Ten Years

Dear J-

Today is it — our ten-year anniversary. My parents called over the weekend to see what we had planned* (last year was my brother’s tenth, and they took a trip to New York City); we are taking a break next week and heading up to the Bay Area for a cousin’s wedding (who knew that with thirteen on my mom’s side and six on my dad’s side, I’d ever run out of unmarried first cousins?) and after that, over to Disneyland, but that’s pretty much it as far as big plans for the summer go. Ten years is a substantial amount of time when you’re ten years old. At thirty-five, though, it feels like a blink. Ten years, huh? How did that happen again?

I think it’s my nature to compare myself against other folks when it comes to numbers, whether grades or years or speed or income. I can’t help it; for an engineer, quantities are sufficient** but for me I need those qualitative comparisons to really drive the message home. At their ten years — I just remember this, as I was four — my parents took a long road trip from Spokane to Yellowstone as part of a small caravan*** — four adults, four kids, two cars. So I’m down on kids and road trips in comparison; I’m up in geographically close family so we could, theoretically, take a trip, just the two of us. And yet three — nearly four — is the inescapable number that swims up in my mind. We are three.

There’s all kinds of numbers to throw around today, but four seems more important than ten or fifteen**** or 2000. Ten is a number — a significant one, to be sure, but counting it is like scratching years of captivity into a cell wall, and that’s not what this is, not at all. I said earlier in the week that I thought my insomnia had been cured by no longer being in school and its attendant stress, but that’s not it; I sleep well at night because I married my best friend and it’s been ten (fifteen) of the best years so far.

But wait — there’s more! Ten years is a down payment on fifty-plus, I say. I can’t imagine life any other way now and I’m so glad she said yes (and no), so glad to share this journey with her — there’s no couch-jumping over here mostly because I don’t have sufficient influence with Oprah — so yeah. I look forward to every morning, and we’ve had 3653 excellent ones so far, haven’t we? Yet it’s the smaller number of four that I keep looking forward to, and the adventures that two small minds can will dream. Ten years? I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Mike

* As it turns out we never make plans beyond maybe a nice dinner. I remember we’d picked July 2nd because it fell over the long holiday weekend and figured that folks who’d come over might want to sightsee in Sacramento. theVet’s boss has a long-standing annual family reunion over July 4th and so she has to pick up more hours precisely at that time of year every year after the first anniversary we had together.

** It’s times like these I wish I was a mathematician, to whom numbers have a soul; think of Newton, Leibnitz, Descartes, Polya, Fourier who all lined them up on a page and made them march up and down in living rhythm. For an engineer, numbers are tools and answers but not intrinsically meaningful.

*** The caravan of two consisted of my parents’ 1969 Mercury Cougar, especially outfitted with a sheet of plywood across the back seat to allow for we two kids to sleep, and my dad’s uncle’s Oldsmobile wagon. I forget the exact name of that wagon other than that it was definitely a GM B-Body, relatively new (1978ish), metallic avocado green, and kitted out with all the luxury features including power windows. Sure, you scoff at that now but power windows and locks weren’t standard equipment until well into the 90s. As part of the lessons learned from the trip my parents went out and bought a wagon — Oldsmobile, naturally — and a CB radio to keep in touch the next year when they took a trip to Vancouver BC with their friends who were driving an Olds 88 (my dad and his friend actually went to the dealership and signed the paperwork nearly simultaneously; their license plates were sequential, SMU 695 and 696).

**** Fifteen is how many years we’ve been dating; we had what we like to refer to as the World’s Longest Engagement, which saw both my brother and theVet’s sister meet and marry their spouses between when we got engaged — 1998 — and when we got married in 2000.

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2 Responses to “Ten Years”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Happy Anniversary! Tomorrow we are going to a wedding in Pasadena. This couple has been dating longer than Ben and I have known each other. I guess it takes some people a little bit longer, but I think it’s probably wise to wait. Ben and I were engaged after 6 months and married 6 months later. I don’t know what we were thinking!

  2. dearJ Says:

    On the other hand when you know it’s right, it doesn’t really matter what time you put on things — my own parents met in April and married in September which I think must be a sort of record.

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