Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nine Extraordinary, Ordinary Years

Nine years has a nice ring to it.

Josh and I celebrated our ninth anniversary last night over dinner in front of a roaring fire at a quiet, cozy restaurant here in the mountains. We shared our entrees, as we often do when two dishes sound equally tempting, getting to enjoy both that way. We sipped wine and talked about our day, about the kids, about the election in Massachusetts, about finances, about us. Aside from the rose petals scattered on the table by the restaurant in honor of the occasion, it was little different than any other meal out. But its ordinariness was its beauty and its blessing, its testimony to how much we have to celebrate: while the years continue to pass and the anniversaries continue to add up, I don't feel much different now than I did when I sat across from this amazing man in our favorite Indian restaurant in Boston so many years ago.

For that sameness, I am grateful, because it has always been good, really good, between us. Nothing about us has changed, though so much has changed around us: I still feel the same kindredness, the same attraction, the same respect, the same conviction that we were made for each other now as I did then. In fact, if anything has changed, it is that our love has grown even deeper, even surer, even more comfortable and confident. We have walked with each other, now, through significant life events. We still hold each other's hands, but now we hold two little hands, too.

There is much that lies ahead of us. Last night, we talked about where we'd be in another nine years: Ben will be thirteen, Abby eleven; our hypothetical dog may very well have lived a full life and passed on; it's impossible to say where our careers will take us: what Josh will have accomplished, what I will be doing with myself when not shuttling the kids to school or attending recitals and games and events; we'd be happy to still be living in this same house but perhaps we will have bought a home with more land or lived in a foreign country; and who knows what kind of events will have come our is all a question mark, a blank to be filled in, a life to be lived.

Herein lies the gift of "man and wife." Life, in all its triumphs and tragedies, offers enough suprises, enough drama. Marriage, by contrast, provides a precious constant: a safe haven, a quiet comfort, a welcomed respite from the craziness raging around us, a reliable refuge of fun and passion and friendship and soul-level communion, breathtaking and exhilarating for its invitation to unedited existence and vulnerability.

I like nine years. Just as I liked eight and seven and six...just as I'm sure I'll like nineteen and twenty-nine and forty-nine and sixty-nine, should we be lucky enough to live that long. For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live, I am Josh's wife. We go to bed together and we wake up together. We pay the bills together and love the children together. We argue together and we forgive each other. We live very ordinary lives in the shadow of a love made remarkable by its consistency.

That the love we share is now normal for us, is now part of our very being, that our communion over dinner last night exists every day--this is extraordinary.

Thank you for nine extraordinary, ordinary years, Josh. I love you.

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