Ten years ago today, we drove a couple of hours west, marriage license in hand. I was wearing a blue dress off the clearance rack at the mall; T-Bone in a coordinating blue tie. I had a bunch of flowers wrapped in a ribbon — flowers I’d picked from bouquets at my grandmother‘s memorial service just the night before. I was wearing a ratty pair of flip flops because it was hot and I figured no one would be looking at my feet. And if they did, I wouldn’t care. Nobody knew we were going and everyone was surprised once we’d returned.
The picture to the right is our only photo from our wedding. And it’s not even a good quality one. The deputy in the courtroom snapped it for us with my cheap old 35mm point-and-shoot.
After we got hitched, we walked out of the courtroom together and went to grab lunch at a cafe across the street. As we sat at the small table together, drinking tea, we looked at each other and laughed nervously.
“Oh my god, what did we just do? Ha! Did we seriously just sign a paper and get married?!”
I was 22. He was 23. The Peace Corps was around the corner.
We stayed the night in a local B&B before driving home to tell our families. My dad wasn’t surprised by what we’d done. He, the perennial bachelor, had only just eloped himself a couple of years prior. My mom didn’t believe us, insisting we’d printed the marriage certificate on the computer to play a joke on her. It took us several minutes to convince her otherwise. And T’s parents just looked at us sort of dumbfounded. Then his dad said, “You’ve always been weird.”
That was our favorite response of all because it was funny. And true.
11 months later, later we joined the Peace Corps together and left for Romania. We considered it our honeymoon. Two years after that we landed in NYC for grad school, and after 7 years here, we’re finally heading home.
Ten years ago we were just a couple of dumb kids making major life decisions on a whim. Today, we’re just a couple of dumb thirty somethings doing the same. Only now we’re dragging our two kids along for the ride, too.
T and I are lucky this has all worked out so well. Very, very lucky. People have asked how we “knew” getting married was the right thing to do and I usually respond, “It wasn’t!”We’d been together barely a year and were very young. The odds were solidly stacked against us.
We’ve put a lot of work into our partnership over the last decade, but there isn’t something magic thing that we’ve done “right” to get where we are today. We’ve both changed and grown a lot since we were 22 and 23; we’re just fortunate that our growth has happened in similar directions. Our values and politics and life philosophies continue to mesh well and we continue to respect and love one another.
We argue and get on each others nerves — a lot — but we never say things we’ll regret. We go to bed angry and wake up and apologize once a good rest has cleared our heads. We sit on the couch and drink beers late at night, talking about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going. We co-parent to the fullest degree, both of us able and willing to care for the girls in whatever way they need, constantly rethinking our parenting strategies and philosophies, hoping to help our children grow up into good, kind adults.
And, ultimately, we have a lot of fun together, refusing to take life too seriously. If there’s any one thing that has made this work, that is probably it.
So, here’s to ten good years gone by and another ten to come.
I love you, Tone <3