Summer, 1998. Marion, Massachusetts. We were just back from Africa, not yet engaged, in the first flush of knowing each other. I wrote about this photo on Instagram last Thursday:
Summer, 1998. Just back from 6 weeks in Africa and still 2 years from the day that our true adventure would begin, in the exact spot we are standing here. I look at this photo and see youth and love and also storm clouds, but as we witnessed on our wedding day, in this same harbor, and many times since, storms pass and in their wake comes beautiful, clear weather and lambent light, full of meaning and grace.
This is one of my favorite pictures of us, and one of the first I have (other than lots from Africa, though to be fair, those are mostly of just you or just me because we traveled mostly the two of us). Two years after this photo was taken we were married in this same town, a few blocks away at the local church, and we walked to this spot in the rain (photo of that here).
As I mentioned in my Instagram post, the clouds cleared that night and a beautiful evening came after the thunder, lightning, and downpour. It’s rained and stormed since 9/9/00, Matt, more than once, and you and I both know it. You could argue there is some storminess right now. But I’ve come to trust that the clouds will clear, and I hope you do too.
We met in January 1998, and the first birthday we celebrated together was when you turned 28. That seems like moments ago, and also, of course, a lifetime. Thank you for tolerating my strange quirks, my endless list of peeves, my hilarious-only-to-me tweets about you (and your choice of wiper speed), and my sturdy unwillingness to learn anything about sports.
Our first big trip was to Africa, and to the summit of Kilimanjaro, but since then we’ve been to Asia, South America, and Europe. Two more continents to go. The bigger adventures have happened right here at home, I’d argue, in the same small house we’ve lived in since our first anniversary. This is the site of a million moments that add up, ultimately, to a life. I only know a few things for sure, but one of them is that a happy life is made up of family dinners and compliments and bedtime routines and Little League games (even disastrous ones) and and evening runs around the neighborhood and hours spent shoveling and walking in snow gear to our car and camp drop-offs and bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches on weekend mornings.
There are a great many ways that life has turned out to be not like you expected, I know that, but I hope you can see all the ways that it is still breathtakingly beautiful. The lion’s share of that is these two, below, who we made together and whose arrivals are probably the two seminal moments of my life. Thank for tolerating that, too, even when I spat fruit juice at you and told you we couldn’t possibly have a baby while I was 7 cm and in heavy labor with Grace.
We’re beginning to glimpse the edge of life on the other side of this season, which fills me with sorrow, but also with a new kind of joy. Last summer, we sat together and watched the sunset at my favorite place, just the two of us, and I felt something shift. We were together before these two, and we’ll be together when they move into their adult lives too. And how fortunate we are for that. Thank you for all the good humor, hard work, and excellent coffee you bring to my days.
There is so much beauty in this life of ours. And you’re an – the – essential part of that for me.
Happy birthday, Matt. I love you.
And now we are four (April, 2015)
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