3,653 Days of Marriage

We were lucky. For a February day in New York City, we were very lucky. Sure, it was cold and I think it even flurried, but we had none of this Polar Vortex/endless tundra nonsense or snowstorms.

I remember our parents being more than incredulous when we chose a February wedding date. Really? February?

There wasn’t any single good reason, really. The most obvious one, looking back was — Hey, let’s just get this done. We’ve been dating for five years and let’s just have our quick engagement and finally be married.

{Yes, five years of dating, on and off. Mostly because one of us just wasn’t ready. It doesn’t matter which one of us.}

{OK, it was totally him.}

Also, it turns out that you can get the deal of the century in February. Well, in relative terms. It was Manhattan, after all. But all of the venues we wanted? Available. The vendors? Available. And all pretty much willing to negotiate because, as we were repeatedly told, nobody really gets married in February.

And so we grabbed the church, the reception venue and took just five months to plan a big city wedding.

Today is our tenth wedding anniversary. It’s crazy to me that a decade has gone by. Yesterday I pulled out boxes of wedding photos — not just the ones from the album that sits in our bookcase, but the hundreds of others that didn’t make the cut and yet are priceless in so many ways. I hadn’t seen some of them in years.

It was funny to look at the shots of that day through an age-progressed lens. I was reminded of the details of the reception I had stressed over. The sheer number of people in the room (more than 200), many of whom I didn’t know and haven’t seen since (my husband’s family is huge). I doubt that anyone could have convinced my 2005 self that a big, formal wedding wasn’t the greatest thing ever.  And yet that was the day I really, truly realized that I hate being the center of attention. Should we have done it differently? Who knows. It was a beautiful wedding, but 2015 Me — with the mortgage and three kids — might have gone with the less is more approach.

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It’s funny to look at photos of your guests — the people who were the most important in your life at the time. You assume these people will always be near and dear. Many of them still are. Inevitably, though, over time, you move on and lose touch with some of them. Jobs change, people move.

And then you lose other people altogether. And those photos sting.

And it’s odd not to see the people there who are dear to us now but we didn’t even know back then. Because 2005 Me couldn’t have dreamed up the friends I’ve since met through having kids and moving to the suburbs.

A wedding day is an obvious beginning and also a snapshot in time, of two people who can’t possibly know all that lies ahead of them.

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(Also, we look like BABIES. And, at the ages of 32 and 38, we definitely weren’t. I’m placing the blame squarely on the kids for aging us in dog-year ratios.)

We were different then. But not. Just more innocent or naive versions of ourselves, maybe.

Now, these ten years later, our suburban life with three kids and a minivan is a far cry from this couple who lived and worked in the city and scoffed at the thought of ever leaving.

So we’re unrecognizable, but not. Sort of like our wedding venue — the gorgeous historical building in Manhattan that is now (wait for it) an REI outdoor gear store. Yes, the very dance floor we stood on with friends and family is now precisely where you can find a quality canteen for your next camping trip. Things change, I’m told.

My husband and I are still opposite in many ways. He is methodical, patient and precise. He is mellow and level-headed and he doesn’t mind Taylor Swift. I am none of these things.

But our common ground — the marriage Venn diagram overlap — has stretched even more over these ten years as our family life has grown and evolved. Each new stage becoming trial by fire, party of two. And he really is my ideal co-pilot on this ride.

After ten years, the rhythm between us is different from the one in 2005. Not worse by any means, but certainly different. The one we live in now involves more people under our roof and less sleep. It’s not the sound of late nights out or mid-afternoon brunches or talks of exotic getaways, but instead that of homework and gymnastics and Cub Scouts and Sunday school and feeding small mouths. The rhythm of our home is far different from before, but it binds our family to its routine, to its element, to its daily ebb and flow.

It is quieter yet louder. Casual yet crazy. Foreign yet ingrained.

Ten years ago at this time, I was sitting in a chair having make up applied and my hair put up while sipping a mimosa and marveling at the amazing family and friends around me as we got ready for the big event. Today, I’m filling out camp forms and thinking about whether my kids will actually eat the pork tenderloin that I’m going to make later. There’s a Pinewood Derby car to be finalized tonight. And about 12 loads of laundry. There’s no band playing in the background or people making speeches about us. But still, in between homework and the Thursday night grind, there will be toasts and celebration and dinner and dessert. Because 3,653 days deserves full glasses in this full house.

Have I loved every single one of those days? Of course not.

Am I excited to see what the next few thousand bring? Absolutely.

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