When Charlie was younger and beginning to ask questions about the world, he’d point to your wedding ring and ask, “What’s that?”
“Mommy,” you’d say, with tenderness. “This means Mommy.”
For 10 years, you and I have worn these rings, which represent each other and so much more. Though we placed them on each other’s hands at one specific moment, they really symbolize a love and commitment that started the moment we met and will continue for always.
It was fall 2000. You knew about Tanis Half-Elven. We secretly held hands underneath the table at Denny’s. Later, a brief, sweet kiss on the steps of my on-campus apartment.
Years of late nights at the college newspaper and sleeping until noon on Saturdays (remember when we could do that?!). Graduation. Living apart for a year and a half. Getting our first apartment. Getting engaged. Getting Baron.
I remember the moment we put on those rings, standing in a spring garden surrounded by family and friends. DJ Earl played “Here Comes the Bride,” even though we SPECIFICALLY TOLD HIM NOT TO. We danced all night. I had three pieces of cake.
Fast forward to today. I’m much softer around the tummy (see above re: cake), but my heart is just as big. You seem to get more handsome every day. We have two beautiful boys, with your fair skin and bright eyes.
We went from living an urban life, eating at hip restaurants, and staying up late watching “Lost,” to tucking into bed two precious, cranky boys and crashing to sleep — well, after the dishes are done, lunches are made, laundry is folded and cats are fed. It took us almost a year to watch this most recent season of “Game of Thrones.”
Every so often we get a dinner date just for us, and we just talk, talk, talk, talk. We still have so much to learn from each other.
Over the last decade, we left our degreed careers and somehow both ended up in marketing. We collectively changed jobs six times, tenaciously leaning on each other for support and advice. We spent our entire seventh anniversary dinner strategizing for an upcoming interview with my now-employer (success!).
We lost both our fathers — mine, only six months after our wedding to cancer; yours, only a year and a half ago following a stroke. We stood by our mothers through the grief. You stood by me through several emotional crises. We worked through a tough period threatened by jealousy.
You’ve made me laugh like no other. There’s not been one day I haven’t felt desired.
Like all married couples, we repeat the same fights. We spent several years arguing about whether or not you should correct my grammar and how judged I feel when you poke fun at pop songs I like. We grumble about who’s doing more of the child care, more of the housework, more of the sleeping. I know you wish I enforced more limits on the boys so you felt you didn’t have to. You know I wish you were better at calendaring.
We’ve had a few major blowouts (the most recent about a pair of shoes I bought Charlie), but they were resolved quickly. I can only think of one night in 10 years that I locked you out of our bedroom. I can think of countless nights when we locked the kids out.
I love how we’ve changed and grown together. We give each other the space to try out new interests, even if we don’t understand them (e.g., I’ll never get why you love Pistol Shrimps Radio so much). You let me go running, though it breaks your heart that your bum knee won’t allow you to join anymore. I get up early with Jack so you can stay up late watching YouTube videos of calligraphers, architects, race car drivers.
I love your entrepreneurial mind and ambitious, creative spirit. Our boys will grow up to be kind, thoughtful men because of your example. They will remember you stealing a kiss from their mother in the kitchen, buying me “I Love You Day” flowers, us slow dancing in the living room, valuing my career just as much as I value yours.
In our wedding ceremony, we included a passage from Hugh Walpole, who said:
“The most wonderful of all things in life is the discovery of another human being with whom one’s relationship has a growing depth, beauty and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing; it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of divine accident, and the most wonderful of all things in life.”
Charles, our love truly is the most wonderful of all things in life. I am honored by our partnership, humbled by your adoration, and forever dedicated to being a woman you are proud to call your wife.
Happy tenth anniversary to us.