeles.
Last night, we got there to hold our reservation for six. Our son sat coloring his placemat (he ordered the "Quit Naggin' Me Noodles"), our friends Annie and Anita, dear friends who tied the knot a couple months before us, arrived with their beautiful daughter (and Joe-Henry's future wife - no pressure or anything, kid) Hazel, and their newborn son Gabe.
Charley and I didn't cuddle in a booth, we sat and held hands at the table for a few minutes, then I got to walk Gabe around and show him the old neighborhood a little while he fussed, and gave his moms a little time to chat. Joe-Henry and Hazel went off to another room right off our table, where they could be alone and share the secrets of being six years old, and occasionally, I'd catch my husband's eye. We'd smile at each other, like the old married people we are.
Happy Thirteenth Anniversary, love. We made it through the first year in a new place, and we get to carve another notch in our wedding rings. I love you madly.
Thanks for the riches of this extraordinary ordinary life.